Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed a new law that allows health care workers to refuse service based on religious or moral objections.
The measure targets mainly members of the LGBTQ community. It says health care workers and institutions such as hospitals have the right not to participate in non-emergency forms of care, reported the Associated Press.
Opponents charge that the new law could have broad applications. It could be cited, for example, by pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or doctors who don’t want to treat transgender patients. It might also allow hospitals to override patients’ wishes on end-of-life care.
“There is no sugarcoating this: This bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said in a statement.