Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Throwing a sop to the religious fanatics

The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to "an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments," the draft rule said.

The "conscience" rule could set the stage for an abortion controversy in the early months of Barack Obama's administration.


Health and Human Services Department officials said the rule would apply to "any entity" that receives federal funds. It estimated 584,000 entities could be covered, including 4,800 hospitals, 234,000 doctor's offices and 58,000 pharmacies.

Proponents, including the Christian Medical Assn. and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, say the rule is not limited to abortion. It will protect doctors who do not wish to prescribe birth control or to provide artificial insemination, said Dr. David Stevens, president of CMA.

"The real battle line is the morning-after pill," he said. "This prevents the embryo from implanting. This involves moral complicity. Doctors should not be required to dispense a medication they have a moral objection to."

Critics of the rule say it will sacrifice patients' health to the religious beliefs of providers.

The American Medical Assn. and the American Hospital Assn. in October urged HHS to drop the regulation. The Planned Parenthood Foundation and other backers of abortion rights condemned the rule as a last-gasp effort by the Bush administration to please social conservatives.

"It's unconscionable that the Bush administration, while promising a smooth transition, would take a final opportunity to politicize women's health," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

Despite the controversy, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said he intends to issue the rule as a final regulation before the Obama administration takes office, to protect the moral conscience of persons in the healthcare industry. Abortion-rights advocates are just as insistent that the rights of a patient come first.
The article lists the dangers of healthcare personnel who refused to participate:
In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG cited four recent examples. In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim's prescription for emergency contraception. In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception. In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.) And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.
Allowing people to get in between a doctor and a patient is bizarre. What do these people want, religious police as in Saudi Arabia? Being able to deny women all forms of contraception because using birth control will make women promiscuous? Not allowing women to control their bodies? Trying to ban sex toys? Refusing gay people their civil rights?

All I see are lawsuits. Although this technique is working in more impoverished states, what doctor's office, pharmacy, hospital, outclinic really wants to be known as a denier of such services? How ugly and hateful do people have to be to refuse to do a job when they have gone to school to learn medicine or pharmaceuticals in order to help people? Does it give them savage pleasure to thwart such evils as sex? Do they really want to force women to have babies? Does their belief in God include the concept of Love?

Where are they intending to go with this? And why on earth are we letting them affect our laws?


Steve Bates said...

"All I see are lawsuits."

Sue. Their. Fucking. Asses.

Sue them for more money than God's got.

Sue them for violating the oaths of their various professions. If possible, drive them out of those professions. Make it clear to other medical "professionals" (and I use the term loosely) that if their consciences do not allow them to do their jobs as expected by society, they should find other occupations.

As for Bush's regulations, even if Bush succeeds in embedding them so that reversing them requires starting from scratch, Obama must issue new regs immediately which countermand these regs. At the same time, he should issue regs on employers of such reluctant healers... hospitals, pharmacy chains, etc. ... requiring them to ask all employees and interviewees about the matter, and if they answer negatively, to post a sign in three-inch capital letters informing customers that their professional staffs may just plain refuse to do their jobs. We deserve to know, up front.

Enough is enough. It is time to put an end to this crap.

ellroon said...

Wow, Steve. Your reaction is exactly like my husband's. Bring the hammer down upon them. Losing money will make them focus faster than anything else.

The only thing I fret about are the women who can't afford to travel far, who can't afford to pay, who can't afford to take the time to find a health service. They will find a back alley abortionist and die. We don't need to go back to those dark age methods.

Why do we keep on having to explain this over and over again?

Steve Bates said...

ellroon, remember, my first contract programming job was for the local Planned Parenthood. I remember the mobs... there's no other legitimate word for them... outside the clinic. I remember the butyric acid stink bomb tossed into the clinic. Fortunately, no clinic worker has been murdered at the local, but I will never forget... or forgive... the people who do these things. The women you talk about who are unable to pay find at Planned Parenthood a source of quality care by people who give a damn. And abortion is far from the primary service Planned Parenthood provides: many poor women receive basic OB/Gyn services at Planned Parenthood for the first time in their lives.

Face it: the bastards not only hate women, they disrespect them. To Hell with them and their sensitivities: it's time to protect women's rights.

ellroon said...

It just confounds me that some people think controlling all aspects of a woman's life is necessary. Even some women buy into this concept and try to force others to 'behave'. The 'liberated' and 'uncontrolled' woman is considered a danger in so many societies it must be in our DNA. Yet it has been proved time and again that having well-educated intelligent women lifts the standard of living, makes for healthier happier children, controls exploding populations...

And now they are trying to stand in the way of contraception itself? It has nothing to do with fetuses but everything to do with sex.

What do these people really want?