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Delaware

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Delaware 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 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 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.

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

Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 1791 (Enacted 1969; Last Amended 1995).

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although Delaware law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers may require issuers of their health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom contraceptive coverage conflicts with their bona fide religious beliefs.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for birth control if such coverage conflicts with the employer's bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  By failing to define the term "religious employer," the law's refusal clause inappropriately includes a wide range of entities that perform non-religious functions in the public sphere.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide its employees reasonable and timely notice of the exclusion.

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.

Del. Code Ann. tit. 18, § 3559 (Enacted 2001).


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