The House had only four bills to debate on Wednesday, and two of them were retained on the calendar. We spent most of our time debating SB1456 and SB1254.￼ Both of these bills are designed to limit public health information.
SB1456 is about sex education. You’ll remember that Arizona is one of the states that does not offer comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. (In fact, I have been proposing medically accurate sex education for years, and that bill doesn’t go anywhere.￼) SB1456 dictates what can be taught in sex education. It separates out information on HIV and AIDS and requires parental permission￼ be given separately for that subject matter. Why? Because Republicans believe that teaching kids about HIV and AIDS would include mention of how one can contract these diseases, including sexual behaviors that they don’t want their children to learn about.
Continue reading Republicans Put Ideological Guardrails on Health Information (video)
As you may have read in the news, the Arizona House passed Rep. Nancy Barto’s anti-trans bill HB2706 late on Tuesday night, after hours of rousing debate.￼
This is another Cathi Herrod Center for Arizona Policy bill that would require girls to submit to genetic testing and get a letter from a doctor confirming their gender, if someone doesn’t believe they are genetically a girl and challenges them. This is another one of those Republican “anybody can complain” and start an investigation or a lawsuit bills￼.
HB2706 is supposed to weed out trans girls and forbid them from competing in girls sports in K-12 education and college.
This bill is overly broad. Any girls who don’t fit the traditional feminine stereotype could be targeted with this bill and be forced to submit to unnecessary genetic testing to confirm their gender. This bill will lead to bullying and harassment of girls– trans girls and sis girls who are muscular, strong, and athletic. ￼This is ridiculous.￼
There are national athletic standards for trans competitors. Why don’t we adopt these standards? Why did we even hear HB2706? Because Barto is challenging her moderate Republican seat mate Senator Heather Carter for the Senate seat in 2020.
One of the lawyers in the Democratic Caucus said that this bill would keep lawyers busy.￼
Should healthcare providers and institutions be allowed to deny services to patients based upon the provider’s “sincerely held religious beliefs”? I don’t think so. Discrimination is not OK.
This is the fourth year in a row that I have proposed a Patient’s Right to Know bill which requires healthcare providers and institutions to disclose upfront if they have any religious restrictions that would preclude them from providing all legal drugs and services within their scope of practice.
This is the first year that my bill made a splash in the news. Tucson residents may have seen the story about by bill HB2068 in the New Year’s Eve edition of the Arizona Daily Star, but it was also on the State of Reform website, in the Yellow Sheet (inserted below), and on KFYI radio. Providing or not providing services due to one’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” has been a hot topic since the infamous Hobby Lobby case in 2014.
HB2068’s popularity is likely due to the controversial nature of religious liberty legislation and to recent, high-profile court cases that harken back to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was proposed by Senator Ted Kennedy and then Congressman Chuck Schumer and signed into law by President Bill Clinton and in 1993. Although RFRA was declared unconstitutional, 21 states including Arizona have state RFRA laws, and the US Congress has passed 25 “conscience” bills related to healthcare.
When I was interviewed by one of the reporters he asked, “This is just about choice, right?” When I initially proposed this bill in 2017, it was about reproductive choice for me, but in 2019, when he asked me that question, I said, “No.” There are obviously other people who are being discriminated against for purportedly religious reasons.
Continue reading ‘Religious Liberty’ vs Patient Rights: Healthcare Providers Should Disclose Religious Restrictions to Care