Monday, May 18, 2015

Minnesota Legislature Passes Bill Providing For Religious Objection To Autopsy

The Minnesota legislature last Saturday gave final passage to SF 1694 (full text) providing a right to object on religious grounds a medical examiner or coroner conducting an autopsy.  The bill provides:
If the representative of the decedent objects to the autopsy on religious grounds, an autopsy must not be performed unless the coroner or medical examiner determines that there is a compelling state interest to perform the autopsy.
However the bill lists 13 specific situations which will be considered to be compelling, and even if one of those is not present the state may counter a religious objection by showing a court in a summary proceeding that the autopsy is necessary and that need outweighs the state's interest in observing the decedent's religious beliefs. If an autopsy is carried out after a religious objection has been made, it must be performed by the least intrusive procedure consistent with the state's compelling interest. As reported by Bring Me The News, the bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.