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“Conscience clause” opt-out for licensees hits rougher road

A “conscience clause” rule proposal has unexpectedly and suddenly become controversial, some Arkansas legislators are saying. The rule would disallow a counselor or therapist from being disciplined if they were to transfer a client to another provider due to “ethical, moral, or religious principles.”

According to a June 18 article in the Times Record, Representative Andy Davis, R-Little Rock asked to have the rule sent back to the administrative rules committee, which he chairs, to consider the issue further.

Davis implied that the recent mass shooting in Orlando might have created a spate of new concerns. The American Counselors Association, for its part, maintains that the rule breaches the association’s code of ethics and gives professionals license to discriminate.

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