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Kentucky

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

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

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Hospitals, physicians, nurses, hospital staff members, or employees of a hospital or health-care facility.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No physician, nurse, hospital staff member, or employee of a hospital or health-care facility, who objects on moral, religious, or professional grounds may be required to participate in abortion services.  The willingness or refusal of a person to participate may not be a basis for liability, penalty, disciplinary action, or denial of public funds, licenses, or certifications, and no agency, institution, or person may discriminate in employment or education on these grounds unless it is a health-care facility operated exclusively for the purpose of providing abortion care.

No private health-care facility or private hospital may be required to permit abortion care contrary to its stated ethical policy.  The refusal of a private health-care facility or private hospital to permit abortion care may not be a basis for liability, penalty, disciplinary action, or denial or limitation of public funds.

Must the refusal be in writing?  The physician, nurse, hospital staff member, or employee of a hospital or health-care facility who objects to participating must do so in writing.

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.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  With respect to a previous version of this statute, a court held that private hospitals, facilities, physicians, nurses, and employees, but not public hospitals, constitutionally may refuse to permit abortion services on the basis of conscience.  Wolfe v. Schroering, 541 F.2d 523 (6th Cir. 1976).

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.800 (Enacted 1980).


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