January 30, 2006

You have GOT to be kidding

From this morning's Washington Post.

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients' rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and "morning-after" pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.

So, where does this end? Does a nurse in a hospital get to pick and choose which patients he/she will take care of? What if the nurse is part of a religion that says that men and women are not to be in the same room with each other? Can the nurse refuse to take care of a patient of the opposite sex? Does a Christian Scientist get to refuse all treatment because they believe that disease isn't even real?

Does your EMT get to inquire as to your sexual preference before applying CPR? Is your Jehovah's Witness health care worker permitted to refuse you that needed blood transfusion because his religion forbids them?

Hospitals, doctor's offices, and pharmacies are not restaurants. The Hippocratic oath does not allow them to deny "service." Period.

And, reading further in the article...this really scared me. There are some bills that will allow insurance companies to deny treatment on the basis of religious belief. Whose religious belief? I didn't know a company could go to church!

Beyond that, what is an employee to do if their boss selects an insurance company based on HIS religious beliefs?

Finally, if a health care worker can refuse to offer life-giving care without punishment, based on their "conscience," why are soldiers court-martialed for refusing to kill for the same reason?

Oh yeah...they knew what the job entailed when they signed up.

Culture of life ... yeah, right.

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