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THE LAW PROPOSED BY AMERICAN ATHEISTS IS MERELY TO PROVIDE DETAILED INFORMATION ON A RELIGIOUS HEALTH CARE PROVIDER’S SERVICES.

On September 29, the organization American Atheists announced their campaign for the enactment and passage of what they call the “Right to Know Act.” In the group’s proposal, the law will mandate health care providers or institutions to provide patients, insurance companies and the government a list of the medical treatments, procedures and services they are not offering because of the institution’s or doctors’ religious beliefs.

The law will primarily affect the religious hospitals and health care providers which according to the group services a significant portion of the American population. Based on statistics, 17 percent of hospital beds belong to religious hospitals while 1 in 6 patients are accommodated by hospitals, doctors and other service providers which have ties to a particular religion.

According to the Amanda Knief of the American Atheists, the proposed law will enable patients to have full information about the medical services a provider will or will not perform, in order to make a sound decision on their health care. Knief cited that “This legislation would help patients get the information they need to navigate the increasingly complicated – and increasingly religious – health care marketplace.”

Some critics might think that the proposed law will result to certain legal restrictions or the idea of compelling hospitals or doctors to provide and perform certain medical treatments. But Knief clarified that the objective of the proposed law is merely to provide detailed information of the provider’s services.

Knief stressed that “This is about disclosure, not about forcing providers to do anything they have a religious objection to. If a religiously affiliated hospital or health care provider has some objection to providing birth control, access to cancer therapies that could result in sterilization, mental health services, or hormone replacement therapy, the can continue to opt out of providing those services. What they can’t do is pull a bait and switch on patients and potential patients.”

The proposed law will also require the health care providers to make the information available online for the benefit of all interested parties. The American Atheists is still working hard to gain support in and out of Congress.

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