Right to Know

In the United States, religious hospitals account for more than 17 percent of all hospital beds, and religiously based hospitals, physicians, and other health care entities treat more than 1 in 6 Americans each year. 

Current law allows these health care providers to opt out of providing medical services such as abortions, birth control, tubal ligation, hormone replacement therapy, and nearly any other treatment that conflicts with the provider's religious beliefs or the religious doctrine of the affiliated religious group. There are no state or federal laws or regulations that require health care providers to inform patients of services or treatments a provider will not provide because of the provider’s religious beliefs.

The Patient's Right to Know Act, a proposed piece of legislation drafted by American Atheists, seeks to ensure that patients are able to make completely informed medical decisions about their health by requiring health care providers to disclose to patients and prospective patients exactly which types of medical care they do not provide because of their religious beliefs.

"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 a specific treatment, they 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," said Amanda Knief, National Legal and Public Policy Director of American Atheists. 

You can read the full text of the model legislation here.

If you would like more information about the Patient's Right to Know Act proposed by American Atheists, you can contact us at legislation@atheists.org

Map of Religious Hospitals in the United States

American Atheists has compiled a list of more than 700 religiously affiliated hospitals in the United States from publicly available data. Locations are approximate and there may be errors and omissions. 

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  • published this page in Issues 2015-09-29 14:18:17 -0400