Mo. speaker plans health care conscience bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones plans to file legislation that would let health care workers refuse to participate in procedures that violate their ethical or religious beliefs.

The measure would apply to procedures such as those involving abortion-inducing drugs, artificial insemination and the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. Religiously-affiliated hospitals would be shielded from liability for refusing medical procedures violating their religious beliefs.

Jones, a Republican from Eureka, sponsored a similar bill last year. The measure passed the House but not the Senate.

Critics in the House argued last year the legislation could inhibit access to health care for some Missourians. Jones has said the proposal protects workers' rights.

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