NARAL Pro-Choice America

Shortcut Navigation:

Get Email Updates

* means required

Privacy Policy >>
   Please leave this field empty

Donate

Donate now to support NARAL Pro-Choice America

Anti-choice groups are attacking women’s rights everywhere. Your gift helps us fight back!

Donate Now

Massachusetts

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

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

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, persons associated with, employed by, or on the medical staff of a hospital or health facility, private hospitals, or health facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No physician or person associated with, employed by, or on the medical staff of a hospital or health facility, who objects in writing on moral or religious grounds, may be required to participate in medical procedures that result in an abortion.  The refusal to participate may not be a basis for a claim for damages or other recriminatory action.  The refusal of an applicant to a medical, nursing, social work, or psychology program to agree to counsel, suggest, recommend, assist, or in any way participate in abortion due to moral or religious objection may not be a basis for discrimination.

Conscientious objection to abortion may not be a basis for discrimination in employment, refusal to grant financial assistance by a state-aided program, or detrimental action by a program or institution supported at least in part by the state.  No private hospital or health facility may be required to admit a woman for the purpose of providing abortion services.  The refusal to admit may not be a basis for discrimination by any person or entity.

Must the refusal be in writing?  Yes.

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 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.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 112, § 12I (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 1981); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 272, § 21B (Enacted 1973).

FAMILY-PLANNING REFUSAL CLAUSE

Massachusetts allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide family-planning services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Private hospitals or other health facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No private hospital or health facility may be required to admit a woman for the purpose of receiving contraception if such services are referrals are contrary to the religious or moral principles of the hospital or facility.  In addition, no private hospital or health facility may be required to furnish or provide referrals for contraception or family-planning services if such services are contrary to the religious or moral principles of the hospital or facility.

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 contraception or family-planning 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.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 272, § 21B (Enacted 1973).

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although Massachusetts 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?  Employers that are churches or qualified church-controlled organizations.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A church or qualified church-controlled organization is not required to provide equitable coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  The law applies to churches or qualified church-controlled organizations as defined by federal law.

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.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 175, § 47W (Enacted 2002); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 176A, § 8W (Enacted 2002); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 176B, § 4W (Enacted 2002); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 176G, § 4O (Enacted 2002).

STERILIZATION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Massachusetts allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to perform or participate in sterilization procedures.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, persons associated with, employed by, or on the medical staff of a hospital or health facility, private hospitals, or health facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No physician or person associated with, employed by, or on the medical staff of a hospital or health facility, who objects in writing on moral or religious grounds, may be required to participate in medical procedures that result in sterilization.  The refusal to participate may not be a basis for a claim for damages or other recriminatory action.  The refusal of an applicant to a medical, nursing, social work, or psychology program to agree to counsel, suggest, recommend, assist, or in any way participate in a sterilization due to moral or religious objection may not be a basis for discrimination.  No private hospital or health facility may be required to admit a woman for the purpose of performing a sterilization.  The refusal to admit may not be a basis for discrimination by any person or entity.

Must the refusal be in writing?  Yes.

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 sterilizing procedures?  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.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 112, § 12I (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 1981); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 272, § 21B (Enacted 1973).


Bookmark and Share

©2014 NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation   Copyright Information