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Arkansas

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Arkansas allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Individuals and hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No person may be required to participate in medical procedures that result in an abortion.  No hospital, hospital director, or governing board may be required to permit abortion services within its institution.  The refusal to participate or permit may not be a basis for civil liability or other recriminatory action.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-601 (Enacted 1969).

CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Arkansas allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, pharmacists, other paramedical personnel, private institutions, and agents or employees of private institutions or physicians, as well as employees of a public institution acting under the direction of a physician.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Physicians, pharmacists, or other paramedical personnel may refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information.  In addition, private institutions or physicians and agents or employees of such institutions or physicians, as well as employees of a public institution acting under the direction of a physician, may refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information based on religious or conscientious objection.  The refusal of an institution, employee, agent, or physician may not be the basis for liability.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-304 (Enacted 1973).

INSURACE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although Arkansas law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers and/or insurers may require that their plans exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Religious employers whose religious tenets prohibit use of prescription contraception.

What does the refusal clause allow? A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  The law broadly defines the term "religious employer" as a non-profit organization that has as one of its primary purposes the inculcation of religious values and primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets.  This exemption allows a broad range of organizations engaged in secular activities and operating in the public sphere to deny women insurance coverage for contraception. 

Must the refusal be in writing?  No.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause? No.

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 23-79-1101 to -1104 (Enacted 2005).


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