City sues state over health care law that allows denial of care

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein is suing the state of Ohio over a 2021 law known as the “conscience clause,” which provides medical professionals legal protections from patients and health care employers for denying any care or treatment that violates their conscience or religious beliefs.

Critics of the law say it will allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers to deny certain vaccines, birth control, blood transfusions or blood products, treatments or counselling for HIV/AIDS and transgender individuals, and potentially any medical care to which a provider may be personally opposed. 

In a lawsuit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning, the city notes that the Columbus Department of Public Health runs a Women’s Health and Wellness Center that provides birth control and reproductive life planning for all genders, contraceptive education, and all birth control methods and pregnancy testing.