Monday, February 18, 2008

What the f-- is wrong with these people?

A proposed Pennsylvania bill: Allow doctors to deny treatment, medicine on religious grounds
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1255, also called the Conscientious Objection Act, would absolve medical care providers of liability in cases where reproductive care was denied based on a practitioner's religious or moral beliefs.

Services a provider would be free to withhold, with immunity, include performing an abortion, artificial insemination, and prescribing birth control or emergency contraception (also known as the "morning-after pill").

"There shall be no cause of action against a health care provider for declining to participate in a health care service that violates his or her conscience," the bill reads. "A health care institution that declines to provide or participate in a health care service that violates its conscience," it adds, "shall not be civilly, criminally or administratively liable."

"I intend with this bill," says Senator John Eichelberger (R-Altoona) to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "to make it very clear that people in health care and in medical institutions would be held harmless if they for religious reasons decide not to provide procedures for abortion or contraception."
What the fuck? If you refuse to perform the required, legal job, you shouldn't be a doctor or pharmacist or what have you. How hard is that for these idiots to comprehend? What next? Refusing to provide required medical care because the person is Muslim or Catholic? Or they belong to the wrong golf club? Or they are the wrong color? The criteria here are just as arbitrary, and I, for one, am horrified a the implications. Apparently there are a lot of people out there who have no problem at all insisting that their personal beliefs be legislated for everyone.

Just fine and dandy, you think? Wait until the personal beliefs don't happen to coincide with yours. Keep your private, personal religious beliefs out of the public sphere, mmmkay?

What is wrong with these people?


Anonymous said...

Should "conscientious objectors" not be allowed to remove themselves from combat duty?

Phouka said...

Not a good analogy at all -- there are hundreds of different "jobs" in the military [MOS list], most of which are not combat related.

Joining the military goes not = must shoot a gun. In fact, many conscientious objectors held critical positions in the military -- medics, doctors, translators, -- that were in combat zones. Joining the military is not the equivalent of being a doctor. It's more like applying for a job at the hospital -- the janitor or xray tech does not have a job description that requires them to perform surgery or prescribe drugs.

Deciding to become a doctor or pharamacist is a specific job choice that encompasses a wide skillset. If you cannot perform that skill, will not perform that skill, then you do not qualify to become a doctor or pharmacists. Pick a job that doesn't require you to do these things.

LC.Linnemeyer said...

Sorry Robin,

I have to disagree with you on this one. You said, "there are a lot of people out there who have no problem at all insisting that their personal beliefs be legislated for everyone." In fact what this legislation is doing is allowing people to have and abide by their beliefs.

If a doctor believes that killing an unborn child is wrong, then they should not be forced to kill that child. The mother who believes it is ok to kill her unborn child can go to another doctor who shares her beliefs that it is ok to kill an unborn child, then EVERYONE gets to abide by their personal beliefs (except the child).

Thus this legislation is allowing everyone to hold to their beliefs. Without it, or legislating the other way would in fact be insisting that someone else's personal beliefs are forced on the physician. The physicians are not forcing their belief on others, they just don't want other's beliefs forced on them.

It is a very weak argument to draw a parallel between refusing to kill an unborn child and refusing to provide medical service to someone because of their race or religion. One is refusing to kill a human being the other is refusing to help a human being because of an attribute of that human being.

There used to be a thing that was pretty common, it is called the Hippocratic Oath, where doctors say they will protect those that they treat. This includes human beings that have yet to leave the womb. In fact the oath says, "I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy" The majority of situations covered by this law would not be life threatening situations and the woman would be free to go elsewhere so that she could have her way. If it was an emergency where the life of the mother was endanger then most physicians will make the consented choice to end the life of the unborn child to save the life of the mother, and they would be wrong if they did not.

It seems these days that tolerance is only for those who hold politically correct views. As soon as someone holds a view that is contrary to the politically correct view then they immediately become a bigot or intolerant, or in your own words "idiots". But where the true intolerance lies is in not allowing the person to hold the non politically correct view. I am not saying that you have to agree with the view, but you should have tolerance and allow the person to hold their view. Then you can discus the issue based on the merits of each argument.

Can you really keep private personal religious beliefs out of the public sphere? Religious beliefs are a world view which informs a person in the way they think. Humanism and atheism are also world views that also influence the way a person thinks. Just because someone's religious view influences them to hold a position on an issue, does not necessarily make that position a bad one. Someone else may hold an opposite position based on their humanistic world view, that does not necessarily make that position a bad one. Lets discuss each position on the issue based on their own merits, regardless of what might have influence someone to hold a position.

After all you are putting your private personal beliefs out in the public sphere, aren't you,? So lets let not limit anyone from having a voice in the public market place of ideas, mmmkay?

Love Larry,
PS see you for dinner Friday.

Phouka said...

First off, if doctors don't want to perform abortions, they are no longer required to. I do not believe that it is even required study in medical school any longer. I absolutely agree that doctors should not have to be involved.

However, the issue is not primarily abortion (and certainly that is not my opposition to it). That's just the hot-button right now, and the proposed law isn't really relevant there. It doesn't really apply -- except to note that the proposed legislation would not allow any liability or suit against a doctor who refused to save the woman in your scenario; if she died on the table because the doc felt a tubal pregnancy was still a human life, there would be no penalties. The wording is awfully vague.

The issue is a doctor who doesn't believe in birth control, or the morning after pill, a pharmacist who refuses to dispense legally and lawfully prescribed drugs because they happen to believe it is immoral. Can they be civilly, administratively, or criminally held accountable?

Part of the definition of some jobs includes performing or prescribing these things -- and to refuse to do so without any fear of repercussions is just wrong.

If you don't "believe" in contraception, I would argue that you shouldn't be practicing as an ob-gyn or internist. Want to be a surgeon? An orthopod? Go ahead. There are many options. If you don't believe in artificial isemination, then don't be a fertility doctor. I agree that a doctor should not be forced to perform an act they find abhorrent , but then they should make very sure that they are no in a position where they will have to do so. Removing any threat of liability removed is not the way to approach this. And, full disclosure needs to be part of the law -- if your pharmacy doesn't dispense birth control, then there must be some requirement to publicize that and to automatically provide alternative references. This is not the case right now.

I don't agree that this legislation is allowing people to have and abide by their beliefs -- what it's doing is setting up the belief system of one person above everyone depending on that person for their care -- no matter what they do. Who gets to decide what particular belief system is correct? On what merits are those decisions justified?

This is not a matter of tolerance or intolerance, imho. It's a matter of whether the truth-beliefs of a single person trump the health and well-being of another. I do not believe that they do. Religious views are not "bad", they are not automatically suspect any more than any other view. But they are not also always "good", either, and this is a misguided attempt to manage the issue here.

Most cases aren't I want to know that the doctor I see is going to consider ALL options, not just those they consider 'ok'. If they make it clear up front that they do not do X, Y, or Z, then I have the option to choose another doctor. If they simply do not consider tests or drugs that they find objectionable, how am I to know that they did that? Unless I am a very savvy medical consumer, I don't know if they simply ommitted something from consideration -- that's what bothers me. What if a blood transfusion could save a life, but the doctor is a Jehovah's Witness and refuses to even consider it -- and never tells the patient that it was an option? What if psychotropic drugs could allow a patient to live a normal live, but the Scientologist doctor believes that they are "useless pills"? Is the doctor liable if the patient dies or if the mentally disturbed person kills someone? What if the Christian Science doctor doesn't prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection, because they believe prayer should do the trick? Are they required to tell the patient about the common medical treatments if they believe them to be "wrong"? Where does the line get drawn?

How is refusing to prescribe contraception based on a religious belief any different that refusing to do so because of the ethnicity or age or sex of the patient? Or any other arbitrary reason? Both define the worldview of the person holding them, why does one have validity and the other does not?

Please note that I am not saying that a person's objection to abortion or contraception or any of the reproductive issues at hand are wrong -- they aren't. If you believe that these things are immortal or wrong or should not be used, that's fine. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind on whether abortion is ok or contraception is acceptable. Each person will make a decision on that based on their own beliefs and even if I don't agree, I do respect those beliefs. A doctor may share them -- but a 'get out of jail free' card without the requisite responsibilities for disclosure and behavior is not the answer to changing things.