ab67AB 67 - Vetoed in Full
State of Wisconsin
Office of the Governor

April 21, 2004


I am vetoing Assembly Bill 67. The bill expands the circumstances under which a health care provider may refuse to provide certain medical procedures based on moral or religious convictions. Current law already allows providers to refuse to perform sterilizations and abortions. The bill would also allow such an objection as a basis for not participating in procedures involving human embryos and fetal tissue or organs. Health care providers could also refuse to honor a patient's request to a physician to abide by their living will.

This bill improperly places a higher priority on a health care provider's own ideological beliefs than on a patient's medical well being and right to make their own health care decisions. Not only could a health care provider refuse treatment, there are no requirements that the health care professionals advise patients of their treatment options, provide a referral to the patient, transfer certain patients, or render care if the patients' health or life is threatened. While I respect the sincerity of health care providers' personal beliefs, they must not prevent access by all Wisconsin citizens to critical medical care.

This bill also poses significant problems for patients who have limited access to a choice of doctors. The personal ideological beliefs of scarce health care providers in rural or other under-served parts of the state should not dictate the legitimate medical options available to those areas' citizens. A clinic's doors are not truly open to the community if the services available within the clinic are limited to anything less than the full range of needed treatments.

This bill should be called the “Unconscionable Clause” because it would be unconscionable to deny our citizens the full range of needed medical treatment in order to satisfy the ideological views of some health care professionals.

Respectfully submitted,