Pro Choice or Pro Life, Obama is wrong!

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by jayleew, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Common ground, issue representation

    I believe he answered that point right after the ellipsis in your quote of his post:

    A doctor in private practice chooses what medical services he or she offers. That's why I keep asking people to look at it from an employer's standpoint.

    Incidentally, in 1999, Kmart fired a pharmacist, Wal-Mart made a business decision to not carry the drug Preven, and the League of American Families asserted that pharmacists shouldn't be obliged to refer a patient to another pharmacy. "Our position is, pharmacists who oppose abortion shouldn't be forced to make a referral to kill," said LoAF head John Tomicki. The lobbyist framed the question simply. "Doctors have a right to refuse to perform an abortion. Why shouldn't pharmacists have the same right?"

    This isn't a new argument, although some things have changed in the last ten years. Or seventeen. The demand for a pharmacist's conscience clause at some point began conceding the need to refer patients to other facilities. While that has been part of the American Pharmaceutical Association's consideration of the issue, we don't hear as many religious lobbyists or conservative pundits demanding the right to refuse referral.

    But doctors have a protected right in Washington state to refuse to perform abortions. They've had it since 1992, when we pretty much settled our abortion policy. It was candy for the anti-abortion crowd that lost a bitter fight that day. And Washington isn't the only state. By 1999, the doctors' right to refuse is part of the conservative argument on behalf of pharmacists.

    And this is important because look at the argument put forth in this thread:

    Or is that driving the point a little too hard?

    But here's the thing: What Obama is looking to overturn is a Bush administration regulation, one that came into being in January, 2009. So things will go back to the way they were on January 18, 2009, which is, in the words of League of American Family's John Tomicki, "Doctors have a right to refuse to perform an abortion."

    The so-called "right of conscience" rule allows workers at more than 584,000 U.S. medical facilities that receive federal funding to refuse to provide patient care that involves procedures with which they disagree. Critics say the decision will mostly affect the provision of reproductive-health services to women, including abortion, birth control and emergency contraception. They also say it could complicate states' ability to enforce laws requiring hospitals to offer those treatments, especially the morning-after pill for rape victims.

    "In just a matter of months, the Bush administration has undone three decades of federal protections for both medical professionals and their patients," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. "It replaced them with a policy that seriously risks the health of millions of women, then tried to pass it off as benevolent."


    In other words, what the Bush administration did was say to health care facilities receiving federal funding, "Regardless of what these professionals have signed on for, you must allow them to refuse to provide services for conscience reasons."

    And this is the central issue. Doctors in private practice can offer whatever services they feel like offering. This is about employees of certain facilities. There is obviously common ground:

    That accented part about the contract; that's essentially what Bush changed. What Obama is striking is a regulation that said even if you applied for and accepted this job knowing what was involved, you now have the right to refuse to provide those services.

    I think the issue has been misrepresented by the source, the Be Heard Project.


    "Pharmacists Debate Pro-Life Conscience Clause". Bergen Record. April 29, 1999. Accessed March 25, 2009.

    Feit, Josh. "The Drug War". The Stranger. June 7, 2006.

    Lite, Jordan. "Conscience clause and relaxed environmental regs among Bush's lame-duck rulings". 60 Second Science. December 19, 2008.
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  3. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    i forgot about the morning after pill but its a great example of how reproductive heslth can be time critical
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  5. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Oh the irony. How about you apply that to yourself? You can believe whatever you want for yourself - Yet you think they have a right to impose their beliefs on others when nobody is forcing them to work there! If someone refuses to do their job over something entirely legal then they can leave it and do something more appropriate for them. Next you'll be moaning you want to work in a slaughterhouse but not be a party to killing any animals.

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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Zebra fish

    Ever hear the one about the Creationist who applied for and got an NIH grant and then objected to doing the work because it violated his conscience to support evolution?

    This isn't all that different. It's just that with health care there seems a lot more at stake. I mean, pollution and zebra fish to the one, people's immediate health to the other.


    Daley, Beth. "Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says". December 7, 2007.
  8. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Health care professionals aren't there for themselves. They are there for the patient.

    If they have a problem with that, they need a new profession.
  9. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Yeah, and used car salesmen are there for the buyers. Surely no one would become a used car salesman for the money, that's far too selfish a reason for anyone.

    Ahh, the idealism raises it's ugly head.

    Baron Max
  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    I think this is where people are getting it all confused. This is NOT about "immediate health", like in an emergency room. This is about elective surgery!! Note the "elective" part?

    If a patient wants/needs heart surgery, they go to a heart surgeon. If a patient wants an abortion, they should go to a doctor that performs abortions. Surely you wouldn't require a heart surgeon to perform abortions, would you??

    And as to drugs, how is a pharmacy different to a hardware store? Is a hardware store required to carry every single item in it's inventory? And please don't make the mistake of reponding about "immediate health concerns". Nothing is "immediate" about going to the pharmacy.

    Baron Max
  11. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    As I understand the issue, doctors and nurses *DO* have the right not to perform abortions if they do not want to. And then, the hospital or clinic for which they work has the right to let them go if that is not what they want in their own personnel. This came up not only with doctors who refused to perform abortions, but also doctors who refused to give referrals to those other doctors who would perform the procedure. It also applies to doctors who refuse to provide contraceptive services.

    The Bush rule strengthened protections for doctors and nurses who did not want to be fired on those grounds, and Obama reversed Bush's decision. So, now, doctors and nurses still have the right to their own consciences, but the hospitals for which they work also have the right to hire and fire employees based on the work that employee is refusing to do.

    You have the right to practice your religion, but that does not mecessarily mean that you do not have to do your job, as understood by the employer who hired you, if you decide that it conflicts with your religion. If there is an conflict, then maybe you should have declined the offer of employment, not accepted and then said "Hahaha! I'm not doing THAT!"

    In this particular case, though, the law (even under Obama) is that you are not supposed to be fired for these sorts of moral objections. The rule Obama is repealing relates to getting a special certification from hospitals receiving federal funds that they will respect those laws, and the failure to make the certification (which includes descriptions of any related litigations) means the denial of federal funds. The law Obama is changing therefore does not impact what you do or do not have to do as a healthcare provider, or even your right to job security in the face of your refusing to do the work for which you were hired, it *only* affects whether or not, in some cases, your employer receives federal funds because they cannot make the needed certification.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  12. TW Scott Minister of Technology Registered Senior Member

    Well, this is touchy subject and does not always follow religious lines. I am a devout christina yet i am pro-choice, pro-assisted suicied, and if I was a pharmaicist I would have no problems despensing bith control or plan B. As a doctor I would make damn sure my patient knew all the consequences of an abortion, but at no time would I attempt to change her mind. After all most abortions are made for well thought out reasons. I may be christian, but I am not forcing my choices on someone else.

    Now there are times when i would cross my own morals. When only half a family is pushing for assited suicide, I would look carefully at who the caretakers are and see what the reasoning is, but I would still probably refrain unless it was cut and dried. In the cases of medically neccesary abortions where it is likely both child and mother would die if tghe pregnancy continued my conscience would have me pushing for the abortion as at least the mother could try again if she survives.

    But then again I am what i like to call a Thinking Christian. I read the commandments as they were originally written. Thou shalt not murder is much different than thou shalt not kill.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  13. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

    Good point. When I was a Christian, I was forward with my belief of not working on Sunday when I was in an interview. If they had a problem with that, then I would find a job elsewhere. That's fine.

    Is it right for the employer to have a problem with a doctor who will not perform an abortion for religious reasons? What I mean is it right for a facility that receives government funds to turn down one of two equally qualified candidates, simply for the fact that one was not willing to perform a certain function for religious reasons?
  14. jayleew Who Cares Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, I can't edit for some reason...

    But, to add to my question:

    If so, how is that not discrimination?
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No it isn't. It is about the circumstances of the exercise of that right, in medical care.

    Can they use monopoly power granted by the State or circumstance to deny the service altogether ? Can they refuse to inform people about the existence or location of the service elsewhere? Can they accept employment which includes providing that service, and then refuse it ? Can they accept licensure which includes providing that service, and then refuse to provide it?
    There are all kinds of jobs that people with particular religious beliefs cannot hire onto. If the duties of emergency room nurse or casino bartender or pharmacist or pork sausage packager offend one's principles, then other career paths would be wiser choices.
    A few years ago, when I last checked, statistically a newly pregnant woman's chances of dying from complications of preganancy were greater than a new army recruit's chances of dying in combat.

    Pregnancy and childbirth are indeed dangerous, medically. Until recent advances in medicine (made with secular humanist science bucking the religious establishment and forcing believers to curb the impositions of their consciences all the way), they were leading causes of death among women.
  16. Roman Banned Banned

  17. codanblad a love of bridges Registered Senior Member

    they are discriminating between applicants based on suitability for the job, not religious beliefs. they don't give a shit what his reasons are for not being able to perform abortions.
  18. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Who said they ever had that right in the first place?

    Religion and professional lives should be kept separate. If you queued up in a supermarket, but the teller refused to check your bacon because they were Jewish, you would be annoyed. What makes you think it's OK for doctors to be unprofessional just because this is a more contentious topic?

    Also, the pro-life convolution with Christianity comes from where, exactly? Where did Jesus specifically outlaw it? Or is it a lame excuse?
  19. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    I don't think that a professional doctor should involve his personal faith into his job, especially if it's a life threatening situation where an abortion is absolutely needed to at least safe the mum. Isn't the main priority of a doc a life?

    What do you think would happen if suddenly someone started to wash his feet instead of his hands before performing surgery and that because of his faith? Excuse me my cynicism.
  20. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    You're talking about an emergency abortion? How many of those occur in a year?

    I don't disagree with you in an emergency situation. But what of private practice? What of non-emergency situations? What of doctors who are podiatrists?

    See? You've lumped all doctors into one entity - emergency medical care. There's a helluva lot more other types of doctors than emergency care doctors. And those doctors should be permitted to pick and choose what and who they operate on ...even if based on religious beliefs.

    Baron Max
  21. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    I have no idea why I should point out the obvious.
    Are you sure of that? So, lets say if I'm prejudiced towards a certain race I could say that I don't want to perform surgery on him/her?
    Or what if I'm a misogynist? Ey, I don't feel like performing surgery on you because you're female?

    Okay, sounds good to me.
  22. phlogistician Banned Banned

    They have a DPM, not an MD, and are not qualified to perform abortions, just to operate on feet, Max. Why the fuck would you mention them?
  23. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Why do you think that surgeons are the only kinds of doctors????? There are far, far more non-surgical doctors in the world than surgeons!

    And, yes, in private practice, I know of no law that forces a doctor to accept someone as a patient if he doesn't want to. I'm sure, however, that he wouldn't admit to prejudices, etc. at the reason.

    Baron Max

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