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Refusal Clauses

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We were told our two options: we could terminate the pregnancy or carry the baby to term and see what happened. I asked point blank about the chances of a miracle. They had no optimistic outcome to share with us.

Jeni, 34

At almost 21 weeks, Scott and I went to our appointment with the specialist. The sonogram operator asked us to be quiet, immediately changing the mood of the room.

Imagine this: Your doctor writes you a prescription for birth-control pills. You take it to your local pharmacy. Your pharmacy refuses to fill it. Why? Because it claims to oppose the use of birth control. Where do you turn?

A pharmacy can refuse to fill your prescription because of refusal clauses. These laws allow people and corporations to put their beliefs before your needs. Some refusal clauses even let people and companies deny you information on where else you can get the services they refuse to provide.

The Challenge

Anti-choice state and federal politicians are working to deny women information about their medical choices.

What groups could refuse to provide you with medical care or information?

  • Entire hospitals
  • Pharmacists
  • Hospital employees
  • Health-care providers
  • Employers
  • Insurers

The end result is dangerous for women. They receive limited access to honest information and medical care. This makes it nearly impossible for some women to access abortion services.

Our Solution

What if someone you cared about couldn't get the medical treatment she needed?

Patients' medical needs must come first in our health system. If health-care providers don't want to provide certain reproductive-health services, they should refer you to someone who will. That's the best way to protect your health.

Laws About Refusal Clauses

Summary of State and Federal Laws

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

47 states and the District of Columbia allow certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

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