VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
The Convictions of Conscience Clause: Clinicians and Consumers Beware
Grace A. Mims, Matthew J. Mims, Julie A. Dinsmore, and David D. Hof
A “convictions of conscience” clause, as called by proponents, or a “refusal of services” or “denial of care” clause, as called by opponents, is a statute or practice regulation designed to shield health care providers from discrimination by their employers when they refuse to perform procedures that violate firmly held religious or moral beliefs (Roshelli, 2009). Some states have proposed legislative or practice regulations that prohibit sanctions against licensed mental health practitioners who refuse services and/or referrals for clients about whose issues they have moral objections, such as sexual orientation, abortion, and religion. This article provides a review of the historical context for and current issues in mental health practice related to “convictions of conscience” clauses, as well as explores the ethical implications of these clauses for professional counselors and counselors in training.