Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) signed Senate Bill 1580 into law on Thursday. It protects the right of medical professionals not to be forced to violate their oaths to do no harm. In other words, doctors and nurses cannot be forced to perform procedures such as abortion or assisted suicide against their conscience.
In a press release, DeSantis stated:
"Our early actions during the pandemic protected Floridians and their freedoms. We protected the rights of Floridians to make decisions for themselves and their children and rejected COVID theater, narratives, and hysteria in favor of truth and data. These expanded protections will help ensure that medical authoritarianism does not take root in Florida."
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, weighing in on the new law, said it "advance(s) the cause of public health and individual autonomy in medical decisions. From empowering patients to safeguarding children in schools, Florida continues to enshrine individual liberty and lead with common sense."
Attorney Stephanie Nichols of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who focuses on legislation to protect medical conscience rights, calls it a great step in the right direction for protecting quality of care for Floridians.
"Doctors and nurses have constitutional rights just like other Americans, and their freedom should be respected and protected as well," Nichols tells AFN. "Furthermore, who wants a doctor or a nurse without a conscience caring for their family? We need to protect conscientious people in the medical profession."
Florida is now the seventh state to pass similar legislation.
"Ohio has had a lawsuit filed against their medical conscience bill, but that lawsuit was filed approximately one year ago and has not seen movement," the attorney notes. "It's a losing battle to challenge constitutional rights for doctors and nurses."
Senate Bill 1580 was sponsored by Republican State Senators Jay Trumbull (District 02) and W. Keith Perry (District 09).