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California Abortion Refusal Clause

This law was last updated on Nov 28, 2016

This law is Anti–Choice




Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123420




Conscience and Refusal Clauses, Religious Freedom

Full Bill Text

California Health & Safety Code section 123420 allows physicians, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, or other persons employed by a hospital or facility to refuse to participate in the induction or performance of an abortion, if the employee or other person has filed a written statement with the employer or facility indicating a moral, ethical, or religious basis for refusal to participate in the abortion.

No such person could be subject to any penalty or discipline for refusing to participate in an abortion.

The law prohibits employers from refusing to employ any person because of the person’s refusal for moral, ethical, or religious reasons to participate in an abortion, unless the person would be assigned in the normal course of business of any hospital, facility, or clinic to work in those parts of the hospital, facility, or clinic where abortion patients are cared for.

The law prohibits medical schools or other facilities for the education or training of medical personnel from refusing admission to a person or penalizing the person in any way because of the person’s unwillingness to participate in the performance of an abortion for moral, ethical, or religious reasons. No hospital, facility, or clinic may refuse staff privileges to a physician because of the their refusal to participate in the performance of abortion for moral, ethical, or religious reasons.

The law prohibits religious nonprofit facilities, or the employees thereof, from being required to permit, provide, or perform abortion services.  The refusal of a facility or its employees to permit or provide abortion services may not be a basis for liability or other recriminatory action. Any such facility or clinic that does not permit the performance of abortions on its premises must post notice of that proscription in an area of the facility or clinic that is open to patients and prospective admittees.

This clause does not apply to medical emergency situations and miscarriages.

Any violation of this clause is a misdemeanor.