State legislatures in about 20 states are actively considering legislation that would provide new legal protections to health care employees who refuse to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs.
The biggest issue: pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or "morning-after" contraceptive pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions.
About half the pending state bills would provide new legal protections to pharmacists. At least four states have already enacted such laws. Legislation pending in a handful of other states would protect virtually any worker involved in health care. And some broader state bills would allow insurance companies to opt out of covering services they find objectionable for religious reasons.