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Florida Law Will Allow Doctors to Deny Treatments to LGBTQ Patients

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Pensacola News Journal.Under the law, which goes into effect on July 1, any medical provider, including doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, pharmacists, mental health professionals, or lab technicians, as well as nursing home workers and hospital administrators, may refuse to provide care to patients if doing so would violate their conscience.

Insurance companies also enjoy the right to deny care based on any moral, ethical, or religious objections.Health care professionals are also empowered to refuse to conduct research, update medical records, conduct testing or blood draws, or even make referrals if they believe doing so would enable a patient to make decisions or take actions that violate their provider’s personal moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.The Florida law also allows health care employers to discriminate in hiring and prevents medical boards from disciplining providers who deliberately spread misinformation about certain treatments, procedures, or diseases, such as a doctor who opposes COVID-19 vaccinations or believes that antiretrovirals are ineffective at treating HIV.While the newly signed law says patients can’t be discriminated against or denied care based on a host of personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion or national origin, it contains no such protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.According to the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that focuses on LGBTQ-related policies, prior to the Florida law’s passage, about 1 in 8 LGBTQ Americans lived in a state where they could be denied medical care and are barred from bringing lawsuits against providers who refuse treatment.

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