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Pennsylvania

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

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

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Physicians, nurses, staff members, employees of hospitals or other health-care facilities, or hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow? No physician, nurse, staff member, or employee of a hospital or other health-care facility, who objects in writing on moral, religious, or professional grounds, may be required to or held liable for refusing to participate or cooperate in abortion.

A person who is discriminated against because of a refusal to aid, abet, or facilitate abortion against his or her conscience may bring a claim for damages including $5000 in punitive damages. No private hospital or other health-care facility may be required to or held liable for refusing to provide abortion care contrary to a written ethical policy adopted after January 22, 1973 and posted conspicuously for public inspection.

The expressed willingness or refusal of a private facility to provide abortion care may not be a basis for discrimination, denial of public funds, or other penalty. This denial clause does not permit a student or an employee either to: (1) refuse to participate in an emergency surgical procedure that involves an inevitable abortion; or (2) refuse to complete participation in a surgical procedure voluntarily undertaken without knowing it would involve an abortion.

No hospital or other health-care facility may be required to provide or permit abortion care contrary to its stated ethical policy. The refusal may not be grounds for liability.

Must the refusal be in writing? Yes.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No. However, except for facilities that provide abortion services exclusively, each facility that provides abortion care must post prominently a notice of the right not to participate for medical personnel.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? Yes. The expressed willingness or refusal of a person to participate or cooperate in abortion may not be a basis for discrimination, disciplinary action, denial of public funds, or other penalty except where:

(1) this expression constitutes an overt, disruptive act, or endangers the health or safety of a patient;

(2) an employer proves that accommodating the person's needs constitutes an undue hardship or that non-objection to abortion is a bona fide occupational qualification; or

(3) the employer is a health-care facility operated exclusively for the provision of abortion care.

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.

43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 955.2 (Enacted 1973); 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3213 (Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1988); 16 Pa. Code §§ 51.1 - 51.61 (Enacted 1977).

STERILIZATION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Pennsylvania allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide or participate in sterilizing procedures.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Physicians, nurses, staff members, employees of hospitals or other health-care facilities, or hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow? No physician, nurse, staff member, or employee of a hospital or other health-care facility, who objects in writing on moral, religious, or professional grounds, may be required to or held liable for refusing to participate or cooperate in a sterilization.

No private hospital or other health-care facility may be required to or held liable for refusing to provide or permit a sterilization contrary to a written ethical policy adopted after January 22, 1973 and posted conspicuously for public inspection.

The expressed willingness or refusal of a private facility to provide or permit sterilization may not be a basis for discrimination, denial of public funds, or other penalty. This denial clause does not permit a student or an employee either to: (1) refuse to participate in an emergency surgical procedure that involves an inevitable abortion; or (2) refuse to complete participation in a surgical procedure voluntarily undertaken without knowing it would involve an abortion.

No hospital or other health-care facility may be required to provide or permit sterilization contrary to its stated ethical policy. The refusal may not be grounds for liability.

Must the refusal be in writing? Yes.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? Yes. Except for facilities that provide abortion services exclusively, each facility that provides abortion care must post prominently a notice of the right not to participate.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? Yes. The expressed willingness or refusal of a person to participate or cooperate in abortion may not be a basis for discrimination, disciplinary action, denial of public funds, or other penalty except where:

(1) this expression constitutes an overt, disruptive act, or endangers the health or safety of a patient;

(2) an employer proves that accommodating the person's needs constitutes an undue hardship or that non-objection to abortion is a bona fide occupational qualification; or

(3) the employer is a health-care facility operated exclusively for the provision of sterilization services.

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.

43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 955.2 (Enacted 1973); 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3213 (Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1988); 16 Pa. Code §§ 51.1 - 51.61 (Enacted 1977).


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