It seems counterintuitive for a governor, especially one likely to run for president, to sign a bill promoting death and disease for Americans for the sake of protecting doctors’ anti-woke politics but here we are. DeSantis and his Republican cronies would rather you die than require a doctor to treat you if you’re LGBTQ+ or maybe the wrong religion or political belief. Or God knows what.
The Tampa Bay Times described the bill, which was just signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and goes into effect July 1: “Florida medical professionals would be able to refuse to perform nearly any health care service if they have moral objections. … Insurance companies could also refuse to pay for a service if it goes against their written, conscience-based guidelines.”
Hospitals are still required to “stabilize any patient with an emergency condition” the Times notes but that seems to leave a wide swath of health care that can be denied, especially since the bill does not specify which procedures can be denied or for what reason, according to the Times.
The obvious target is the LGBTQ+ community. But the aim is also much broader. The Times quotes House sponsor Rep. Joel Rudman, a Republican (natch!) as calling the bill his “entire reason for being here in the Florida Legislature.” Rudman claims he was “investigated by the American Board of Medicine after he posted online about his objections to COVID restrictions and the guidance of Anthony Fauci,” the Times reported.
In a scathing editorial, Kara Gross the legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, described the bill as “shocking in its breadth and vagueness and government overreach into the private sector and regulated businesses.” She points out just how far the consequences could be:
What if someone’s ethical or moral belief is that women should not have babies unless they are married? Or that poor people shouldn’t have more than one child? Or if they believe it’s unethical to bring a child into the world given overpopulation and climate change? Can they refuse to provide prenatal health care to that pregnant person? Can they refuse to assist in labor and delivery? Can their employer refuse to provide health insurance to cover pregnancy and labor and delivery? Can a nurse refuse to return calls to the patients or schedule follow-up appointments?
On the other hand, what if a doctor feels that treating Florida guys Donald Trump and DeSantis violates his or her ethical and moral convictions? Just asking.