Arkansas governor signs bill strengthening conscience protections for medical professionals
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Stephanie Nichols regarding Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signing Friday of the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. Kim Hammer and Rep. Brandt Smith that protects doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and organizations from being forced to participate in procedures, such as abortion, that violate their conscience:
“Patients are best served by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who are free to act ethically and consistent with their oath to ‘do no harm.’ The MED Act ensures that no medical professional is compelled to breach this oath by being forced to participate in procedures or treatments that violate their conscience. Driving out doctors, nurses, and other medical providers because of their faith or ethical convictions means fewer health care options for patients at a time when our nation’s health care system is overstretched and experiencing a dire shortage of providers. We commend Gov. Hutchinson for signing this bill and providing more choices for patients by protecting the right of Arkansas medical professionals—our health care heroes—to operate according to their ethical and religious beliefs.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Stephanie Nichols serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Legislative Advocacy. She is an advocate for religious freedom, freedom of conscience and a free marketplace of ideas. She is passionate about protecting the ability of citizens to fulfill their callings by protecting conscience rights for all people. Her special focus at ADF is legislation to protect medical conscience rights. Prior to joining ADF, Nichols was in private practice in the areas of business law, estate planning, illegal taxation and real estate. She also assisted with freedom of conscience, religious liberty, freedom of speech and pro-life efforts in Arkansas. Nichols began her career in commercial litigation and then worked in higher education administration for Arkansas State University-Beebe, where she worked in federal and state legislative relations, risk management, public relations and policy issues. Nichols holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she served on the editorial board of the Arkansas Law Review and graduated summa cum laude. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism degree from the University of Arkansas.