Last Friday, the Colorado state senate advanced legislation requiring hospitals with religious objections to procedures such as abortions “to tell patients that any service not provided because of religious beliefs or moral convictions can be obtained from another hospital.” The measure passed second reading, despite “vigorous objections from Senate Republicans, who called the notification bill a thinly veiled attempt to stigmatize religious hospitals.”
The GOP described the requirement as “religious persecution” that would force some hospitals into a “special little ghetto.” Sens. Kevin Lundberg (R) and Ted Harvey (R) even compared the measure to “Communist Vietnam” and Nazi Germany:
HARVEY: I went to Vietnam a couple of years ago, it’s a Communist country, and they tell everybody they have religious freedom… Is that what where’s saying here in the land of the free and the home of the brave? That you have to affirm that you are a religious hospital here? To have the freedom to be able to provide the services that you think that you should or to have the freedom not to provide the services that go against your religious beliefs. This is religious bigotry, doesn’t matter how you look at it and that is the way the Communist Vietnam government is.
LUNDBERG: Here we have a bill that discriminates. That forces hospitals to put a little patch on them that says, ‘excuse me, but I have religious values and principles and scruples therefore you should consider me to be in this special little ghetto….How about we amend this bill to just put a big star, a big sign. To say this is the building we designated. Would that be appropriate? No. Neither is this bill.
The measure needs one more vote in the Senate before moving to the Republican controlled House.