RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A House committee approved a bill Thursday that would allow healthcare providers to refuse to perform services that violate their conscience, as people in the LGBTQ community raised concerns about potential discrimination.

The Medical Ethics Defense Act expands existing law to allow healthcare providers, institutions and payers the ability to refuse to participate in or pay for any service that goes against their religions, moral or ethical beliefs.

Rep. Donna White (R-Johnston) spoke about her own experience as a nurse when she said a new procedure came along that she objected to as a person of faith. She didn’t identify what that procedure was.

She said when she raised concerns about being asked to perform it, her job was threatened. She and her employer eventually found a way to have other providers perform that care instead of her.

“Sometimes you just have to have a conscience and that conscience is something different for everyone. And, I’m not asking anyone to have my conscience,” she said.

Current law allows providers not to participate in an abortion or to refuse to honor a person’s wish for a natural death if either of those violate their conscience.

The bill would not apply to emergencies or override any federal protections currently in place.

People and allies of the LGBTQ community spoke against the bill Thursday, saying it would give doctors a “license to discriminate.”

Ray Bandy, who is transgender, told state lawmakers about the increased risk of suicide among LGBTQ youth.

“This bill could take away medicine that saves lives of transgender people across our state. If you pass this bill, you will have blood on your hands,” said Bandy. “This bill will kill people, children, just like the transphobic abuse that I faced nearly killed me.”

Democrats raised concerns that the bill is too broad and vague.

“And, my concern is that there would be regular refusal of care for people who need it,” said Rep. Sarah Crawford (D-Wake).

Rep. Maria Cervania (D-Wake) said it could have a disproportionate impact on rural communities where there are already fewer providers.

She asked, “If there’s not any healthcare (that) professionals could provide because of their ethics, how do we protect our people and have them have the highest quality of healthcare?”

White acknowledged the concerns Democrats raised and offered to meet with them before the bill comes up again in another committee next week. When CBS 17 attempted to ask White about those issues, she declined to answer questions.

Lawmakers have set a deadline of May 4 for bills to pass out of each chamber in order to still be viable for the remainder of the session.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, spoke in favor of the bill, arguing the protections it includes would keep some providers from leaving the profession.

“This bill ensures that a doctor or nurse cannot be fired, demoted or otherwise discriminated against by their employer for exercising a right of conscience,” she said. “Healthcare providers and pharmacists have been asked, and in some cases forced, to provide drugs and services which run counter to their deeply held religious beliefs.”