Letter: Senate Bill 136 attempts to write discrimination into our laws (MLive)

Published on April 8, 2013, by MLive, Kalamazoo Gazette guest opinion.

The following is a letter to the editor that was sent to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Neil Sikora, Caroline Ham, Derl Oberlin; Kalamazoo Members, Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan Board of Directors.


Published: 04.08.13| Updated: 04.08.13

The so called Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act that has recently come before the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee is nothing more than a proposal to allow health care providers to use religion to discriminate.

Senate Bill 136 is a mechanism to ignore the beliefs of patients, infringe on the rights of those seeking care, and is an egregious assault of the principle of health care in this state by giving employers, facilities and health insurance companies control over personal decisions about one’s health care.

Health care professionals’ primary concern must be a patient’s welfare, regardless of their personal views about sexuality, race, religion, gender, social status, and type of illness or injury. We should not be writing discrimination into our laws. Institutions that operate in the public world (and accept public money) should play by the public rules. They shouldn’t be able to discriminate and patient health outcomes should be the health care facility’s first priority, regardless of its affiliation.

Michigan residents deserve quality health care, no matter where we work and where we seek care. Senator Tonya Schuitmaker sits on the Senate Health Policy Committee and has the opportunity to do the right thing. We call on her to say no to discrimination and vote no on Senate Bill 136.

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