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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

House passes bill letting health workers opt out of cases on moral grounds

The Montana House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would allow health care workers and insurance companies to refrain from participating in cases they morally object to. Opponents worry it’ll lead to discrimination.

Republican Rep. Amy Regier introduced House Bill 303, saying it’d create procedure-specific protections, like for providers who don’t want to prescribe marijuana, abortion or gender-affirming care. She says it’ll help Montana retain health care workers at a time when there are staffing shortages.

The bill passed out of the House on a 63-33 vote on third reading, losing a few supporters as it moved through the chamber.

Several Democrats spoke against the bill, saying it could lead to discrimination and hurt patients who may not have other options when a provider has an objection. Medical experts testified in committee that providers are already able to refrain from certain cases under professional codes of ethics.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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