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.