Could Nebraska’s Extended Conscience Clause Let Women Die In the Name of Religious Freedom?

The senate has defeated the Blunt Amendment, which would allow religious employers to opt out of any medical coverage they find “morally objectionable,” but that doesn’t mean the fight over “religious freedom” is going away.  Republicans in Congress are expected to continue to bring up conscience clause bills as the campaign season continues, and the same type of bills will likely also be hitting state legislatures, too.

One example?  A proposed extended conscience clause being introduced in Nebraska.  Supporters of the bill want to ensure that those in various medical fields, from doctors to pharmacists to health care providers and mental health professionals, have the ability to object to performing any action for a patient that they feel would go against their religious beliefs.

Initially created to allow pharmacists to refuse to sell birth control, or counselors to refuse to assist patients who were homosexual, the new law would protect those objector both from lawsuits for refusing to serve patients, as well as ensure they aren’t fired or receive any sort of punishment for their actions.

Unlike traditional conscience clause rules, however, this new version would allow the objector to refuse to transfer the request on to any other medical professional, either.  In other words, a counselor with the gay client could refuse to make a referral to another professional, or the pharmacist who will not provide the prescription would not be required to have another person fill it instead, or even transfer the prescription to another store where it could be filled.

Not even if there was a medical emergency.

The Omaha World Herald reports, “The amendment bars consideration of whether an employee’s refusal creates an undue burden or hardship. Nor does it provide an exception for medical emergencies…Suzanne Gage of Americans United for Life said most objections relate to elective services that patients can get care from other providers. ‘The access is there,’ she said.”

Most, but not all.  Take, for example, the case of the Idaho pharmacist who refused to fill a woman’s prescription for a drug that was meant to stop hemorrhaging, because he assumed that she needed it because she just had an abortion.  The pharmacist, who was investigated after a complaint was filed, was cleared by the board because the patient was able to take her prescription elsewhere to have it filled, and they declared it was not an “undue hardship.”

Now, imagine if the pharmacist was allowed to refuse to transfer her prescription, even if it was a medical emergency.  The patient literally could have bled to death trying to get another prescription and find a new place to have it filled, and legally the pharmacist would be protected from any ramifications.

Should medical professionals not only have the ability to deny you care in life threatening situations, but have the support of the state in doing so?  Nebraska appears to be thinking the answer is yes.  And if they continue to pass the bill, you can expect many other states to follow suit.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Annmari Lundin
Annmari L5 years ago

All conscience clauses should be removed! If you know that your future profession may involve something that goes against your believes, than chose another career! Simple. In some countries, Sweden for example, someone that during the education phase expresses concerns in performing procedures that are against their religion, won't get their licence/degree. Period.A veterinarian that don't want to learn about spaying and neutering...bye, bye. A midwife that don't want to participate in abortions...Good luck with your new profession! Etc.

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

Hello Eternal, and unfortunately it isn't likely to be the last I am afraid.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

It wouldn't be the first time...

LD B6 years ago

And, isn't it equally odd, Sandy E., how you once more manage to go off the rails with non sequitur red herrings?

Anne Cole
.6 years ago

Uh, Sandy, I think you have the wrong story. This one is about the republicans denying women's rights. Nothing about illegals.

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson6 years ago

Isn't it funny that we HAVE to provid for illegel persons? Wonder wh is really behind this bill. Get rid of Obama care and let us have our freedom back.

Michael T.
Michael T6 years ago


or of his resurrecting, one would think that Mary above all others would be the last word on the issue.
I think it is important to put into perspective how faulty the constructs of this religion truly are. Again, my apologies to those who still believe.

Michael T.
Michael T6 years ago

Hope, thank you so much for this. While it might be seen by some that you are taking things to a tangent that isn’t applicable, I still think it is most appropriate because it gets to the heart of the issue brought about by these very aggressive and controlling sectarians who are bent on asserting that their religious dogmas have to be observed and adhered to by everyone. So let me add a few bits of information.
Does anyone know that Jesus left behind the sect, that he was part of, known as the Nazarenes (which means truth)? This name Nazarene does not come from the town named Nazareth as that town didn’t exist until the 4th Century CE. So that’s another twist buried by the CC’s lies. Do you know who was in that sect? None other but the following; Mary Magdalene, Mary Jesus’s mother, Jesus’s brothers and sisters, the apostles, with Matthias joining to replace Judas, and of course Peter.

They held that Jesus was a man, that there was no virgin birth and no resurrection.

This group was eventually excommunicated from the church by the Paulinists who had risen to power in the Roman Empire that ruled from Constantinople because Rome had been taken over by the barbarians. Paul and the gospeller’s created these myths about Jesus being god, that there was a virgin birth and a resurrection. They eventually drove the Nazarenes into Persia in isolation. If anybody was to be in doubt as to a virgin birth, her son being more than a man, or of

Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

Sorry for the duplicate post.

Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

For all those who constantly quote the Bible:

"The Bible was written over a period of 1400 to 1800 years by more than 40 different authors. The Bible is a compilation of 66 separate books, divided into two primary divisions: the Old Testament (containing 39 books) and the New Testament (containing 27 books)." For more info see:

Or Google, When was the Bible written for yourself.

Basically it is a history of the Jews written by men.

Civil government cannot let any group ride roughshod over others simply because their consciences tell them to do so.
Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court Justice 1941-1953

It's interesting to speculate how it developed that in two of the most anti-feminist institutions, the church and the law court, the men are wearing the dresses.
Florynce Rae Kennedy, Esq.