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April 22, 2004 3:31 PM   Subscribe

"The Conscientious Objector Policy Act" just passed the Michigan Assembly, and awaits voting in the state Senate. The bill legalizes the right for a doctor, or any health provider, to deny treatment based on "ethical, moral, or religious grounds." In addition to the obvious notion of restricting abortion, in the most extreme example the bill technically allows doctors to deny treatment to gays simply for believing that homosexuality is immoral.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (90 comments total)

 
Im afraid i would fully support this...

I don't think a doctor should have to be forced to treat anyone if they don't want to.... i mean, unless they are recieving gub'ment cheese... then you should have to play by gub'mnet rules (equal treatment/protection etc)

And just just imagine what great care you homosexuals will recieve when a doctor is forced to care for you with a big fat fine hanging over their heads!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:34 PM on April 22, 2004


-just
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:34 PM on April 22, 2004


and does this supercede the Hippocratic oath?
posted by Miles Long at 3:39 PM on April 22, 2004


what Miles said. So a racist white doctor can refuse to treat blacks? a fundamentalist can refuse to treat catholics, jews, muslims, mormons and anyone outside of their sect? etc...
This says it well, from Jesus' General/patriotboy
posted by amberglow at 3:43 PM on April 22, 2004


Im afraid i would fully support this...

i'm afraid you would too.

...you homosexuals...
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:34 PM PST on April 22


stop the hating, man. 'you homosexuals' are people, human beings like yourself.
posted by Miles Long at 3:43 PM on April 22, 2004


stop the hating, man
if you really care, you can go through some of the comments ive left here on mefi... im not a biggot and staunchly in support of gay rights, i just don't take alot of time to phrase things politely... sorry for the misunderstanding.

my point was that I wouldn't want the medical attention of someone who disliked me or was *forced* to care for me.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:51 PM on April 22, 2004


Honestly I'd support it too. I wouldn't really want to go under the knife of someone forced to treat me against their wishes, and doctors are people too, not health-dispensary robots. It's sort of getting to the point where you're free to think what you want in l'amerique, as long as you never mention or act on your beliefs in any way whatsoever.

Obviously of course doctors ought to be expected to do what is within their power to save lives or what have you, but for non-life-threatening stuff, or where the timeline is such that the patient can find another physician without being harmed, then yeah, the doc should have the option to say "I don't want to perform this surgery or treat this patient because x" where x is an honest objection.
posted by kavasa at 3:53 PM on April 22, 2004


...where x is an honest objection

x can never be an honest objection if you've taken an oath to treat/heal the sick. That oath didn't specify "only if they're of my beliefs/race/religion/culture"
posted by amberglow at 3:55 PM on April 22, 2004


Doctors that don't want to treat someone or certain ailments should change their focus, or better yet, change jobs. Go bag groceries if you can't hack it in the operating room.

What kind of abortion-hating doctor would become a gynocologist? (yeah I know they deliver babies, but they also have to do other things that are kind of central to their profession)
posted by mathowie at 3:56 PM on April 22, 2004


Where and when does being gay [or non-christian for that matter] affect how healthcare should be dispensed?

It does not factor in one bit. Anyway, I like my doctor, but I don't tell him who I sleep with and if they are either men or women.
posted by plemeljr at 3:57 PM on April 22, 2004


So, would this mean that, were I an OB-GYN, I could refuse to deliver the babies of all Catholics, because they're papists?

...if so, does it also mean that I can demand that all of my patients sign documents stating their religious beliefs, so that I know who to avoid? And what happens if they lie, and I help someone give birth to another stinking papist? Can I sue the mother for effectively forcing me to assist, by fraudulently representing herself as a decent godfearing protestant?
posted by aramaic at 3:58 PM on April 22, 2004


I just googled the oath: "I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings"

I retract my support - at least in the case of doctors (non-oathers are exluded). Seems they have already made a promised... and now they wanna back out cause homos and abortions make them squeemish?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:58 PM on April 22, 2004


If you don't want to help people don't become a doctor. If you've suddenly decided that you don't want to help those people whoever they may be then your only choice as a doctor should be to stop practicing.

Maybe we can get a similar law for the cops. They won't have to assist those people either.

I don't understand withholding medicine on moral grounds at all. You're morally opposed to helping a particular group of those people? If I'm morally opposed to suffering can I refuse to do a procedure that would prolong it?
posted by substrate at 4:02 PM on April 22, 2004


Whatever happened to american values like universal human rights? What happened to professional ethics? And logic?

Logically, legislation is passed to change things, right? So the current status quo - which seems not to need fixing - is that practising members of the medical profession are now treating folk they disgree with (for shame!)

How many of you check out the political, religious or sexual persuasion of your clients?

Right. Thought so. This is destined to reach those ever lovin' Supremes within a twelvemoth of being signed into law, if it ever gets that far.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2004


substrate - doctors aren't public servants.
dash_slot - healthcare isn't a human right.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:11 PM on April 22, 2004


That's got to be the first time I ever saw someone actually be convinced by an argument on MetaFilter. Props to Tryptophan.
posted by fuzz at 4:11 PM on April 22, 2004


It's funny you say that, fuzz, because I was just going to say: Tryptophan, you're going to let a 2500 year old Greek guy make your decisions for you? You might as well say, "Oh, well it's okay to deny treatment to atheists because I just googled the pledge and it says right there 'under God.'" Now, if you started out saying that the Hippocratic Oath is an important moral code (as you seem to agree that it is), that's one thing, but to double-check the exact wording is like basing your entire opinion on a technicality. Not to be snarky, of course.

I'm not quite positive how I feel about this (for reasons others have raised). It certainly seems that doctors perhaps ought to have this right, but I feel like the potential bad outweighs the good. The slipperyslope in me is saying, "Not good, not good, not good."
posted by rafter at 4:12 PM on April 22, 2004


on preview: maybe not.
posted by fuzz at 4:13 PM on April 22, 2004


The Michigan Catholic Conference, which pushed for the bills, hosted a legislative day for Catholics on Wednesday at the state Capitol....Paul A. Long, vice president for public policy for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the bills promote the constitutional right to religious freedom...."Individual and institutional health care providers can and should maintain their mission and their services without compromising faith-based teaching," he said in a written statement.

Those wacky catholics... or is it just their lobbyists, bishops, congress members...

substrate - doctors aren't public servants.
dash_slot - healthcare isn't a human right.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:11 PM PST on April 22

What a long way away from europe you guys are.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:13 PM on April 22, 2004


AIDS patients are covered by ADA so I have to cover them. I know, I don't treat homosexuals, which make up a lot of AIDS patients, because they are immoral.

This is completely unethical, and any doctor who refuses to treat anyone, whether they can pay, whether they can believe what the doctor believes, not only deserves to have their license revoked, but if they refuse and the person dies, they should go to jail.
posted by benjh at 4:16 PM on April 22, 2004


its not about a technicality, its about the promise they made to help all people.

dash_slot - yeah, which is why American's go to Europe to take part in the world class health care! And also why the best and the brightest of America are flocking to Europe in droves... us American's even made up a phrase for it - "the brain drain" Maybe one day we might reach the levels of enlightenment you Europeans have attained. </sarcasm> (This is not to say that American's couldn't learn quite a few things from you guys, but how to manage health care ain't one of them)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:25 PM on April 22, 2004


healthcare isn't a human right.

Bzzt! Wrong!

The UN disagrees; see Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In case you're curious, the US voted for that declaration in the General Assembly.

...granted, it's purely a declaration, but it's interesting to see that Michigan wants to join the illustrious company of Saudi Arabia, the old South Africa, and a few other really great nations that didn't vote for the UDHR back in 1948.

Go Michigan!
posted by aramaic at 4:26 PM on April 22, 2004


man, it's times like now when I wished I believed in hell so I could have some sort of satisfaction in knowing these Catholics will eventually be burning in it.
posted by badstone at 4:26 PM on April 22, 2004


Surprise surprise, its the Catholics at work trying hard to mix politics and religion.

If America wants to flirt with theocracy, intolerance, and the restrictions of civil rights it will find that will ultimately hurt it in many ways.

We've already lost our lead in stem cell research.

Even Bush-Apologist Thomas Friedman is seeing the US losing its tech edge because of laws stemming from the "war on terrorism" and conservatism in general.

Once we lose our edge we will probably never get it back. The same way we will probably never be able to knock down these theocratic laws once they are in place. Just look at the pledge.

Let the brain drain and oppression continue!

benjh, how is this unethical? To these doctors and the legislature they are putting Jesus above their moral responsibility as doctors and as statesmen. To them Jeebus is the ultimate authority. This is why the founders and why all western government didn't want to mix religion and politics. The problem is here in the US mixing politics and religion is accepted by enough people to pass intolerant laws like this. Why should they care? They're just waiting on the rapture to pull them out of their suits. Leviticus means more to them than any oath.
posted by skallas at 4:28 PM on April 22, 2004


Christians aren't the only ones eagerly awaiting the day when Jesus will return and take all the fundies back with him.... I wish he'd hurry up already.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:33 PM on April 22, 2004


So, on moral grounds, a doctor in a public hospital could refuse to treat a smoker because they knowingly increased their risk of disease? A person who had a car accident after a few drinks for the same reason?

While I can see that there is something of a contradiction here, health professionals conducting private practice are free to treat who they want anyway, right? The law does not require them to treat particular people, they can pick and choose their patients for whatever reason (while it may be illegal to discriminate against certain groups, they can choose their patients for whatever other reason, as we all know). If the health professional is a public servant, then they have to treat whatever patients the government service sends them, just as police have to protect all citizens because that is what they are paid to do. If a person wants to be able to choose their own client group based on whatever criteria, they do not belong in public service, they should conduct their own business where they rightly have control of this aspect.

The logical extension of this bill is that individuals can make their own decisions about who is worthy of receiving government-funded help of any type, which is insane.
posted by dg at 4:33 PM on April 22, 2004


the best and the brightest of America are flocking to Europe in droves... us American's even made up a phrase for it - "the brain drain"

Well, when did you figure out that the only factor in emigration to the US was the superior quality healthcare?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2004


Good move. for those undecided, keep in mind that, in UN parlance, universal healthcare means "right to kill infants through abortion".

Where do I sign?

Doctors that don't want to treat someone or certain ailments should change their focus, or better yet, change jobs.
What kind of abortion-hating doctor would become a gynecologist?


Wrong. There's a liberal presumption behind this argument, since you imply that people are not wholly free to establish a specific line of work in their profession. Not only do physicians have conflicting views as to operate/not to operate, drug prescription etc, some doctors may want to save lives instead of terminating them, just as some people do not want to be soldiers lest they kill someone.

"I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings"

Including, mind you, those as yet unborn.
posted by 111 at 4:41 PM on April 22, 2004


dash - the factor isn't that the best and the brightest are leaving to get healthcare, they are leaving to become healthcare professionals where they can get access to well funded labs and attractive pay scales - something social medicine has a hard time providing.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:41 PM on April 22, 2004


Including, mind you, those as yet unborn

Wow, does that I mean I can rely on the Christian Right to help protect future generations by NOT cutting down and burning everything in sight? Are the Born-Again going to stop driving their cursed SUVs? Will you all become Vegan?

...or do the "rights of the unborn" only come into play when you need to keep women barefoot & pregnant?
posted by aramaic at 4:45 PM on April 22, 2004


I work in a hospital and I don't want to think about the can of worms that would be opened by this.

Anything you tell your doctor is like telling your lawyer. It is in strict confidence. How can the doctor refuse to treat you without betraying your confidential information?

As tempting as it would be to be able to walk away from ethically challenging patients (i.e. quality vs. quantity of life) I think this would be wrong. If being a doctor is that hard on you then go into research or find a new job.
posted by whatever at 4:45 PM on April 22, 2004


Tryptophan-5ht - I'll tell that to my Doctor cousin in his £500,000 penthouse next time I see him.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:47 PM on April 22, 2004


111, if you want to debate about what constitutes as a person, then find a more appropriate place for that. But all your arguments are assuming that a fetus equals a human life, which is simply not the opinion of the posters you are arguing with. Apples and oranges. Stick to the issue at hand.

Maybe I just have a huge misconception of the entire medical profession, but without this law in place you seem to imply that doctors would be forced to provide abortions? Huh? Even if gynecology is your area, can't you focus within that on, um, not abortion? Anyone care to clarify this for me?
posted by rafter at 4:47 PM on April 22, 2004


[/pissing match]
posted by dash_slot- at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2004


It does not factor in one bit. Anyway, I like my doctor, but I don't tell him who I sleep with and if they are either men or women.

posted by plemeljr at 3:57 PM PST on April 22


plemeljr, that's truly unfortunate. If I were your primary physician, I would certainly ask you about your sexual health, because it can impact all sorts of things that I might do or not do based on it, e.g., Hepatitis B testing/vaccination, offering birth control options, screening for STDs, asking about exams you may or may not have had due to previous bias from other physicians, etc.

I've attended workshops for medical students that discuss the importance of asking the hard questions, and trying to get the answers. If you have a doctor you don't feel comfortable discussing these things with, I would hope you would be able to try and find another one. And if it's simply reluctance/privacy concerns, I hope you will rethink your take on the importance of an approach of being cared for as a sexual human being (if in fact you are active.)
posted by ltracey at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2004


x can never be an honest objection if you've taken an oath to treat/heal the sick. That oath didn't specify "only if they're of my beliefs/race/religion/culture"

Nuff said.
posted by rushmc at 4:54 PM on April 22, 2004


For the record, the Original Hippocratic Oath includes a promise not to perform abortions.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.

This isn't by way of stating my own opinion on who doctors should be forced to treat. But if we're discussing the Hippocratic Oath, we should know what it says.
posted by alms at 4:58 PM on April 22, 2004


OT
That link to patriot boy was fucking hilarious amberglow.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:58 PM on April 22, 2004


Those who know me will know that I am the biggest queer/lefty/socialist/universal-healthcare/equity queen there is. So I'm not defending the bill. Nor am I a lawyer. But to critique it effectively, you do need to read the bill itself, which is much more tightly circumscribed in its limitations than the 365gay story implies.

Carry on.
posted by stonerose at 5:06 PM on April 22, 2004


400 BC
THE OATH
by Hippocrates
Translated by Francis Adams

I SWEAR by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!

but that was then. I can understand a pharmacist not wanting to dispense "the day after pill" but this law is not to my liking. what could the implications be for this. lets hope granholm vetos this bill and I do not like the catholic lobby pushing this along.
here is one guy who snowed us all.

this is not good
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on April 22, 2004


Stick to the issue at hand.

You mean, agree with them even though they're wrong? That would be 1984 logic at work. I might just as well present my own view on the subject: from the moment of conception onwards, there is a human life that must be nurtured, sheltered and protected.
I also mention abortion because it really seems to be what this is all about, but there are other stances where doctors must be fully entitled to exercise their free will. Euthanasia for instance. Prescription of drugs and birth control pills. Sex change operations. Plastic surgery.
The USA has become such a litigious country that specialized professions need to have some protection against the selfish, nihilistic excesses of the liberal/ anything goes mindset.
posted by 111 at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2004


I am giving Trytophan the benefit of the doubt here and assuming that he is not fantasizing about walking down to an emergency room in Detroit and gloating over the wrecked bodies of gay accident victims as they bleed to death.

The funny thing about these slippery slopes is that they have a habit of biting people on the ass when they least expect it. I would be very interested to know what hysterical pandering gave birth to the ass piece of legislation, but I can't for the life of me think of who it would actually help.

Once you begin allowing denial of care to one group, reprisals can't be far behind. To be blunt, my people are much more likely to become physicians than your average redneck. And it's easier to say 'I can't wait for Jesus to bring my daughter' home in theory, than it is in an operating room when you are covered in her blood. To be honest, I wouldn't even wish this on Ralph Reed.

What I really do wish on Ralph Reed and Tryptophan is a little reflection. Acts of charity and compassion, IMHO, bring us closer to, not farther from the spirit of Christianity.

They don't call me Dr. Faggot for nothin'.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:19 PM on April 22, 2004


Welcome to the Emergency Room!*

no shirt, no shoes, no service

*gays, people of color, liberal bloggers, please see the manager to arrange transport to an appropriate medical facility
posted by th3ph17 at 5:20 PM on April 22, 2004


In a free market, choices like this go both ways.

If certain doctors choose not to help homosexuals or women seeking abortions, then I choose not to give them my money, even if none of their preferences applied to me.

How are doctors planning on advertising these choices? Maybe they should have a sticker on their door with handy symbols like Visa or Amex provide vendors who accept their cards; or perhaps some enterprising types might make a warchalking equivalent ("doc-chalking"?).

Or, perhaps, they should ditch such a fucking stupid un-Christian idea. Whatever happened to "love the sinner, hate the sin"?
posted by John Shaft at 5:56 PM on April 22, 2004


This law is silly. If you don't want to cure people, don't be a Doctor. Also:

ltracey: plemeljr, that's truly unfortunate...

plemeljr said nothing about keeping sex completely out of the discussion. He simply said that whether or not he's gay shouldn't make a difference. And, he's right, it shouldn't.

Risk groups are one thing. If I'm super fat, the doctor knows automatically that I'm almost assuredly in, or will be in, poor health due to my weight. Maybe being gay places you at higher "risk" for certain things, but it still doesn't actually _tell_ you anything actionable [1]. I feel sure slutty straight people are at higher risk for STD's than a gay guy who can't get laid. If a Doctor is only pulling out the HIV and Hepatitis chat once he finds out your gay, then I'd say he's a pretty poor Doctor. And, based on your response to plemeljr's comment, you seem to imply that medical advice should be tailored in this manner. Yea! Another generation of heterosexuals who think they're impervious to HIV!

If someone is sexually active with anyone those discussions should already be happening, those tests should already be performed. The hard question is not "Are you gay?" The hard questions are "Do you have sex? Do you know about STD's?"

[1] I'll give you that the Birth Control chat is probably a waste of time at this point, though. :)
posted by Swifty at 6:05 PM on April 22, 2004


the bill technically allows doctors to deny treatment to gays simply for believing that homosexuality is immoral.

To any doctor who would do this on religious grounds I offer this:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:


For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:


I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.


Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?


Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.


And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

--Mat 25:41-46

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 PM on April 22, 2004


jonmc, see also John 13:

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

posted by the fire you left me at 6:41 PM on April 22, 2004


fire, I'm confused, my quote was meant to be an opposition to the law, I'm assuming yours was too, correct?
posted by jonmc at 6:51 PM on April 22, 2004


The law does exclude situations in which someone's health is in imminent danger, or in the case of a public health emergency - so the nightmare scenario of a gay man bleeding to death in the emergency room and being refused care is not a possibility.

But even with those exclusions, I think the law is ill-advised. I wouldn't particularly want to be treated by a doctor who thinks I'm an abomination - but then, I might not have all that much of a choice. What if I lived in rural Michigan, and I needed a specialist, and there was only one within 100 miles, but he or she refused to treat me because I'm gay?

Would, say, a psychiatrist have the right to refuse to treat the child of gay parents, because he disapproves of the family structure? (Not that I'd want my hypothetical child going to a doctor who thinks gay=bad, but you get the point). In other words, how far removed does the "ethical discomfort" have to be? And does a physician have to admit forthrightly that they're refusing to give a treatment? Let's say a teen asks a doctor about STD's, and the doctor is morally opposed to contraception. Can the doctor just leave out the information, or would the doctor be required to say "there's something I'm not telling you - you'll have to go to someone else." What if the teen has an STD - could the doctor just not tell the teen that there is a treatment available?

Even if the law prevents the absolute worst-case scenarios, there are plenty of nightmare scenarios lurking in the shadows. Seems to me like a bad public policy.
posted by Chanther at 8:10 PM on April 22, 2004


Wait a minute! This sounded really terrible, but if you actually read the bill it says you shouldn't be required to perform non-emergency services you don't normally offer. How is this unlike demanding pizza at a hamburger joint? If I don't normally offer abortions, how am I discriminating against a group by refusing someone an abortion when it just isn't something I normally do or am equipped for? My regular dentist doesn't do root canals, she had to send me somewhere else. Should I sue her for discrimination?
posted by McBain at 8:55 PM on April 22, 2004


111:Prescription of drugs and birth control pills. Sex change operations. Plastic surgery.
The USA has become such a litigious country that specialized professions need to have some protection against the selfish, nihilistic excesses of the liberal/ anything goes mindset.


111 - great, so you think a doctor should be able to refuse to prescribe pain meds to people with chronic and terminal illnesses because they believe that it's God's will that they are ill and should just buck up and accept their fate, or that they are concerned that they will be sued for hastening someone's death. The first scenario is grotesque; the second, unfortunately, is a major underlying problem that drives much of the debate over euthanasia.

People with painful chronic/terminial illnesses are being under-prescribed pain medication by doctors who are more concerned with keeping their malpractice insurance rates low than aleviating their patient's pain. People are afraid that they will be left to die in excruciating pain or they may even have witnessed it happen to a love one - that's why so many people advocate Assisted Suicide. Palliative Care on the other hand, the concept advocated by the Catholic church as an alternative to euthanasia, means that the terminally ill patient is provided with as much pain medication as is needed to make them comfortable even though it may hasten their death. If you're so damn "pro-life", why are you supporting a proposal that would make it easier for a doctor to withhold needed treatment?
posted by echolalia67 at 9:18 PM on April 22, 2004


Even if gynecology is your area, can't you focus within that on, um, not abortion? Anyone care to clarify this for me?

My ob/gyn does not offer abortion as a service. Generally, doctors who perform abortions specialize in it. There are so few doctors who do it now, what with the people trying to kill them for performing them, that the ones who do offer the service have women begging for appointment times...and thus, it becomes their entire practice.

As to the bill, it makes me uncomfortable because of a series of incidents which have occurred in my home state of Texas recently.

A woman who had been raped and was prescribed "the morning after" pill was turned away by a pharmacist who said that he had "ethical issues". So, he was ok with her being raped. And ok with a child possibly issuing from that rape. But he wasn't ok with filling a prescription written by a doctor who happens to be higher on the chain of medical experts. So, the woman was victimized twice. Imagine, for a moment, your mother, your wife, your daughter standing in a pharmacy for 30 minutes while a pharmacist decides whether or not she should get the medical treatment her doctor has ordered after she was attacked.

And lest you think this was an isolated incident, just a few weeks later, another pharmacist declined to fill a birth control pill prescription...citing that it was against his religion.

So, it's not just gays that are facing an issue if legislation like this starts rolling through the country...and it will if this hold up past the Supremes...but fully half of the population suddenly face the dire fact that we no longer have the guarantee of access to birth control, or to be protected after an attack.

Because suddenly, religion will be able to trump science. And that, my friends, is bad juju.
posted by dejah420 at 10:41 PM on April 22, 2004


What I said before.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:11 PM on April 22, 2004


Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.

jonmc pointedly and accurately nails the hypocrisy of those who use religion to justify withholding care from the sick.

It is completely unconscionable and unethical for a physician to refuse treatment for reasons of race, religion, or sexual orientation. A physician's duty to care outweighs practically all other considerations.

Look, some poor M.D. had to actually overlook his/her own natural deep loathing to actually prescribe pain killers to vermin like Rush Limgaugh, right? It's that duty thingie. I might even say it's that compassion thingie, but I don't like to use words like that in the same paragraph with Limbaugh.

Hell, I'd transfuse a reincarnated Ayn Rand, Joe McCarthy....or even GW AWOL hisself, using a few unts of my own pink but potent communist blood, if any one of the dumb bastards was bleeding out on us.

And use the longest, dullest fucking 14 gauge needle I could find.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:51 PM on April 22, 2004


Why all the assumptions of refusal to treat people in dire straits?

What if the law was worded as in my first response (go on, go back and read it) - what then? Let's not kid ourselves here, folks. When you say "people not willing to provide treatment", you're leaving off a very important part that says "people not willing to give treatment I agree with". 111's hyperbolic phrasing aside, abortion is a conveniant illustration of this. According to the pro-life doctor's view, he's doing the exact opposite of refusing treatment; he's refusing to do harm. And as has been pointed out, he's doing so in accord with the hippocratic oath.

So, much as everyone would like to go WELL THIS IS EASY SIMPLE CUT AND DRIED AND OTHERWISE OBVIOUS, just... stop. No one benefits from you screaming "IF YOU DON'T AGREE WITH ME YOU'RE A MONSTER OR AN IDIOT OR BOTH". Neither does anyone benefit from both sides taking their assumptions for granted.

d420 - alter the situation slightly. Say it's the 50s (and a morning after pill exists, bear with me, this is a hypothetical argument) and that woman couldn't get the prescription from the doc, but she goes to the pharmacy anyways. She explains the situation and gets the pill because the pharmacist feels a moral obligation to help the woman excercise her rights over her own womb. Would you be angry with the pharmacist then? Would you be angry if the pharmacist had to spend half an hour thinking about it before the pill was handed over, just like the real-world one? Alternatively, do you want everyone in every sensitive position in the world to be a mindless automaton that beeps and says order confirmed whenever told to do something in accordance with the Official Guidelines that (in this case) are "do what the doc says"? Are you ok with that?

Humans have strong feelings about abortion, and to get all angry that a clerk agonized over the question for thirty minutes before coming up with his answer is just... it seems weird to me. I think you should be willing to cut people a little bit of slack when they're unexpectedly confronted with profoundly difficult ethical issues that very few people are very educated about. And before you play the "well he should find a different job" card, just consider what you're saying. Who decides what viewpoints you have to hold before you can work a certain job? Do you really want whoever that is to have the power to dictate career path based on ideological stance?

That's some pretty hardcore thought-policing you're talking about there. JUST SAYIN', you may want to think through the implications of what you're proposing in a little greater depth.

So, again. Back off a little. The bill actually highlights in bright blue a section that says IF SOMEONE IS REAL FUCKED UP YOU GOTTA HELP 'EM so I think it's just awesome that eighty of this thread is slamming some sort of fantasy bill that doesn't exist instead of talking in a reasonable fashion about the real world.

Good job kids!
posted by kavasa at 2:26 AM on April 23, 2004


Rural Michigan. Such a place. I had a doctor decide not to perform something as simple as an endoscopy (tube and camera down the throat) because I was gay and had had hepatitis. Because of the highly unlikely thing that I might have HIV, and he might come into contact with my body fluids in such a way that it might get into him.

I should have sued him, but you know, my private life would then not have been private. The bastard didn't have any problems billing me though.

When I was in nursing school (in Michigan), back in the 70's (before I quit) some nurses were going to work for the local Catholic hospital to avoid involvement in abortion. In the regular hospitals, they had to do what work was assigned. (this applied mostly to scrub nurses that assist in surgery).

As for this law, its simply stupid. Doctors don't do abortions that don't want to do them. Otherwise, why give a specific profession the option to discriminate against their customers? Were enough doctors feeling the need for this change?
posted by Goofyy at 3:03 AM on April 23, 2004


I'm speechless this would even be considered, or even someone would say "I support this." Is it possibly Germany in the 1930's is being repeated?

I think it would be the catholics that have the least to stand on - Church sale!

Not gay. Not Christian. Someone please tell me how this is not hatred and bigotry.
posted by fluffycreature at 4:21 AM on April 23, 2004


Goofyy, that's exactly what I'm wondering about - how many physicians are there in Michigan who are being forced to give treatment that is against their religion? Are the people pushing for this the doctors or is it just the Michigan Catholic Conference? And if it's the Michigan Catholic Conference, pushing this over the heads of doctors, what is their next step? Are they planning to put pressure on doctors to refuse certain procedures (e.g., "we'll expect you not to come to communion next Sunday if we hear you're continuing to prescribe birth control")?

(And though this is a cheap shot, I'd think the Michigan Catholic Conference might have bigger things to worry about.)

Kavasa, yes there's an exception for life-threatening conditions, but there are plenty of scenarios out there in which a refusal to provide care in non-emergency situations could produce real harm.

And as far as abortion goes, yes, I am perfectly comfortable with saying that people who are opposed to abortion should not apply for jobs in which performing abortions is part of the job description. That's not thought-police. That's only applying for jobs for which you're qualified. Any doctor who believes abortion is murder clearly hasn't gone through the medical training to learn how to perform them. Are you suggesting that hospitals should be required to hire anti-abortion doctors into positions for which abortion services are part of the job description, and then either stop providing those services as an institution, or hire a second person just to perform abortions?

Look, regardless of the fact that I'm pro-choice, I'd agree that doctors who believe abortion is murder should never be compelled to perform them. But I also believe that such doctors should self-select out of applying for jobs which include abortion services. Ethical beliefs sometimes have consequences, and this is one of them.
posted by Chanther at 6:00 AM on April 23, 2004


fold_and_mutilate:jonmc pointedly and accurately nails the hypocrisy of those who use religion to justify withholding care from the sick.

foldy agreed with something I said and admitted it publicly. Wow.

*hole opens up in universe, sucks us into another dimension*
posted by jonmc at 6:22 AM on April 23, 2004


Perhaps there should be a corresponding "Truth In Labeling" act for doctors in that state: I'd want a nice big sign outside warning me that the doctor has prejudices that prevent him/her from treating people of types x, y, and z. I wouldn't even want to be in that doctor's waiting room, and wouldn't want to subsidize them with my money or insurance either.

If there are people who'd want to go to a doctor because of such prejudices, that's sad but at least I wouldn't have to associate with them.

All in all, though, this bill is a bad idea. I was being (mostly) sarcastic about the "Truth in Labeling" law, but I can see this bill leading to orthopedic surgeons and ophthalmologists with signs saying something stupid and irrelevant like "I'm Proud To Refuse to Perform Abortions" as some kind of statement.

Yuck.
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:45 AM on April 23, 2004


the nightmare scenario of a gay man bleeding to death in the emergency room and being refused care is not a possibility.

Please read the story of Tyra Hunter and tell me if you believe in this "emergency" exception.
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:52 AM on April 23, 2004


So much legislating of hatred these days.
posted by agregoli at 8:00 AM on April 23, 2004


Refusing to care for the sick because they lead a life different than yours is exactly the message Jesus spread. Christianity has more to be proud of with each passing day.
posted by archimago at 8:11 AM on April 23, 2004


Humans have strong feelings about abortion, and to get all angry that a clerk agonized over the question for thirty minutes before coming up with his answer is just... it seems weird to me. - kavasa

The morning after pill isn't an abortion. It's a high dose of hormones that would stop sperm from attaching to an egg. So, there's not even a zygote yet...even on the most base of cellular levels, there has been no combination of genetics that might lead to a zygote. Equating the pill with an abortion is hyperbole. And if it seems weird to you, then that's only because you've been lucky enough to not have been affected by rape.

A pharmacist shouldn't have the right to override a doctor on the grounds that "he just feels like it", or because an invisible guy in the sky says so.

And yes, after being raped, 30 minutes is too long to wait for a pharmacist to tell someone that she can't get the treatment her doctor ordered. There is a limited window of time where the morning after pill can be taken and be effective. A pharmacists job is not to pass ethical judgements, their job is to fill prescriptions. If they can't do that job, then they should find another one.

Your 50's argument is a straw man. Let me put it in another context for you. Say someone is diabetic. Insulin is derived from animal products. Diabetics need insulin to live. Should a vegan pharmacist be allowed to refuse that person insulin because animal products offend them? Or how about a Mormon pharmacist, should s/he be allowed to refuse to fill migraine medication because there is caffeine in them? Should Christian Scientists be allowed to become licensed pharmacists and then deny everyone any pharmaceuticals at all?

My point is this...this bill is a slippery slope from which there may be very little recovery. People who don't want to do certain procedures shouldn't be trained in how to do those procedures. But, and this is a big but, doctors who offer Service X should not be allowed to say that they won't perform Service X if the patient is gay, female, black, whatever their personal prejudice is.

That's the crux of argument. This nonsense being thrown about forcing doctors to do abortions is just that, nonsense. What this bill would allow is legal prejudice. Plain and simple. Medical personnel could refuse to give a service that they normally provide simply because they don't like a patients lifestyle, race, religion, etc.
posted by dejah420 at 8:19 AM on April 23, 2004


The "deny service" does not bother me so much as the fact that a doctor can't be disciplined either. If you run your own private practice and want to discriminate against me, that's fine. However, I think that civil-rights supporitng institutions should have the option to fire with cause any doctor who uses "ethical concerns" to discriminate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:57 AM on April 23, 2004


doctors heal the sick. doctors should do what doctors do, or that lucrative license should be rescinded. refuse to treat homos? addicts? *ians? *ists? move out of that beautiful house, hand over that beautiful car, prepare to be divorced by that beautiful wife. suddenly there are a lot of folks on the golf courses wednesday afternoons, looking for a fourth.

coming up next: bankers!
posted by quonsar at 9:19 AM on April 23, 2004


"Someone please tell me how this is not hatred and bigotry."

it *IS* hatred and bigotry, no one is saying that it isn't. The problem is that people should be free to be stupid ignorant bigots if they choose. Regulating the morality of the people isn't a role the gub'ment should take on.....

I think if you're an electrician who hates the chicago bulls, and you walk into a guys house to do some wiring and the walls a plastered, you should be able to walk out (your loss)... the same for if they are gay... chinese... watching American Idol... or if they own a large quantity of books....

In a free society, people should free to discontinue interraction at any point for any reason unless contractually bound. (say... an oath?)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:26 AM on April 23, 2004


archimago - careful there, some people just might miss the joke.

Meanwhile - why on earth does the post title conflate hippos with certain cretinous doctors who eschew their famous oath?

Hippos are nice animals. They splash around and yawn, and host those little birds which eat hippo-bugs.

______________________________________________

"Perhaps there should be a corresponding "Truth In Labeling" act for doctors in that state" - I'm with Stoatfarm on this. Doctors who refuse to treat "certain types" of patients should be required to specify, in public in their advertisements and on their signs, exactly which "certain types" they will not treat.

Their signs, too, should be required have a little picture of the Caduceus which has a big black strike through it and is accompanied by the following statement : "Hippocratic Oath not practiced here".
posted by troutfishing at 9:28 AM on April 23, 2004


It's amazing how some people whose professed actions and beliefs are completely irreligious and profane will have the nerve to quote the Bible and ideals of Christian compassion whenever it suits them. They want a secular state, unless when it seems to threaten their own interests.

111 - great, so you think a doctor should be able to refuse to prescribe pain meds to people with chronic and terminal illnesses because they believe that it's God's will that they are ill and should just buck up and accept their fate, or that they are concerned that they will be sued for hastening someone's death. The first scenario is grotesque; the second, unfortunately, is a major underlying problem that drives much of the debate over euthanasia.

echolalia, you're being disingenuous. This is not about morphine or pain alleviation at all. It's about assisted suicide and abortion. Like most laws, this one is not perfect, but it allows doctors who exercise their free will and to protect themselves under certain circumstances.

Keeping in mind that emergency cases are not affected by the bill, let's consider, for instance, a physician who denies treatment simply because it could hurt his malpractice record or because he's outright homophobic. He's still entitled to do that and exercise his individual free will, much more than, say, a slutty woman who's willing to kill unwanted children or a promiscuous homosexual who contributes little to the State but thinks every taxpayer should bear the burden of AIDS treatment, for instance. The selfish doctor, in these three worst case scenarios, is the one minding his own business without harming the prevailing interests of human life or society.
posted by 111 at 9:49 AM on April 23, 2004


He's still entitled to do that and exercise his individual free will

Absolutely he (or she) is entitled to do so. It's called finding another career. You know, that thing that most of us other easily-outsourcable U.S. workers are supposed to be ready to do?

promiscuous homosexual who contributes little to the State but thinks every taxpayer should bear the burden of AIDS treatment

One can be sexually-active, whether gay, straight, bi, or other, and carefully practice safe sex. Assuming that sexually-active means "promiscuous", assuming such a person must be "homosexual", thinking they will inevitably have AIDS, and assuming they will expect state-paid treatment... wow, where to begin with how wrong that constellation of assumptions is? Just about as wrong as assuming that women who want abortions are "slutty".
posted by Stoatfarm at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2004


But, 111, what if that doctor is the only one around who can help that person? In many rural areas, there is little choice for people - and what about insurance concerns? A lot of people can only go to specific providers for health care.
posted by agregoli at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2004


He's still entitled to do that and exercise his individual free will

Absolutely he (or she) is entitled to do so. It's called finding another career.


Not at all. You are thinking from a totalitarian POV. He is very much entitled to choose and select his patients as he wishes. If he dislikes the very thought of touching colored skin, he's entitled to treat only blue-eyed WASP citizens. That may well be a rumor, but I read somewhere that Eddie Murphy will only employ black assistants in the set. He's free to do that. Doctors, unless it's an emergency, should be free to act likewise. Freedom to discriminate is part of the fabric of society. It's also a natural selection mechanism. Solidarity and charity at gunpoint are impossible.

One can be sexually-active, whether gay, straight, bi, or other, and carefully practice safe sex.

Sure. Just as one can be a monogamous homosexual who works, pay his taxes and helps his community. Those were examples. Worst-case scenarios. But don't tell me they don't exist in real life.

agregoli, read the bill.
posted by 111 at 10:36 AM on April 23, 2004


It's amazing how some people whose professed actions and beliefs are completely irreligious and profane will have the nerve to quote the Bible and ideals of Christian compassion whenever it suits them. They want a secular state, unless when it seems to threaten their own interests.

I claim neither irreligiosity nor secularism in my personal morality, 111, but that's beside the point. What I was doing was meeting the people who came up with this law on their own ground.

Besides, I don't know of any cases of doctors being forced to perform abortions or assisted suicides, and I believe some hospitals wont perform vasectomies or tubal ligations and that's fine. People can follow their conscience on those issues. So that leaves what, that this law is trying to accomplish? Denial of treatment to those who need it, because someone thinks they "deserve" their pain? And that's never conscionable.

You say some people want a secular state until it threatens their own purposes? Well, a lotta people seem to want a theocracy until it threatens their puroses.
posted by jonmc at 10:44 AM on April 23, 2004


ideals of Christian compassion

So is that it, 111? They are ideals, therefore not something you really have to live by, only aspire to and hold over other people's heads while ypu pass legislation that is in complete opposition to the ideal?

I mentioned Jesus because this bill is being pushed by so-called Christians. I've read enough of the bible to know that this would be so unbelievably wrong in Jesus' view.

As soon as you stop using Jesus and the Bible to justify your hate then we will stop expecting you to actually act as Jesus would expect.
posted by archimago at 11:06 AM on April 23, 2004


You are thinking from a totalitarian POV.

Not at all! I'm thinking from the point of view of current U.S. law and professional practice, which are hardly totalitarian. I suspect you are thinking from a point of view that reflects neither what is legal or moral. The examples you bring up only show that someone is "free" to do things that are, and should be, illegal.

Your argument has branched off into rumor, which I doubt very much, by the way, and the highly-unlikely hypothetical doctor who made it through med school while being afraid to touch certain people. The issue being discussed is based on real human beings' need for medical treatment versus certain politicans' attempt to put abortion on the agenda when it has been settled in the courts long ago.

But don't tell me they don't exist in real life

They may or may not exist, and existence does not imply prevalence. I was pointing out that the examples you chose reveal a certain turn of mind that reflects on the case you make.

Freedom to discriminate is part of the fabric of society

Freedom to make personal choices within the bounds of the law is part of the fabric of society. Discrimination is what helps tear a society apart.
posted by Stoatfarm at 11:19 AM on April 23, 2004


Wait, isn't it illegal to hire only black people for example? I'm not getting your argument.
posted by agregoli at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2004


Agregoli, the problem today is just the opposite: minorities have forced their way into legislation and, next thing you, common folk could be forced to hire only gays, mexicans or whatever. I endorse Milton Friedman's POV when it comes to workforce. Hire whoever you feel like and accept the consequences. Doctors, like lawyers, should be likewise allowed to choose their clients.

So is that it, 111? They are ideals, therefore not something you really have to live by, only aspire to and hold over other people's heads while ypu pass legislation that is in complete opposition to the ideal?

archimago, they are ideals inasmuch as only Jesus Christ the Saviour was completely compassionate towards his fellow beings. Compassion is a very difficult choice but it is something Christian individuals should exercise daily without any intervention from the State or minority groups.

The examples you bring up only show that someone is "free" to do things that are, and should be, illegal.

Not really. Do not underestimate the power of silent discrimination. There are a number of ways to get rid of undesirable patients. Now this is a legitimate individual choice even if it's motivated by prejudice. From the POV of the patient, I think he should take into account that he'll be better off with a doctor that feels totally comfortable with him.

Freedom to make personal choices within the bounds of the law is part of the fabric of society. Discrimination is what helps tear a society apart.

Semantics.
posted by 111 at 12:33 PM on April 23, 2004


common folk could be forced to hire only gays, mexicans or whatever
Do you think that gays or Mexicans can also be described as "common folk"? Give me a break. Again, no one is ever forced to hire "only" from some certain group. This discussion is about doctors being given a green light to discriminate. Not every slope is a slippery one.
From the POV of the patient, I think he should take into account that he'll be better off with a doctor that feels totally comfortable with him.

You surely can't expect victims of discrimination to say "thanks".
Semantics.
History.
posted by Stoatfarm at 1:01 PM on April 23, 2004


Do you think that gays or Mexicans can also be described as "common folk"?

Mexicans yes.

This discussion is about doctors being given a green light to discriminate.

Exactly, but not to necessarily discriminate against minorities. The bill empowers doctors as individual with certain limits. Medicine has many daily ethical traps. Doctors, being human, must have the right to act according to their own conscience.

You surely can't expect victims of discrimination to say "thanks".

That depends. Both Jack Wells and Allan Bloom used to send for certain execs/students and say "look, this is not working. You're not suited to this function/you're too dumb to be my student". And you know what? That kind of honesty was mutually beneficial. Racism and homophobia are wrong of course, but to assume that we live in a rainbow world where everybody is alike and integration must be dictated by the State as opposed to happen gradually is very very dangerous.
posted by 111 at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2004


Here's what you should be saying, 111:

"It is clearly wrong for physicians to be forced to perform abortions or euthanasia. That is not happening at the current time, and thus this legislation is unnecessary from the standpoint of trying to protect Christian doctors from being legally required to perform such procedures. I, like many Christians, find homosexuality and many lifestyle choices to be immoral - and I can imagine that Christian doctors would feel some degree of discomfort at providing care for such people. But since Christ calls us all to help the poor, the weak, and the sinner, I can find no Christian justification for a physician withholding such care. As such, I can find justification whatsoever for this law from a Christian point of view. Therefore, I cannot support this legislation."

Not that I agree with every word of that, as I am not Christian and I am a gay man. But from the perspective of Christian belief, your argument seems very much like Christians lobbying the government to allow doctors to behave in an un-Christian manner.
posted by Chanther at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2004


Thanks, Stoatfarm, for responding, you did a much better job pointing out 111's ridiculous comments than I could. Mostly because it just wears me out - not worth the breath arguing.
posted by agregoli at 2:34 PM on April 23, 2004


Chanther, you presume too much and you also tend to see homosexuals only as victims. First of all, let's keep in mind that it's a bill, not a bull. It is secular. Second, charity towards your fellow being is a Christian tenet and must be a daily goal irrespective of who will benefit from it. Third, any homosexual that believes in the concept of charity does not simply resign himself to wait for other people's compassion, he's compassionate himself, i.e., he tries to keep himself out of trouble and has the decency to perceive and respect other people's limits.

Finally, your concept of compassion is not necessarily mine. If I condemn homosexuality and promiscuousness, I believe to be acting out of true compassion (that which gives your fellow beings a chance to be truly happy and free). If doctors have the choice not to practice abortions, or overmedicate indulgent people, for instance, everybody wins.
posted by 111 at 3:26 PM on April 23, 2004


"So, there's not even a zygote yet...even on the most base of cellular levels, there has been no combination of genetics that might lead to a zygote. Equating the pill with an abortion is hyperbole. And if it seems weird to you, then that's only because you've been lucky enough to not have been affected by rape."

I didn't know that and I'm damn near a college graduate. My point still stands - you're asking someone to react instantly to a complex, contentious ethical dillemma that they are all, in all likelihood, poorly informed about. Furthermore, you feel that, for a certain list of jobs which the government has the power to decide, you must align to a specific ethical and philosophical framework.

This seems ok to you because you imagine that this framework will align perfectly to yours and you (of course) think that you're right. The point I'm trying to make here is that there's no objective standard the government can refer to, there's no popular consensus, there's nothing but you granting power over acceptable thought to government. That's the principle I'm operating on here. The wages of private prejudice are much worse than government-mandated right-thinking. I'm not operating on a slippery slope argument wither - these are the powers you really are giving to government. What comes of your handing over those powers isn't necessarily going to happen, but I'd prefer they don't have them in the first place. Besides, slippery slope arguments are very weak sorts of arguments, so much so that all my logic (and my psych!) texts characterize them as fallacies. Just sayin'.

The above inevitable comparison to Nazi Germany was as far off the mark as it is possible to be. Hitler extensively regulated what people could and could not think, as did Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot and others. The word freedom should not be put into sarcastiquotes here, because this fits the literal definition of the word. This allows people greater choices in their actions, and if you're putting that concept of freedom in quotes, you have gone down a dark and terrible road.

American society should be a society empty of the concept of thoughtcrime, no matter what profession the possible thoughtcriminals are taking up. I would submit that a better solution to the morning-after-refusal problem (or the vegan-insulin-refusal problem) is to have guaranteed sources of these materials, but that this guarantee should NOT be industry wide. If someone wants to start a registered vegan pharmacy, they should be able to, and they should be able to refuse to stock or sell insulin. If someone wants to start a fundie christian scientist pharmacy and just put a sign that says "bible pharmacy, no medicine, only bibles" above their door, then they should be able too.

The Tyra banks example doesn't stand, since they would be just as liable for criminal or civil penalties under the proposed regulation. It was terrible, but those people were breaking the law when they did (or didn't do) what they did, all this regulation would do is change the wording of the law they were breaking. Stated differently, regulation like this and instances like that are unrelated; they are irrelevant to each other. I think the better answer to that is better education.
posted by kavasa at 4:14 PM on April 23, 2004


Oh, forgot to mention something I wanted to, oops.

"That's the crux of argument. This nonsense being thrown about forcing doctors to do abortions is just that, nonsense. What this bill would allow is legal prejudice. Plain and simple. Medical personnel could refuse to give a service that they normally provide simply because they don't like a patients lifestyle, race, religion, etc."

Exxxxxactly, yes. Prejudice, in the sense of "Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion" should be legal in my opinion. Otherwise, the government need merely define a given belief as prejudice and presto! it's illegal.

Final thought: doctors are, after all, highly educated people. The percentage of bigotry amongst the highly educated people is minimal relative to the general population.
posted by kavasa at 4:18 PM on April 23, 2004


The percentage of bigotry amongst the highly educated people is minimal relative to the general population.

I dunno about that. Half the time all more educated people do is use their "knowledge" to better rationalize the prejudices they already have. Sound like educational snobbery to me.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on April 23, 2004


The percentage of bigotry amongst the highly educated people is minimal relative to the general population.

Heh, you've obviously never been a Republican in a graduate Humanities department. Or spoken with a Southern accent while at a New England university. Bigotry is alive and well among the highly educated. It's just a different kind of bigotry.
posted by gd779 at 5:29 PM on April 23, 2004


111: You seem to be saying that compassion for a gay man must include being thoughtful and understanding when someone refuses medical treatment for me based on my sexual orientation. You seem to also be saying that compassion for a Christian may include refusing medical treatment out of a belief that refusing such treatment will make the patient stronger - morally, if not medically.

As such, I am concluding that you are correct: Our definitions of compassion are worlds apart.

And for what it's worth, I do not see myself as a victim, thank you. I have been wronged in the past, but that does not define me as a person. I do, however, have a willingness to stand up when the rights of people are violated - not just gay people but all people. Even Christians. And that's why I oppose this bill.
posted by Chanther at 8:57 PM on April 23, 2004


So, how long does this bill last? Until a doctor refuses to treat a priest because providing health services to a pedophile is immoral?
posted by Ptrin at 11:37 PM on April 23, 2004


Isn't it Jesus who refused to heal the leper, on the grounds that lepers are icky and could be contagious? If I recall the passage correctly, his exact words were "Heal all but the lepers and the faggots, for they are an abomination upon this earth, yea, and they are not worthy of good health."

I'm pretty sure that's the story. Jesus was all about exclusivity.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:07 AM on April 24, 2004


111: echolalia, you're being disingenuous. This is not about morphine or pain alleviation at all. It's about assisted suicide and abortion.

Yeah, tell that to the guy I knew who was deliberately run over and lost a couple of inches of bone from the bigger bone of his calf and the smaller one almost entirely. He had one of those bone stretching cage devices on his leg in an attempt to lengthen the bone in his leg enough to fuse the two broken halves together. He had constant infections and excruciating pain, bad enough that he couldn't sleep at night. They would not provide him with medication strong enough to aleviate the pain. He contemplated suicide at one point and eventually started using Heroin to aleviate the pain.

He was lucky enough to eventually find a doctor who provided him with effective pain medication on the condition that he submit to random drug tests to prove that he was no longer using Heroin. How would you like to be forced to seek out illegal drugs because your doctors cared more about CYA than providing adequate care? You'd be suprised how often it happens.
posted by echolalia67 at 10:49 PM on April 27, 2004


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