Discriminatory Doctors

Liz Fe Lifestyle

the columbus dispatch

Effective Thursday, September 30th, some Ohioans may find that they can no longer travel into California if their trip is state-funded - and this is all because of an Ohio law that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone on moral or religious grounds. Being that this is considered a discriminatory law against the LGBT+ community by Californian standards, Ohio now joins the list of banned states as the 18th state to not be allowed to receive state-funded travelers from California. The law in question that Ohio’s legislation passed came into fruition back in June; the law joins the 250+ anti-LGBT+ laws and legislatures passed within this past year, making it one of the worst years ever for anti-LGBT+ legislation in recent history. The law was tucked away under 700 pages of legislation signed into law this past June and was not even mentioned by Ohio’s governor until almost four whole days after the documents had been signed into law. All of this prompted California’s government to take action.

Thus, California’s governor activated a California law passed in 2016 that requires the attorney general to forbid state-funded travel to any state with anti-LGBT+ clauses or laws. The problem with this law doesn’t just involve state travel, either. Even when this controversial law was passed, the governor justified it by stating there is a clause that asks a medical professional to transfer a patient to a colleague who will perform the procedure, when possible. Yet, this remains problematic in both contexts. Medical needs should not have a “but” appended to them in any scenario, and many LGBT+ advocates within Ohio wholeheartedly agreed with this sentiment. “Today Governor DeWine enshrined LGBTQ discrimination into law, threatening the medical well-being of more than 380,000 LGBTQ people in Ohio, one of the largest LGBTQ populations anywhere in the country,” said Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David in a statement. “Medical practitioners in Ohio can deny care or coverage for basic, medically necessary, and potentially lifesaving care to LGBTQ people simply because of who they are.” The law also raised the worry of pro-choice advocates, women's health advocates, and many other groups who all agree that this law benefits no one and puts the health of Ohio’s population in more danger than doing good.

Under the law, based on their own moral or religious beliefs, doctors can deny almost anything to anyone simply because of who they are. Abortions, care for drug addicts, care for HIV-positive people, lab tests and results, and any policy or insurance can be denied to someone simply because of who they are. On top of all of this, imagine if someone who is ill in Ohio wants to see their family in Ohio and can no longer travel to them all because of California’s anti-discrimination laws. The law ultimately does far more harm than it does anyone any good. “Blocking access to life-saving care is wrong. Period,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta regarding this Ohio law. “Whether it’s denying a prescription for medication that prevents the spread of HIV, refusing to provide gender-affirming care, or undermining a woman’s right to choose, HB 110 unnecessarily puts the health of Americans at risk. Critically, the law runs afoul of Assembly Bill 1887. When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, the California Department of Justice must act. That’s why — in line with the law — we’re adding Ohio to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list.” All many Ohioans needing healthcare can hope for now is if this law is revoked - as it will make it much harder to seek proper healthcare.

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