HHS baits, switches
August 23, 2008 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Not just for religious pharmacists anymore: the Department of Health and Human Services proposes a rule that protects anyone who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds.

Missing from this final draft is (previously discussed) language that defined birth control devices as abortions - which could leave doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, and other healthcare workers free to define abortion however they want.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt says their consciences are protected under the First Amendment.
posted by casarkos (207 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Handmaid's Tale Could Become Fact Instead of Fiction
posted by homunculus at 12:32 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's the thing about becoming a doctor:

You leave your fucking woo-woo bullshit at the door. Your job is to heal people, period. Science is your only guide. Taxi drivers don't get (and yes, I know that taxi drivers are selective, so let's not derail there) to refuse passengers based on political leanings.

You are a medical professional? You provide medical services. If you don't want to provide them, find another fucking job.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:39 AM on August 24, 2008 [63 favorites]


Bring it on. I honestly hope that in these waning days of that slack-jawed thug's reign of error, they keep hacking at the foundations of our civil society. Let them run rampant in the corridors of power. Let them shove through as much medieval death cult shit as they can, while they can. People should really feel horror at the creeping darkness that drives them instead of a vague unease.

It'll make the coming restoration sweeter still. And it'll shore up the progressive agenda for a generation.
posted by felix betachat at 12:54 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
posted by Poolio at 1:04 AM on August 24, 2008


So what if it's against my religion to serve black people in my restaurant, or rent housing to them?
posted by 2sheets at 1:24 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're a medical professional who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds the only thing that should happen is your ass should be immediately shitcanned.
posted by puke & cry at 1:40 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


So what if it's against my religion to serve black people in my restaurant, or rent housing to them?

BINGO. BIN-fucking-GO.

When you become a {{nurse|doctor|physiotherapist|dentist|whatever}}, you are explicitly giving up the right to withhold treatment. Your job is to provide medical services to other human beings, period. There is no negotiation, there is no wiggle room. Your job, and you know it before you go in, is to heal. And sometimes 'healing' means 'assisting with things that go against your dead book bossyness morals'. Too fucking bad. Do your fucking job, you craven dipshits. Don't want to do your job? GET ANOTHER ONE.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:50 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I swear by Apollo the healer, by Aesculapius, by Health and all the powers of healing, and call to witness all the gods and goddesses that I may keep this Oath and Promise to the best of my ability and judgement.
posted by twl at 1:59 AM on August 24, 2008


Yeah, this can only end badly.

Are you also going to allow a pharmacist to deny a customer the AIDS cocktail because, clearly they were homosexuals who are being punished by God and deserve what they get, in accordance with the prophecy, and treating them would only be tolerating, nay, encouraging such vile behavior?

Where is the line drawn? And why are we even considering allowing pharmacists to EVER have to consider questions of their morality and how they should enforce that on those they serve?

Christfuckingly stupid, this.
posted by disillusioned at 2:04 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]



Christfuckingly stupid, this.


Christfuckingstupid needs to be a word.
posted by sourwookie at 2:16 AM on August 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


And why are we even considering allowing pharmacists to EVER have to consider questions of their morality and how they should enforce that on those they serve?

Because in the USA the concept of 'separation of church and state' is lipservice only. Note how politicians pander to the religious (and I say this as a religious person!) elements of the populace.

Poverty + poor education -> religious fervour -> control education -> religion supplants reality -> spreads -> US politics.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:17 AM on August 24, 2008


BTW "Craven Dipshit" needs to be an educational title. EG: are you Jewish, Atheist, or Craven Dipshit?"
posted by sourwookie at 2:21 AM on August 24, 2008


I'm gonna get a job as a chef in a restaurant, and when they tell me to make a steak, I'll tell them I can't- I'm a Buddhist and therefore a vegetarian and I feel that cooking steaks is wrong.

The Bush administration has my back right?

(I am neither Buddhist nor vegetarian.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:30 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Awesome--I'm going to become a doctor now. Then I'll tell all my patients that medicine is an affront to God's plan, and that they should pray their ailments away. If I'm lucky the hospital will pay me extra just to stay home!
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:41 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I having real trouble seeing the problem with this.

According to the proposed rule, the law has protected medical personnel who don't want to perform a "sterilization procedure or an abortion" and, I might add, also protect those who _do_ perform a "sterilization procedure or an abortion" since the 70s apparently.
It also seems to protect any individual from being required to perform " any part of a health service program or research activity ... contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions". Which would seem to suggest you can't be fired for refusing to experiment on monkeys, for example.

All this rule seems to do is require yet another piece of paperwork that says, in effect, "we the undersigned agree that we'll follow the law as laid out in these paragraphs".
posted by madajb at 2:45 AM on August 24, 2008


Oh, you're poor? What's your religion again? Sorry, I don't treat those.
posted by telstar at 2:48 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


It also seems to protect any individual from being required to perform " any part of a health service program or research activity ... contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions". Which would seem to suggest you can't be fired for refusing to experiment on monkeys, for example.

Except that's not actually what's happening. I am honestly curious: do you not actually understand, or are talking points getting in your way?

If the former: when it comes to providing medical services to actual real live human beings, medical professionals do not and should not have any choice that is not informed by reliable and proper science. Choosing not to participate in pure research is something completely other.

If the latter: there, there. Bushie will make it all better and you get to see God about an hour after he nukes Iran, huzzah!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:50 AM on August 24, 2008


What if treating or dispensing medication to ignorant bigots is against my religion?
posted by louche mustachio at 2:52 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Then--and yes, I understand it's a joke--too bad. That's how healthcare works in civilized countries; a body needs help and it is provided.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:05 AM on August 24, 2008


If the former: when it comes to providing medical services to actual real live human beings, medical professionals do not and should not have any choice that is not informed by reliable and proper science.

Except that, according to established law[1], they do have a choice.
If you don't like it, that's fine, get the law changed, but I'm not sure I see the use in getting all up in arms about HHS reminding institutions(albeit in a heavy-handed way) that the law exists.

[1] Or at least according to the laws referenced in the proposed rule. I don't pretend to be a lawyer.
posted by madajb at 3:05 AM on August 24, 2008


Here's the thing about becoming a doctor:

You leave your fucking woo-woo bullshit at the door.


Wake up. There is no fucking door.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:36 AM on August 24, 2008


When you become a {{nurse|doctor|physiotherapist|dentist|whatever}}, you are explicitly giving up the right to withhold treatment. Your job is to provide medical services to other human beings, period. There is no negotiation, there is no wiggle room. Your job, and you know it before you go in, is to heal.

So a doctor shouldn't withhold treatment to hasten death in a terminal case? Terri's Law?

Or maybe you're going to tell me there's some wiggle room after all?
posted by Leon at 3:45 AM on August 24, 2008


twl wrote: I swear by Apollo the healer, by Aesculapius, by Health and all the powers of healing, and call to witness all the gods and goddesses that I may keep this Oath and Promise to the best of my ability and judgement.

I don't know what point you're trying to make, but physicians taking that oath go on to swear, "Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion. I will be chaste and religious in my life and in my practice."

I believe the unfortunately-named, but thoroughly reasonable Oath of Lasagna is more popular in the US nowadays?

Whatever, it seems pretty clear that physicians who deliberately cause harm to patients by withholding treatment should be struck off immediately. It's interesting that things seem to be moving in the opposite direction in the UK, despite the rise in crackpot Christian and Muslim pressure groups. A small number of Muslim medical students here have tried to pull this kind of selective bullshit - refusing to attend lectures on alcohol abuse, refusing to examine patients of the opposite sex - and were failed as a result. Doctors can still refuse to have anything to do with abortion, but the British Medical Association are pushing to make them immediately refer women seeking abortion to appropriate clinics, rather than forcing their beliefs on patients.
posted by jack_mo at 3:55 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


The timing of this seems curious. The anti-abortion people need a little feeding right before election or they won't bother to go to the polls.
posted by Bitter soylent at 3:58 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


It also seems to protect any individual from being required to perform " any part of a health service program or research activity ... contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions". Which would seem to suggest you can't be fired for refusing to experiment on monkeys, for example.

I'm going to start the first round of my EMT training in the next few days.

My religious beliefs prohibit me from starting an IV ("Verily, no skin shall be pricked") and performing CPR ("Yea, pound ye not on thy neighbors chest").

Under these laws, I can basically refuse to do my job and sue my employer if they try to discipline me, because apparently I have the "right" to be employed at a business which contradicts my most deeply held beliefs.

Its funny that Republicans are largely behind these laws, because I'm pretty sure that one of the major tenents of Capitalism is that nobody really has the "right" to be employed wherever they want, or in whatever field they desire.
posted by Avenger at 4:47 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


jack_mo writes "A small number of Muslim medical students here have tried to pull this kind of selective bullshit - refusing to attend lectures on alcohol abuse, refusing to examine patients of the opposite sex - and were failed as a result. "

This will be the downfall of the whole thing. If we're going to allow people in health care to enforce their religion on the job, it has to apply to all religions.
posted by mullingitover at 4:50 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish I could refuse to sell people their type 2 beetus pills and cholesterol pills and GERD pills when they wheel up to the pharmacy window with a shopping cart full of pizza rolls, ice cream, Swanson dinners, and Coke.
posted by pieoverdone at 5:10 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


woohoo! christian scientist doctors able to stay employed without treating patients FTW.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:12 AM on August 24, 2008


So a doctor shouldn't withhold treatment to hasten death in a terminal case? Terri's Law?

Or maybe you're going to tell me there's some wiggle room after all?


Sometimes medical help means mercy, not prolonging life.

But, you know, nice snark! Really, I give you a 9.2.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:24 AM on August 24, 2008


Heh, this may be the "gay marriage" issue of 2004 in reverse. News of shenanigans like this gets out, and decent, thoughtful, rational - and angry - voters will be out in droves this November.

The thing that strikes me, is that these right-wingers show their hands at how totally completely clueless they are, thinking this kind of stuff is gonna fly. Why don't they just try to pass a Constitutional Amendment making evangelical Christianity the National Religion? You know they want to.
posted by Xoebe at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2008


Planned Parenthood is asking for emergency contributions right now to fight this. They also have a place on their website where you can submit comments to the government.

Their form letter reads:
I am writing to oppose the so-called "conscience" rule recently submitted by Secretary Leavitt. This regulation poses a serious threat to women's health care by limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate health information and services.

At a time when more and more families are uninsured and under economic assault, we find our health care system is in crisis and our president taking steps to deny access to basic care. Women's ability to manage their own health care is at risk of being compromised by politics and ideology.
This rule would basically mean that Planned Parenthood would not be able to fire their workers for refusing to do their jobs.
posted by heatherann at 7:13 AM on August 24, 2008


woohoo! christian scientist doctors able to stay employed without treating patients FTW

Excellent idea!

1- Convert to Christian Science.
2- Get cheap medical degree.
3- Prescribe prayer to all patients.
4- Bill the insurance companies.
5- Profit!
posted by gjc at 8:02 AM on August 24, 2008


Well, on the upside, maybe Cheney will find it a little tougher to get any attention for his next heart attack. Prolonging his life would certainly contravene my moral code.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:03 AM on August 24, 2008


Your favorite health care system sucks.
posted by furtive at 8:16 AM on August 24, 2008


The upcoming Jehovah's Witness Blood Drive will surely prove to be a Great Disappointment.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:43 AM on August 24, 2008


But, you know, nice snark! Really, I give you a 9.2.

I just have this funny knee-jerk reaction against moral absolutism. I don't have all the answers, I certainly don't think anyone else does, so I think we need some give and take in the system to deal with corner cases as they arise.

To take an example from this thread, lets say there was a committed, Islamic female medical student, who wanted to study in Europe and then go to Afghanistan to treat female patients. Would you deny her an education because she doesn't want to examine men? If you do, a lot of women are going to lose out.

For every rule, there's an exception. Even "when you become a [doctor], you are explicitly giving up the right to withhold treatment." (In some countries, I believe a doctor can withhold treatment merely because the patient can't pay?)
posted by Leon at 8:45 AM on August 24, 2008


"Let me say to all the activist pharmacists out there, the ones who think sex is bad, probably because sex with them always is: A pharmacist is not a lawmaker, or even a doctor - in the medical pecking order, you rank somewhere in between a chiropractor and a tree surgeon. You don't answer to a law higher than the laws of men. You work for Save-On. The doctors are the ones who make the medical decisions because they're the ones who went to mdical school, whereas you were just transfered from the counter where people drop off film." - Bill Maher
posted by porn in the woods at 9:05 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


What if treating or dispensing medication to ignorant bigots is against my religion?

Well, like before Rush Limbaugh will get his maid to buy his painkillers for him.
posted by ericb at 9:15 AM on August 24, 2008


Awesome--I'm going to become a doctor now. Then I'll tell all my patients that medicine is an affront to God's plan, and that they should pray their ailments away. If I'm lucky the hospital will pay me extra just to stay home!
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:41 AM on August 24


I favorited this because something in the wording of it gave me strong childhood feelings of MAD Magazine.
posted by interrobang at 9:41 AM on August 24, 2008


Ms. Atwood has a nervous giggle.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2008


1. You don't have to be religious to have qualms about ending an unborn human life.

2. You don't have to believe that life begins at conception in order to realize that a fetus would become a human being if you don't kill it. (unless miscarriage)

It is not unreasonable or anti-scientific for a doctor to not want to perform this ELECTIVE surgery. The law agrees.
posted by jsonic at 10:13 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


You don't have to believe that life begins at conception in order to realize that a fetus would become a human being if you don't kill it.

Uh, I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's kind of one of the main reasons folks get abortions in the first place.

(I'll let someone else argue whether "would become a human" and "kill it" are compatible phrases.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2008


Your job is to heal people, period. Science is your only guide.

Ever heard of the Tuskegee Experiment? It made A LOT of sense from a scientific perspective. Your claim that ethics and morality have no place in medicine amazingly uninformed.
posted by jsonic at 10:32 AM on August 24, 2008


Uh, jeez, jsonic, no one here is suggesting that ethics shouldn't be part of medicine.

Quite the opposite, in fact.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on August 24, 2008


no one here is suggesting that ethics shouldn't be part of medicine.

The person I quoted was. This entire thread is about lamenting the fact that doctors are allowed to use ethics in deciding what elective surgeries they want to perform.
posted by jsonic at 10:47 AM on August 24, 2008


Well, it will be interesting to see what happens, given that the California Supreme Court recently decided that doctors can't deny treatment based on a patient's sexual orientation just because of their (the doctors') religious beliefs.
posted by rtha at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: It is not unreasonable or anti-scientific for a doctor to not want to perform this ELECTIVE surgery. The law agrees.

Look, do you really want doctors imposing their morality on patients? It might sound good when it's pro-life and you're pro-life, but everyone has different standards. For example, my ecological beliefs cause me to consider fertility drugs immoral. Do you really want to have to deal with this when you're dealing with health care professionals?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:22 AM on August 24, 2008


The person I quoted was. This entire thread is about lamenting the fact that doctors are allowed to use ethics in deciding what elective surgeries they want to perform.

Uh, no, actually. But thanks for playing. The rightwinger room is down the hall.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:24 AM on August 24, 2008


This will be the downfall of the whole thing. If we're going to allow people in health care to enforce their religion on the job, it has to apply to all religions.
posted by mullingitover at 7:50 AM on August 24 [+] [!]


Exactly right. I laugh when I hear the argument for "faith-based" organizations getting government funding. Just wait til its the Muslims asking for money for, say, lunch programs. Then all of sudden, we'll have to get the government out of funding charity, won't we?

I ran across a poll recently that said evangelicals are starting to say that churches shouldn't be so involved in politics. If you read down into the poll far enough, you could see that their issue was that some of them thought too many other kinds of people were getting involved, not that the first group should stop.
posted by etaoin at 11:32 AM on August 24, 2008


I was under the impression that everyone did something at work that they were morally or ethically against. I've worked on accounts for horrible misogynists ("Hi there sweetie, is your daddy there? Can I talk to a MAN please?") and a defense contractor and I sure as hell was not happy about either of those. And I'm not going to even get into working retail.

I clearly have to get into some medical-related field so I can refuse to do my job and still get paid more than $30K a year for it.
posted by giraffe at 11:35 AM on August 24, 2008


What about insurance companies? Can they deny payments for treatments that are against their religion? Because if so, I'm pretty sure most of them will soon enough be in the "prayer is the only effective medicine" camp quick-smart.
posted by nowonmai at 11:37 AM on August 24, 2008


c'mon, dnab -- are you trying to promote making mefi into an echo chamber just like LGF is? The "go tell it to FR/LGF" gambit is about as mature as taking away somebody's ball and telling them to go home.
posted by brain cloud at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


The issue is that right now, medicine is the only field in America in which you can refuse to do your job due to personal morals (not ethics!) and get away with it. You can't turn away a wheezing, morbidly obese person at a McDonald's drive-thru, but you can tell someone that you won't fill their prescription because you believe that it would be a sin.

In any other line of work, you're given two options: Do your job, or quit so that they can find someone else who will do it. If you want to be a pharmacist, you need to understand that you should fill ALL prescriptions, including those that you find sinful. If you're a doctor, don't put yourself into situations in which people would believe you perform abortions if you do not. If it makes you uncomfortable, pass the buck, but it's not your place to make it harder for your patients to get safe treatment.

What's going on right now is the medical equivalent of a fundamentalist working in a movie theatre box office, refusing to sell tickets to R-rated movies, and getting federal legislation that prevents her from being fired or removed. It's simply wrong that someone can refuse to do their job and be protected from being fired.
posted by explosion at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]



The issue is that right now, medicine is the only field in America in which you can refuse to do your job due to personal morals (not ethics!) and get away with it.


wait a minute - who gets to define what "your job" is?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:32 PM on August 24, 2008


Look, do you really want doctors imposing their morality on patients?

These doctors are not imposing their morality. Patients are free to go to any number of doctors who do choose to perform the procedure. These doctors simply want the right to not perform a procedure that they think will kill a human life. The law already gives them this right, and has done so for many years.

The only people imposing morality here are those who seek to force these doctors to perform this ELECTIVE procedure.
posted by jsonic at 1:23 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Patients are free to go to any number of doctors who do choose to perform the procedure.

Rural patients?

Patients who are forced by insane HMO rules to only go to a certain doctor?

Patients without insurance?

Yeah, no. Frame this as a 'choice' issue as much as you like, but the job of a doctor is to provide medical assistance. If you don't wish to do so, get another job.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:38 PM on August 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


jsonic: The only people imposing morality here are those who seek to force these doctors to perform this ELECTIVE procedure.

Look, no one's trying to force doctors to do anything. If you want a medical job where you don't have to dispense abortificants, that's up to you. However, you should not be able to accept a position where it is your responsibility to do so, and then refuse to do it.

Why is that such a big deal? I'm sure there are plenty of health care employers who will be willing to work around this sort of thing. Any kind of religiously-based hospital, for example.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:42 PM on August 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Frame this as a 'choice' issue as much as you like, but the job of a doctor is to provide medical assistance.

Doctors are free to choose whatever type of medicine they want to practice. No matter how angry it makes you, a brain surgeon is not required to perform an abortion just because someone wants one.

If you feel so strongly about the issue, then why don't you go through medical school, internship, and residency? Oh, that's right, you just want to force everyone to conform to your version of morality, even when that morality includes the killing of unborn life.
posted by jsonic at 1:48 PM on August 24, 2008


Doctors are free to choose whatever type of medicine they want to practice. No matter how angry it makes you, a brain surgeon is not required to perform an abortion just because someone wants one.

Oh goody, strawmen.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:56 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only people imposing morality here are those who seek to force these doctors to perform this ELECTIVE procedure.

That might be true if this rule was only applicable to abortions. But it seems to be written in such a way to encompass any type of medical procedure that the doctor/pharmacist finds morally objectionable. That's what's scary.
posted by aclevername at 1:58 PM on August 24, 2008


The brain surgeon is just an example. Feel free to choose any other type of doctor. Or are you really trying to claim there are a bunch of abortion doctors out there who are refusing to perform abortions? I'm sorry you're angry that you can't force other people to do your killing for you.
posted by jsonic at 2:00 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: The brain surgeon is just an example. Feel free to choose any other type of doctor. Or are you really trying to claim there are a bunch of abortion doctors out there who are refusing to perform abortions? I'm sorry you're angry that you can't force other people to do your killing for you.

There aren't now, but there may be if this passes. Pro-life people might deliberately seek out these positions and hold them down to prevent it being taken by someone willing to actually do the job.

Anyways, where this will really hit most people is with pharmacists. Since it's only a small part of their work responsibilities, they generally don't choose jobs depending on whether they're supposed to hand out RU-486 or day-after pills. If this passes, you might have entire areas where this becomes unavailable, which is a real problem since they have to be taken in a certain time frame. You might even have areas in which birth control pills become difficult to get.

Furthermore, it could get even nastier if this escapes the abortion arena. How would you like to get in a car accident and be taken unconscious to the hospital, only to be denied a life-saving blood transfusion by a Christian Scientist doctor?
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:11 PM on August 24, 2008


It's strange, but one person acting like a dick in a thread is enough to make me think long and hard about the validity of my long-held liberal ideals.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:22 PM on August 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


ten pounds of inedita: It's strange, but one person acting like a dick in a thread is enough to make me think long and hard about the validity of my long-held liberal ideals.

I lol'd.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:25 PM on August 24, 2008


If you feel so strongly about the issue, then why don't you go through medical school, internship, and residency? Oh, that's right, you just want to force everyone to conform to your version of morality, even when that morality includes the killing of unborn life.

Again, jsonic, you are conflating morality and ethics.

[...] seek to force these doctors to perform this ELECTIVE procedure.


Elective means the patient gets to choose. The doctor does the doctor's job, whatever that may be. I don't think a lot of pro-lifers choose to pursue careers as abortionists in the first place, if that's what you're worried about. Anyone who morally objects to their own job should be doing something else.

the Department of Health and Human Services proposes a rule [.pdf] that protects anyone who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds.

Let's put aside, for a moment, the ridiculous idea of a specialist refusing to perform his/her specialty altogether, and look instead to the more likely possibility of doctors refusing patients based on "moral or religious grounds." To whose morals and religion does this refer, the doctor's or the patient's? If the doctor's religion forbids saving the life of a non-believer, what then? And what of these "moral grounds"? Surely morals vary from one individual to the next, as one defines one's own morals. Morality means nothing; even Hitler had morals.

This would give doctors carte blanche to refuse anyone for any reason.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on August 24, 2008


If this passes, you might have entire areas where this becomes unavailable

This same hypothetical unavailability could occur if pharmacists are forced to dispense abortion pills. They could all just go on strike instead of going against their morals.

However, both our hypotheticals seem a little extreme. A mix of pharms who do, and those who don't, seems more likely. Someone refusing to dispense something just creates a great market opportunity for someone who doesn't.
posted by jsonic at 2:35 PM on August 24, 2008


When you become a {{nurse|doctor|physiotherapist|dentist|whatever}}, you are explicitly giving up the right to withhold treatment. Your job is to provide medical services to other human beings, period. There is no negotiation, there is no wiggle room.

Do they actually explicitly give up the right to withhold treatments they find morally objectionable, or are you making this up?

Also, what is the point about it being their job? I have a job too, but if a client were to come to me and ask me to help them do something I found morally objectionable, I could say no, even though my job is to do the general sort of thing they asked me to do. I don't think you're going to get very far with the "it's your job" argument.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:40 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: This same hypothetical unavailability could occur if pharmacists are forced to dispense abortion pills. They could all just go on strike instead of going against their morals.

Sure, and then you could hire other pharmacists who would fulfill their job requirements.

However, both our hypotheticals seem a little extreme. A mix of pharms who do, and those who don't, seems more likely. Someone refusing to dispense something just creates a great market opportunity for someone who doesn't.

Don't you get it? If this law passes, you couldn't found a pharmacy that would provide these things because the law would prevent you from discriminating on the basis of whether your pharmacist would dispense these things or not. You might end up with the wrong type of pharmacist and there'd be nothing you could do about it.

Also, this is very likely to happen in small rural communities. Down there, there might only be a couple of pharmacies within a hundred miles, and in the bible belt, you could easily end up with all of the pharmacists you have access to refusing to offer these things. Poor people can't necessarily afford to travel hundreds of miles, either for want of money or time away from work. This especially applies to the day-after pill.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2008


In any other line of work, you're given two options: Do your job, or quit so that they can find someone else who will do it.

That's blatantly false. Anyone who owns their own business or has a similar degree of autonomy, which many professionals do (doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.), can choose to turn down patients/clients/etc. Your business might suffer, and your partners might eventually get fed up with you, but you're not forced into the stark choice of doing whatever you're asked or quitting.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2008


There already are pharmacists who refuse to dispense the morning after pill, as some states had laws in place allowing it. Not a big deal in an urban or suburban area where the next pharmacy is a block away, but if you're carless in an area with just one pharmacy option you could be in some serious trouble.
This also allows it to spread to birth control due to the vague wordings. If my pharmacy suddenly stopped dispensing my BC since the pharmacist is a catholic who thinks it is morally wrong I'd have some issues since there aren't many places who take my insurance.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:45 PM on August 24, 2008


"Freedom of conscience is not to be surrendered upon issuance of a medical degree,"

That's from the article. Yea sure that's fine but the issuance of a degree also shouldn't come with any type of moral authority. Just because someone is a doctor doesn't make them any better or wiser of a human being, shit most doctors I know are arrogant dickheads who happen to never be wrong about anything, ever.

But also I don't find it that bad if a doctor refuses abortion. I personally don't like abortion but that doesn't mean I want to make it illegal, it's a gray issue that should never become black and white. Too many things today are black-white, my way or your way, which side are you on, etc. These issues suck ass and aren't as simple as that, there can be a moral exception in nearly everything. This also applies to this thread, which is getting out of control btw.
posted by BrnP84 at 2:50 PM on August 24, 2008


Sure, and then you could hire other pharmacists who would fulfill their job requirements.

You originally posited a large area where all the pharms were against dispensing. If there are people there willing to dispense, then your original problem was a non-issue.
posted by jsonic at 3:00 PM on August 24, 2008


in the bible belt, you could easily end up with all of the pharmacists you have access to refusing to offer these things.

And nothing is stopping you or anybody else from setting up a pharmacy in these areas to provide these things. No need to force others to follow your worldview.
posted by jsonic at 3:03 PM on August 24, 2008


Even if you don't want to do elective abortions, odds are there will come a time for any obgyn when it's your patient's life or the embryo, or where something is so horrifically wrong that continuing to gestate would be an exercise in pain and futility (a med-intern friend just assisted in an abortion where the vital organs developed on the outside of the body, for instance) . What do these doctors do then? Tell the patient "oh well?"
posted by Kellydamnit at 3:04 PM on August 24, 2008


This is what happens when you give pharmacists 'moral' veto power over legally given and held prescriptions.

So is this.

And this. And there's hundreds of other examples, such as pharmacists literally stealing legal prescriptions because they don't agree with them, or telling rape victims that, yes, they should be required to bear a rapist's child.

Laws like this give pharmacists and health workers - who are licensed by the state, and so speak in some small part for the state - the power, to greater or lesser extent, to control peoples' lives and force their own morality on others. I'm wondering where that power is noted in their job description.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:08 PM on August 24, 2008


That's blatantly false. Anyone who owns their own business or has a similar degree of autonomy, which many professionals do (doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.), can choose to turn down patients/clients/etc. Your business might suffer, and your partners might eventually get fed up with you, but you're not forced into the stark choice of doing whatever you're asked or quitting.

Are you purposely ignoring the fact that the thread is about people who are employed? This seems to be a seriously flawed way of making an argument, but, then, I'm in the reality-based community and we probably do things differently over here.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:08 PM on August 24, 2008


as far as pharmacists are concerned, it seems to me that they're not in the business of making medical decisions and don't have the freedom of action that other medical professionals do, so i don't think that requiring them to dispense what a doctor has prescribed is a big deal

however, requiring a doctor to do an operation that he does not wish to do is more of an imposition - for one thing, why would anyone want to force a person who does not want to perform an invasive medical procedure to do so? - seems to me that i'd rather have a willing person performing that surgery than an unwilling one

and to all the people who say "it's your job" - well who gets to define that? - the employer? - but employers have limits placed on them all the time by the government as to what they can and cannot require their employees to do - no employer can make an employee submit to sexual harassment, or work for less than minimum wage or go to y church instead of x church, all because of government regulation, so why shouldn't the government be able to regulate this, too?

it seems to me that it's not enough for you to have the rights you want, you have to make your political opponents grovel and be forced to act against their convictions - and then you wonder why they protest so much and fight so hard against you

it's funny, but time and time again, i've seen people on this board express displeasure when employers start seeing their employees as things to be ordered around and placed where they will, instead of real human beings - yet, here some of you are, doing the same thing when it suits your purposes

doctors and their surgical services - just another capitalist commodity to be dicked around with and to hell with what they feel or what they believe
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


And nothing is stopping you or anybody else from setting up a pharmacy in these areas to provide these things. No need to force others to follow your worldview.

Wait a sec. What about abortion clinic protesters?
posted by Leon at 3:13 PM on August 24, 2008


What about abortion clinic protesters?

What about them? They can't stop you from opening a pharmacy to dispense abortion pills, and their protesting can't force you to follow their worldview.
posted by jsonic at 3:22 PM on August 24, 2008


And nothing is stopping you or anybody else from setting up a pharmacy in these areas to provide these things.

Of course, it's illegal to ask a potential hire about their religious beliefs (and therefore whether the beliefs would prevent them from selling birth control), so you could end up hiring someone who would refuse to do so. And it's illegal to fire someone for their religious beliefs. So then what?

In the California case above, a fertility clinic refused to provide services to a lesbian because, they said, it's against their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs may also extend to refusing to provide services to unmarried women...but marital status is a protected class (it is in housing and hiring, at least - not certain about medical services). What if their religious beliefs extend to refusing to provide services to multiracial couples?

In deciding to become a pharmacist, it must surely become clear to you during your training that you're going to have to dole out meds to people you don't think should be getting them, for whatever reason. Guy goes in to get Viagra? What if you know he's not married, and you don't think he should be fornicating?

A policy decision like this starts down a very dangerous slope. Who decides which religious beliefs are acceptable grounds for refusing treatment or services?
posted by rtha at 3:23 PM on August 24, 2008


Who decides which religious beliefs are acceptable grounds for refusing treatment or services?

Why, the majority, of course. In some matters the majority seems to feel quite free to step all over minority rights.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:26 PM on August 24, 2008


What about them? They can't stop you from opening a pharmacy to dispense abortion pills, and their protesting can't force you to follow their worldview.

You really don't see what will happen if you try to open the only pharmacy within 100 miles that dispenses RU486?
posted by Leon at 3:27 PM on August 24, 2008


so you could end up hiring someone who would refuse to do so. And it's illegal to fire someone for their religious beliefs. So then what?

Ah yes, those pesky stealth pharmacists. We should certainly be deciding social policy based on their hypothetical existence.
posted by jsonic at 3:28 PM on August 24, 2008


doctors and their surgical services - just another capitalist commodity basic human right to be dicked around with and to hell with what they feel or what they believe

ftfy
posted by Sys Rq at 3:28 PM on August 24, 2008


ftfy

One would think the right to life should be one of those basic human rights. But I guess that's just too inconvenient for some.
posted by jsonic at 3:35 PM on August 24, 2008


We all know this is about punishing sluts. People actually concerned with life would be totally involved in trying to save the lives of the already living if that was their chief concern. With the amount of misery in the world today due to disease and poverty and the attendant death rates, they would be drained of energy if they addressed that with a vigor commensurate to the vigor they devote to punishing sluts. So, punishing sluts it is.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:35 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


We all know this is about punishing sluts. People actually concerned with life would be totally involved in trying to save the lives of the already living if that was their chief concern.

Or maybe they just view the state-condoned killing of over 40 million unborn children to be kind of an important thing to work against. And unless you're blind, these pro-life folks have massive charities associated with their various churches and groups.

But it probably is much easier to dismiss them as slut-haters.
posted by jsonic at 3:41 PM on August 24, 2008


Are you purposely ignoring the fact that the thread is about people who are employed? This seems to be a seriously flawed way of making an argument, but, then, I'm in the reality-based community and we probably do things differently over here.

Are you purposely ignoring the comment that I was replying to? This seems like a seriously flawed way of making an argument, but, then, I'm in the literacy-based community and we probably do things differently over here.

(Hint: The comment I was replying to was talking about pharmacists and doctors, and didn't draw a distinction between self-employed, semi-autonomous, and plain-old-employee. Furthermore, a lot of people in this thread are resting their argument on the availability of certain treatments in rural communities, which has nothing to do with the employment status of the treatment providers.)
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:45 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: "Ah yes, those pesky stealth pharmacists. We should certainly be deciding social policy based on their hypothetical existence."

Did you fail to read the examples I provided? I found those within 5 seconds; that's 5 actual seconds, not 5 conveniently short periods of time.

There were THOUSANDS of results given back.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:52 PM on August 24, 2008


But it probably is much easier to dismiss them as slut-haters.

The fact that even the most rabid anti-abortion groups mostly support an exception for rape, even more than they might support an exception for health, certainly suggests that it's not about the 'baby' as much as they want you to think it is.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:53 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't have a problem with a doctor not wanting to perform abortions. They shouldn't be forced to do so. I do have a problem with pharmacists deciding which prescriptions are or are not "OK" for someone to take based on their personal moral guidelines, and I most certainly have a problem with this aspect of this issue:

...explicitly allows workers to withhold information about such services and refuse to refer patients elsewhere.

So not only do they not have to perform an abortion or fill a prescription, they also don't have to answer any questions about them or tell anyone where they could go to find out more or get what they need/want.

I also agree overall it can and will cause problems in rural areas where there isn't a Walgreen's on every corner and there's aren't hundreds of choices of which doctor to go to in the first place. I grew up in such a place. There was no choice about which doctor to go to or which pharmacy to buy your meds at, and if you didn't like them, tough nuts. The next nearest medical professional or pharmacy was at least 80 miles away. My hometown recently got a Walgreen's, which is great, but doesn't solve the problem of whatever pharmacists being hired there perhaps not feeling someone needs whatever medication because they feel it's not morally OK to dispense it. They'll still be hiring from the same pool of people as the original pharmacy. In fact, right now, the same pharmacist is working at both the Walgreen's, the original pharmacy, and at the small pharmacy in their new grocery super-store. So it still ends up being whatever he wants to do, no matter which of the locations a person living there goes to. Unless they want to make a 160 mile round trip to the next available medical professionals or pharmacies, of course. Also, any new medical clinic or pharmacy opening there will have no way to insure they are hiring people willing to do the jobs others won't, because they aren't allowed to ask and then not allowed to fire them later, so eventually that small town could grow up enough to have a dozen different pharmacies, and every one of them could be staffed by a pharmacist who believes birth control pills are a sin and won't fill the prescription.

Furthermore, the way this all reads, objecting to things medical professionals find morally repugnant on a personal level could be extended to anything, not just abortion and contraceptives, and I find that to be extremely worrisome, particularly coupled with the "no referral" aspect.
posted by Orb at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, those pesky stealth pharmacists. We should certainly be deciding social policy based on their hypothetical existence.

Well, since you were already positing the opening of a hypothetical pharmacy that would dispense birth control and morning-after pills in a hypothetical region where no other pharmacies would do so, I thought it was a fair go.

But since you seem to be unwilling or unable to entertain the notion that those setting policy should never consider where that policy may ultimately lead (because, you know, that would be hypothetical!), then oh well.

And what's so hypothetical about these pharmacists? I wasn't saying that any of them might lie about their beliefs to get the job - I was saying that it might not come up as a subject in the interview, since it touches on at least one area where it's illegal to ask someone questions about their beliefs.
posted by rtha at 3:58 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


those setting policy should never consider where that policy may ultimately lead

Got myself tangled up in some cutting and pasting, there.
posted by rtha at 3:59 PM on August 24, 2008


I have a job too, but if a client were to come to me and ask me to help them do something I found morally objectionable, I could say no, even though my job is to do the general sort of thing they asked me to do.

So, you would expect the government to prevent your employer from firing you?

Are people seriously arguing that an EMT shouldn't be fired or punished in any way for refusing life-saving procedures to someone they think is gay, or Muslim?
posted by dirigibleman at 4:01 PM on August 24, 2008


The comment I was replying to was talking about pharmacists and doctors, and didn't draw a distinction between self-employed, semi-autonomous, and plain-old-employee.

Oh, my apologies. I didn't realize you had excerpted the comment out of the context in which it was made so you could create a strawman to attack. Well, then, carry on.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:07 PM on August 24, 2008


Are people seriously arguing that an EMT shouldn't be fired or punished in any way for refusing life-saving procedures to someone they think is gay, or Muslim?

So it's wrong to refuse a "life-saving procedure", but doctors and pharmacists should be forced to perform abortions and provide abortion pills. You people are amazing.
posted by jsonic at 4:10 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


state-condoned killing of over 40 million unborn children

Or, you could just use the phrase "the aborting of 40 million fetuses at the behest of the living, breathing human being who is responsible for the decision about whether to carry it to term and what to do with it after that." As opposed to you, who have no such responsibility other than your putting your pointed little nose into her business. Whatever.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:10 PM on August 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


but doctors and pharmacists should be forced to perform abortions and provide abortion pills.

Kinda like I'm forced to give money to a government that uses it to send my countrymen to maim and kill actual, living human beings in foreign countries. I'm not talking antiseptic white room in which a woman's rights to control her body are being exercised, I'm talking about blood spattering, windows exploding, brains on the ground kind of killing, you know, the kind the word "killing" was designed for before being coopted by the slut-haters. But I'm sure your heart is bleeding over those real deaths, too, it's just too hard to actually do anything about it. I'm sure you've written tons of posts about that and lobbied your government hard to prevent that. And starvation. That, too, you've toiled endlessly for. So forgive me for questioning your motives.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:15 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, you could just use the phrase...

Use what ever phrase you want. It doesn't change the fact that over 40 million human lives have been intentionally ended, no matter how hard you try to de-humanize them. I guess I'm just 'pointy-nosed' for giving a shit.
posted by jsonic at 4:18 PM on August 24, 2008


Too bad it couldn't have been 40 million and one.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:20 PM on August 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Kinda like I'm forced to give money to a government that uses it to send my countrymen to maim and kill actual, living human beings in foreign countries

I'm certainly opposed to wars. Especially offensive wars that could have been avoided, "like such as the Iraq". And I'm against them precisely because innocent civilians are guaranteed to be killed. Not to mention all the soldiers who are there simply because they had no other choice in life but to join the military.

I gather that you are against the war too. How frustrated do you feel when, not only are Iraqi's killed, but a whole contingent of people incessantly condone that killing as both necessary and just? That is exactly how I feel about abortion.

There are lots of reasons people give for supporting the war. But do any of these reasons really justify the innocent lives that are lost? I don't think so. Which is why I oppose both.

/temporary break from internet argument
posted by jsonic at 4:37 PM on August 24, 2008


So it's wrong to refuse a "life-saving procedure", but doctors and pharmacists should be forced to perform abortions and provide abortion pills.

This isn't just about abortion. But apparently you are agreeing that a Muslim EMT should be allowed to refuse emergency care to a heathen without fear of being punished.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2008


This isn't just about abortion. But apparently you are agreeing that a Muslim EMT should be allowed to refuse emergency care to a heathen without fear of being punished.

Actually, the post is about abortions. Read the proposed rule again. And you just conflated emergency medical treatment with an elective procedure. The proposed rule says nothing about denying life-saving care.
posted by jsonic at 4:46 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: "Actually, the post is about abortions. Read the proposed rule again. And you just conflated emergency medical treatment with an elective procedure. The proposed rule says nothing about denying life-saving care."

The proposed rule isn't limited to abortion. That's one given example. But there's nothing that says ONLY abortions are procedures that can be refused.

"The fourth conscience provision, 42 U.S.C. § 300a-7(d), provides that “[n]o individual
shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program
or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by [the Department] if his performance or assistance in the performance of such part of such program or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions."

So what if a Mormon refused to treat black people in order to avoid contact with the curse of Ham?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:03 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I for one look forward to our Brave New Dark Age. I'm glancing from the corner of my eye... the closing ceremonies in Beijing. These are the last games... not that I ever really fraking cared.

Things should get interesting when Russia rolls into Poland.

All these slippery slopes... all these extinguished hopes.

This "industrialized" world is a con.

The future is for suckers.

Ye4r Z3r0.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:20 PM on August 24, 2008


The proposed rule says nothing about denying life-saving care.

And hey guess what? Sometimes an abortion is life-saving care that kills a fetus. This is the world we live in, one with difficult decisions about life and death. If you can't handle that, don't become a doctor who treats female patients. Or a pharmacist, period. You have the right to be anti-abortion, but not the right to block women's access to legal abortion by cowardly, power-manipulating asshole moves like this rule supports. And nobody believes It's About the Babies because the "pro-life" movement has shown itself monumentally unconcerned with the babies that result from lack of access to contraception and abortion, or with the women who are forced to bear the risks and consequences of pregnancy and birth against their will by lack of access to resources.

This is not about anyone being forced to provide abortions at gunpoint, which has never happened and will never happen. This is about assholes making abortions--which are elective and LEGAL procedures--harder to get, because they think they have the right to make women's choices for them. They don't, and they shouldn't.
posted by emjaybee at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


So, jsonic, one can therefore safely presume that you support:

- frank and factual--that is, actually science-based--sexual education in schools, including specific lessons about how to protect from diseases and prevent pregnancy
- distribution of condoms and other methods of birth control in schools
- adoption and raising to adulthood of babies who would otherwise have been aborted. That is to say you personally raising that child and/or contributing to its life and welfare

Right? You do support all of these things, yes?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:30 PM on August 24, 2008


Just a reminder that pro-lifers who claim to care about THE BABIES are lying piles of crap.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:30 PM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sometimes an abortion is life-saving care that kills a fetus.

Abortions due to risk to maternal health: 2.8% ^

And nobody believes It's About the Babies because the "pro-life" movement has shown itself monumentally unconcerned with the babies that result from lack of access to contraception and abortion

Citation Needed.

This is about assholes making abortions--which are elective and LEGAL procedures--harder to get, because they think they have the right to make women's choices for them

Or maybe they just want to stop the killing of innocent human life.
posted by jsonic at 5:36 PM on August 24, 2008


This law could easily lead to doctors being allowed to refuse to supervise or administer urgently-needed chemotherapy to pregnant women, since almost ALL chemotherapy is life-threatening to a foetus.

Does anyone out there still think it's a good law?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:38 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This law could easily lead to doctors being allowed to refuse to supervise or administer urgently-needed chemotherapy to pregnant women, since almost ALL chemotherapy is life-threatening to a foetus.

Yeah, I'm sure pro-life people want both the mother and child to die. Makes perfect sense.
posted by jsonic at 5:43 PM on August 24, 2008


Yeah, I'm sure pro-life people want both the mother and child to die. Makes perfect sense.

Since the latest abortion ban bill introduced contained NO exception for health, what are people supposed to assume?

Still, that's just your strawman, not mine. How do you rationally explain supporting a law that would allow doctors to use 'moral' views to deny life-saving treatments?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:47 PM on August 24, 2008


How do you rationally explain supporting a law that would allow doctors to use 'moral' views to deny life-saving treatments?

Why would I possibly need to do that? When did I argue that doctors should refuse life saving treatments? All I've argued for is the right of doctors to refuse elective life-destroying procedures.
posted by jsonic at 5:51 PM on August 24, 2008


You've been arguing in support of a law that would allow doctors to refuse chemo to pregnant women. Do you really think that you're the one who's going to get to say what 'moral' views are allowed to be used as a basis for refusal of treatment?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:55 PM on August 24, 2008


- frank and factual--that is, actually science-based--sexual education in schools, including specific lessons about how to protect from diseases and prevent pregnancy

Sure. I'd also support education that explains how diseases, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and lots of emotional issues can be reduced if you don't treat sex like the casual institution it has become.

- distribution of condoms and other methods of birth control in schools

Available, yes. This doesn't have to be in schools or be subsidized.

- adoption and raising to adulthood of babies who would otherwise have been aborted. That is to say you personally raising that child and/or contributing to its life and welfare

There's no shortage of couples who are waiting to adopt children. Especially unwanted newborns.

DID I PASS YOU MORALITY TEST?? DID I??
posted by jsonic at 6:05 PM on August 24, 2008


You've been arguing in support of a law that would allow doctors to refuse chemo to pregnant women.

Again, you're just making things up now. From the article:

"Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said that health care professionals should not face retaliation from employers or from medical societies because they object to abortion.
...

The proposed rule, which applies to institutions receiving government money, would require as many as 584,000 employers ranging from major hospitals to doctors' offices and nursing homes to certify in writing that they are complying with several federal laws that protect the conscience rights of health care workers. Violations could lead to a loss of government funding and legal action to recoup federal money already paid."
posted by jsonic at 6:07 PM on August 24, 2008


I quoted the proposed law. It is NOT confined only to abortion.

"The fourth conscience provision, 42 U.S.C. § 300a-7(d), provides that “[n]o individual
shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program (emphasis mine) or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by [the Department] if his performance or assistance in the performance of such part of such program or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions."

Did I make that up? Or are you refusing to read citations from the law you're arguing about? That clause right there allows refusal of almost anything for so-called 'moral' reasons.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:11 PM on August 24, 2008


Ah, I see the problem. Jsonic has correctly noted that the first two conscience provisions in the Church Amendments are about sterilization and abortion. Unfortunately, he's failed to continue reading to the third provision, which is about any lawful health service or research activity, or the fourth, which is about any part of a health service program or research activity. ^

I'm sure that's just an oversight, not any kind of willful ignorance. Surely, once he's read the actual document in question, and not just an article about the document, he will stop arguing that this can only be about abortion. Right?

(He's right that it's all tied to federal funding, though. So, clearly, all Planned Parenthood needs to do is stop accepting any federal funds. Problem solved, hooray!)
posted by hades at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, thank all the gods that nobody covered by a large-scale health provider would be affected by this law?

I mean, it's not like Medicaid gets federal funds, right? </sarky>
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:16 PM on August 24, 2008


I know! Whew, really dodged a bullet there.
posted by hades at 6:16 PM on August 24, 2008


Hey jsonic, do the souls of aborted fetuses go to Heaven?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 PM on August 24, 2008


no, they get accounts on metafilter and argue endlessly
posted by pyramid termite at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's the title of the Section where this paragraph is contained called? Oh, that's right, the entire section is titled: Sterilization or abortion. The paragraph you refer to is certainly vague. Then again, the majority of the document is in reference to abortion and sterilization. Seeing how these federal funding rules have been on the books for years, your pregnant cancer lady fears seem quite paranoid.
posted by jsonic at 6:41 PM on August 24, 2008


I quoted the proposed law.

This is not a proposed law. It is a funding rule that was passed years ago. This new effort by HHS is to make sure employees of federally funded medical institutions know their rights.
posted by jsonic at 6:44 PM on August 24, 2008


The PDF I'm quoting, linked above, does not include that heading. It DOES include this:

"In federal law, there are several provisions that prohibit
recipients of certain federal funds from coercing individuals in the health care field into
participating in actions they find religiously or morally objectionable. These same provisions
also prohibit discrimination on the basis of one’s objection to, participation in, or refusal to
participate in, specific medical procedures, including abortion or sterilization."

So, the law is NOT limited to abortion / sterilization. Those two things are mentioned in order to poison the well, not to provide limits. They are INCLUDED, not limiting.

The proposed law isn't limited in any way to abortion, regardless of what you want to think. If you'd read the linked document, you'd know that, and you'd know that it would indeed empower doctors to refuse to administer chemo to avoid harming a 'baby', if that's what their 'morality' compelled them to do.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:50 PM on August 24, 2008


The proposed law isn't limited in any way to abortion

AGAIN, its not a proposed law, it already is a passed federal funding rule. And the paragraph you have issue with is defined in the rule under the section Abortion or Sterilization. The link to the existing rule I gave you shows this clearly.
posted by jsonic at 6:56 PM on August 24, 2008


It is a funding rule that was passed years ago. This new effort by HHS is to make sure employees of federally funded medical institutions know their rights.

Which include refusing to perform any procedure that they think violates their 'morals'. It's right there, in black and white.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:57 PM on August 24, 2008


Which include refusing to perform any procedure that they think violates their 'morals'. It's right there, in black and white.

Yawn. I guess your explanation explains all those federal-funded employees refusing emergency medical care to pregnant cancer ladies over the past years. OH WAIT, that's only in your imagination. PHEW.
posted by jsonic at 7:00 PM on August 24, 2008


What if I'm a Jainist pharmacist, can I refuse to dispense any pill that's encased in animal-derived gelatin?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:01 PM on August 24, 2008


I retract some of my snark; the section this appears in is indeed titled "Sterilization or abortion", and the parent subchapter is "POPULATION RESEARCH AND VOLUNTARY FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS". However, it's notable that the code itself does not place any restrictions on which programs it's talking about:
No individual shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services if his performance or assistance in the performance of such part of such program or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Without an "as defined in Subchapter VIII" in there somewhere, I'm going to continue to take the paranoid view, thanks. Just because nobody appears to have taken advantage of that reading of the provision yet is no guarantee that nobody will.
posted by hades at 7:04 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: "Which include refusing to perform any procedure that they think violates their 'morals'. It's right there, in black and white.

Yawn. I guess your explanation explains all those federal-funded employees refusing emergency medical care to pregnant cancer ladies over the past years. OH WAIT, that's only in your imagination. PHEW.
"

Gee, I guess you told me! The power of your strawman arguments have overwhelmed us all!
Well, they've certainly made me tired of trying to explain what's in the PDF, at least.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:06 PM on August 24, 2008


Well, they've certainly made me tired of trying to explain what's in the PDF, at least.

The PDF lists rules that ALREADY EXIST. I gave you a link to the definition of these rules. And the section you keep whining about is clearly in the "Sterilization or Abortion" section.
posted by jsonic at 7:09 PM on August 24, 2008


And the conscience clauses have NOTHING that restricts them only to abortion or sterilization. That title isn't a limitation! If it was ONLY about sterilization and abortion, the rules wouldn't say "any part of a health service program or research activity", would they? They wouldn't mention "specific medical procedures, including abortion or sterilization", they would say "abortion or sterilization"!

If the rules only applied to abortion and sterilization, then those two procedures wouldn't be included in a larger set, would they?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:17 PM on August 24, 2008


What about them? They can't stop you from opening a pharmacy to dispense abortion pills, and their protesting can't force you to follow their worldview.
posted by jsonic at 3:22 PM on August 24


How about when abortion protesters blow people's heads off? Does that force them to follow a worldview?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:21 PM on August 24, 2008


i think they ought to pass a law against blowing people's heads off
posted by pyramid termite at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2008


No, see, Optimus, No True Pro-Lifer would blow someone's head off.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:28 PM on August 24, 2008


What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?
posted by BrnP84 at 7:29 PM on August 24, 2008



DID I PASS YOU MORALITY TEST?? DID I??


Um actually no.

Factual sexual education means facts, not moralizing.

Stop pretending this is about anything other than controlling what other people do with their fun bits.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:30 PM on August 24, 2008


That title isn't a limitation!

Yeah, they just randomly decided to name the section of the rule "Sterilization or abortion". I'm sure it has absolutely no bearing on the items contained in it.

These conscience clauses began appearing in 1973. Your paranoid fears of doctors refusing whatever they want has not materialized. Maybe they're patiently waiting for the right time.
posted by jsonic at 7:33 PM on August 24, 2008


Sure. I'd also support education that explains how diseases, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and lots of emotional issues can be reduced if you don't treat sex like the casual institution it has become.

OK, really? You do know it is not the government's job to police my vagina, not yours, not your minister's or priest's, not anyone else's, right? That sex is also not an institution, but a personal right, and that how much anyone else but you is having is none of your goddamn business?

Thanks for tipping your hand, and revealing how what's really keeping you up at night is all the women doing whatever they want with their bodies, like they owned them or something, like we live in a democracy where grown adults don't have to check in with anyone to decide whether and how they will have sex!

Your personal squeamishness about people having too much sex is not a good basis for a non-theocracy to base its rules and laws on.
posted by emjaybee at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


DNBB and Jsonic, both you guys should meet, beat the hell out of eachother for a few minutes, walk away and have a beer together and agree to disagree.
posted by BrnP84 at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2008



Stop pretending this is about anything other than controlling what other people do with their fun bits.


I can do this too: Stop pretending this about anything other than killing 'inconvienient' unborn human life.
posted by jsonic at 7:38 PM on August 24, 2008


Hey, it's the abortion issue, do you guys really think you're gonna get anywhere with eachother? This is exactly the kind of shit that has turned good hearted people into apathetic non-voting zombies, deuchebags on different sides of the fence not knowing how to be open to opinions other than their own. Neither of you are wrong but you're not right either, there is no fucking right answer to abortion and anyone who says there is doesn't have a clue.
posted by BrnP84 at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2008


Thanks for tipping your hand, and revealing how what's really keeping you up at night is all the women doing whatever they want with their bodies, like they owned them or something, like we live in a democracy where grown adults don't have to check in with anyone to decide whether and how they will have sex!

It's interesting how I sad no such thing. If you teach about contraception you should also teach the complications arising from irresponsible sex. Is that really such an affront to this vagina you speak of?

Your personal squeamishness about people having too much sex is not a good basis for a non-theocracy to base its rules and laws on.

Ok. Good thing I didn't propose that then.
posted by jsonic at 7:46 PM on August 24, 2008


I just have this funny knee-jerk reaction against moral absolutism

Jsonic, if that's not the pot calling the kettle a big stupid cast iron cooking device, or however that saying goes.
posted by BrnP84 at 7:49 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I didn't say that, Leon did.
posted by jsonic at 7:51 PM on August 24, 2008


Or maybe they just view the state-condoned killing of over 40 million unborn children to be kind of an important thing to work against.

**must .....control .... illogical..... rage.....***

If you actually believed for a single nanosecond that our government was truly complicit in the murder of 40 million children you would be out there assassinating judges with an AK-47 and planting IED’s under police officer’s cars.

You would be in open armed rebellion against such an evil and tyrannical government and you would willingly sacrifice your life to violently shut down any building where children were being murdered.

Quite possibly the only thing that bugs me more than the goals of the pro-life movement is your complete inability to actually believe your own rhetoric. You don't really believe that your local Planned Parenthood clinic is murdering a few dozen kids every day. If you did, you'd grab a gun and shut them down by any means necessary. I would do the very same if I thought one of my neighbors was murdering dozens of children every day -- or hell, even if he was murdering just one.

Come back here when you're prepared to excise that festering, necrotic part of your brain responsible for your slavish devotion to a failed an inhuman religion.
posted by Avenger at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


True dat, well it still applies here, to both of you.
posted by BrnP84 at 7:53 PM on August 24, 2008


Come back here when you're prepared to excise that festering, necrotic part of your brain responsible for your slavish devotion to a failed an inhuman religion.

hmmm - yet you're the one who's suggesting that this problem be solved with mass application of firepower

project much? - that "inhuman religion" you're describing is your sick little fantasies of political armageddon ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:58 PM on August 24, 2008


If you actually believed for a single nanosecond that our government was truly complicit in the murder of 40 million children you would be out there assassinating judges with an AK-47 and planting IED’s under police officer’s cars.

Ok, so now my pro-life position is wrong because I won't murder those who disagree with me. Did you really think that screed through?
posted by jsonic at 7:59 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, if I'm all in for the individual's right to choose, which side of this argument am I supposed to be on? It's getting a little difficult to tell who's values are being imposed on whom here.
posted by klarck at 8:03 PM on August 24, 2008


I was just going to say that jsonic is going to come back here and say "What makes you think I'm religious, eh, smarty pants?!?!" to which I would reply that one doesn't have to be a Christian or a Muslim to make the Sanctity of the Womb into some kind of religion.

As for you, pyramid, I'm only saying that if pro-lifer's really believed their own words, they would actually be blowing up abortion clinics instead of just writing snippy tirades on their favorite websites. You can call them my "sick little fantasies" if you want, but it's the logical outgrowth of their rhetoric.
posted by Avenger at 8:04 PM on August 24, 2008


Ok, so now my pro-life position is wrong because I won't murder those who disagree with me. Did you really think that screed through?

I'm gonna have to defend Avenger's comment here. From what I gather he is saying that if you truly felt the way you claim to feel (considered abortion to be murder) than you'd be an asshole NOT to do anything. Just like we had a moral obligation to stop the holocaust you should have this same obligation to stop abortion, and yes you should murder those who you felt were committing genocide. But you obviously don't consider abortion in the same league as murder or else you would have done something long ago, you'd be an asshole not to murder anyone. Personally I hate abortion, my mom had 2 and I was almost aborted but wtf, who am I to tell a woman what the hell she's gonna do with her vagina. Yea abortion sucks but it's not murder, it's in the same ballpark but it's a huge fucking ballpark. Did I get that right avenger?
posted by BrnP84 at 8:06 PM on August 24, 2008


Ok, so now my pro-life position is wrong because I won't murder those who disagree with me. Did you really think that screed through?

No, because you won't forcibly defend innocent children from being murdered, even though you have the means, motivation and justification to do so.
posted by Avenger at 8:06 PM on August 24, 2008


As for you, pyramid, I'm only saying that if pro-lifer's really believed their own words, they would actually be blowing up abortion clinics

no, what you're saying is that YOU would be blowing up abortion clinics, mr AVENGER

even your net.name fits into this, doesn't it?

remind me never to cut you off for a parking space
posted by pyramid termite at 8:09 PM on August 24, 2008


and the only other thing i've got to say is that after watching those on the right run the world and drive it right into the ground, i had some hope for the other side - but now i see that the idea of many of you running the world is pretty damn scary, too - just the incompetent way you're arguing your points and disregarding the idea that your opponents might have some rights, too, makes me believe that you can't be trusted with power either

sometimes i wonder if we're just going to have to wait until both sides of the culture wars turn the country into a smoking wasteland for sanity to reign in this country again

what a lousy, half-assed, brain-numbing stupid thread this has become
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 PM on August 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


It's obvious that pro-lifers don't believe their own rhetoric. One only has to look at the laws they support.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:20 PM on August 24, 2008


No, because you won't forcibly defend innocent children from being murdered, even though you have the means, motivation and justification to do so.

Oh, you're serious. Let's see, how should I explain why I think idea isn't really that smart?

Well, besides the PRO-LIFE part of my position...I'm also an opponent of the death penalty, so that's one. And killing abortion bound moms kinda defeats the purpose. Killing them after doesn't help either. And being a vigilante in this era of Homeland Security is probably not the most practical idea, so that rules out the doctors. Oh, almost forgot, the U.S. has a massive military with which to crush those who attack it.

Maybe that whole rule of law and democracy thing is the best way to fight this afterall.
posted by jsonic at 8:28 PM on August 24, 2008


New plan for defending the unborn: become an EMT working with a program which receives federal funds. Keep a list of abortion/contraception providers in the area. When called upon to assist anyone on the list, refuse on moral/religious grounds. Following the letter of the law is awesome! (That was what we were talking about before, right? The law which says you can refuse to provide medical services on moral/religious grounds?)
posted by hades at 8:42 PM on August 24, 2008


Maybe that whole rule of law and democracy thing is the best way to fight this afterall.

Yep, it's a great idea to use laws to ensure that women are permitted no control of their own bodies.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:43 PM on August 24, 2008


Well, besides the PRO-LIFE part of my position...I'm also an opponent of the death penalty, so that's one.

Is your "pro-life" position also opposed to using deadly force to stop a murder in progress?

And killing abortion bound moms kinda defeats the purpose. Killing them after doesn't help either.

I didn't say that you should kill the moms. Shooting an abortionist murderer before he rips an innocent child apart is justifiable self-defense, wouldn't you say?

And being a vigilante in this era of Homeland Security is probably not the most practical idea, so that rules out the doctors. Oh, almost forgot, the U.S. has a massive military with which to crush those who attack it.

I see. So you're afraid. You fear the consequences of living up to your beliefs. Actually, I disagree. You don't really believe that a fetus is a child. You're not alone, of course: hardly anybody believes that. If you really believed that kids were being brutally murdered in a medical office a few miles from your house, you wouldn't sit here on the internets and wait patiently for some sea-change in the American public consciousness that, in all likelihood, will never actually come.

Maybe that whole rule of law and democracy thing is the best way to fight this afterall.

If you really believe that "rule of law and democracy" has allowed 40 million children to be murdered, I'd say that, from your point of view, it's patently not the "best way to fight". I would respect your position alot more if you at least pretended to believe the things you say, rather than just let them flow out of your mouth without giving them the slightest logical examination.
posted by Avenger at 8:50 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I see. So you're afraid. You fear the consequences of living up to your beliefs.

So, I'm a pussy for not wanting random babies to be killed, and I'm also a pussy for not wanting to kill other random people myself. Got it.

You don't really believe that a fetus is a child.

Thanks for letting me know.

I would respect your position alot more if you at least pretended to believe the things you say, rather than just let them flow out of your mouth without giving them the slightest logical examination.

Says the man advocating terrorism and bombing.
posted by jsonic at 9:40 PM on August 24, 2008


So, I'm a pussy for not wanting random babies to be killed, and I'm also a pussy for not wanting to kill other random people myself. Got it.

No, you're a pussy for holding beliefs and refusing to accept their consequences.

Says the man advocating terrorism and bombing.

He's not. He's saying that your beliefs mandate terrorism, and that denying that is dishonest and cowardly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:45 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's contagious. According to you two, opposing abortion is wrong unless those who oppose it are willing to become terrorists. As if violence and murder are the only possible way to fight things.

Somebody get Ghandi and MLK on the phone. Avenger and Pope Guilty have proven that non-violent resistance is dead.
posted by jsonic at 9:53 PM on August 24, 2008


opposing abortion is wrong unless those who oppose it are willing to become terrorists.

You believe that using deadly force to stop a murder in progress is terrorism?
posted by Avenger at 9:56 PM on August 24, 2008


I think your suggestion of murdering doctors, judges, and police is terrorism. It's also disturbing that you think the only way to fight something is to use violence and murder.

Non-violence worked for Gandhi and MLK. Thanks for the suggestion, but feel free to keep your terrorism to yourself.
posted by jsonic at 10:01 PM on August 24, 2008


According to you two, opposing abortion is wrong unless those who oppose it are willing to become terrorists.

No, that's not correct at all. The belief that fetuses are fully morally considerable persons, the killing of whom constitutes murder, entails a belief that the lives of such fetuses are entitled to the same defense as the life of any human being who is already born and alive in the world. Do you believe that it is acceptable to use violence to defend the lives of innocents against assailants? If you do, and you believe that fetuses are morally considerable persons, it becomes, at a minimum, incumbent upon you to defend those who commit violence against abortion providers, if not to commit violence against them yourself. Unless you're a pacifist in the vein of Ghandi, who would permit millions to die rather than use violence in the defense of life, you cannot justify condemning violence against abortion providers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:12 PM on August 24, 2008


I think your suggestion of murdering doctors, judges, and police is terrorism.

It's not my suggestion. It's exactly what you'd be doing if you really believed those doctors (especially those vile, swarthy abortion doctors) we're really responsible for an ongoing American Holocaust.

It's also disturbing that you think the only way to fight something is to use violence and murder.

I don't think it's the only way to fight. Far from it. But if my government were running (or supporting) a concentration camp next door with gas chambers, furnaces and the works, I wouldn't be passing out strongly worded leaflets at the entrance.

Non-violence worked for Gandhi and MLK.

As an amatuer historian, I'd say that remains to be seen.

Thanks for the suggestion, but feel free to keep your terrorism to yourself.

Ok, you're obviously lost in your own delusions. You don't even "get" what I'm trying to say. It may be that I'm a bad communicator, or it may be that the strength of your convictions has literally shut down the logical and reading-comprehension parts of your brain.
posted by Avenger at 10:13 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Non-violence worked for Gandhi

Gandhi, who advocated that the Jews of Europe give themselves over to the death camps willingly rather than defend themselves. Gandhi, who gets the credit for freeing India while the guerrilla fighters who waged an insurgency against the British until the costs of holding India became greater than the profits.

and MLK

MLK, who the power ignored until the rise of black militants gave the white man a reason to talk to him; better to deal with the peacemaker than the militant.

Nonviolence is an extremely situational tool. It is not a panacea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 PM on August 24, 2008


You don't even "get" what I'm trying to say.

It's quite obvious what you're saying. "IF against abortion AND IF unborn is human, THEN violence is required".

Your entire bullshit argument presupposes that violence is the only form of resistance. It also presupposes that violence would be EFFECTIVE in ending abortion.

Time to find a new argument guys.
posted by jsonic at 10:30 PM on August 24, 2008


This is beautiful:

1. I mention non-violence as a way to fight abortion.
2. Gandhi and MLK promoted non-violence.
3. Avenger and Pope Guilty: Gandhi, MLK, and non-violence MUST BE ATTACKED!!!!
4. On Metafilter
posted by jsonic at 10:36 PM on August 24, 2008


I give up. You are clearly winning the argument that is happening in your head.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:37 PM on August 24, 2008


Your entire bullshit argument presupposes that violence is the only form of resistance.

No, it presupposes that violence in defense of innocent human life is acceptable ...

It also presupposes that violence would be EFFECTIVE in ending abortion.

...ah. Now we might be getting somewhere. I may actually respect your position slightly more if you come out and say "Yes, we admit that violence to defend the unborn is an option, however we choose not to go that route at the moment due to the current political situation". The IRA has a similar position, if I'm not mistaken.

In any event, people who save children from murderers don't stop and ask themselves wheather or not this particular act of self-defense will "be effective" in ending all child-murder. They just do it because it's the right thing to do.

But lets drop the charade, shall we? I'm going to take a bet and say that you're not a follower of Ghandi, and that your whole "but what about non-violent resistance?!?" sthick is just a way for you to stop from thinking about the contradictions in your belief system.
posted by Avenger at 10:41 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


jsonic: Time to find a new argument guys.

Well, I don't see you committing to nonviolent resistance either. I just see you talking about it on a message board.

I tend to think that if you sincerely believed that just under a million people were being senselessly murdered in your own home country every year, you wouldn't be doing that. I tend to think that fighting it, by whatever method, would consume most of your efforts. I also think that the majority of the pro-life people would be picking up weapons, not just a tiny minority. Only a very few people can remain non-violent in the face of mass murder. Hell, only a few people think you should be.

Everything the pro-life forces do, every way they act, suggests that it's about punishing women for having sex. I'm sure a sizable minority believes it's about saving lives, and a sizable minority of it seems to be composed of middle-aged women who simply think babies are so incredibly awesome and can't imagine why anyone would rather do anything else than care for them all of the time, but most of them are just bitter fundies. If you had a perfect, non-aborting, never-fails birth control method, they'd oppose it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:42 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I give up.

But, but, Gandhi was an opportunistic pussy, right? Come on, don't give up yet, you almost had me convinced.

I can totally see why people disagree about abortion. But your and Avenger's VIOLENCE ONLY argument is amazingly stupid.
posted by jsonic at 10:43 PM on August 24, 2008


Metafilter: your beliefs mandate terrorism, and denying that is dishonest and cowardly.

There. Maybe now you can see how stupid that looks?
posted by klarck at 10:43 PM on August 24, 2008


Yeah, I'm done here too. The fog around jsonic's mind is too thick, and waves of logic crash against the rocky shores of his brain.
posted by Avenger at 10:44 PM on August 24, 2008


Avenger + Pope Guilty: Killing doctors, judges, and policemen is the ONLY way to fight abortion. Therefore abortion is GOOD.

Thanks for the laugh guys.
posted by jsonic at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2008


Avenger + Pope Guilty: Killing doctors, judges, and policemen is the ONLY way to fight abortion. Therefore abortion is GOOD.

You are clearly winning the argument that is happening in your head.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 PM on August 24, 2008


and the only other thing i've got to say is that after watching those on the right run the world and drive it right into the ground, i had some hope for the other side - but now i see that the idea of many of you running the world is pretty damn scary, too - just the incompetent way you're arguing your points and disregarding the idea that your opponents might have some rights, too, makes me believe that you can't be trusted with power either

Nobody here has any power. You made me laugh with that.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:56 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic: Avenger + Pope Guilty: Killing doctors, judges, and policemen is the ONLY way to fight abortion. Therefore abortion is GOOD.

Thanks for the laugh guys.


jsonic, we question your sincerity, because if the pro-life people really believed that just under a million infants were being slain each year, we wouldn't be debating it over a message board. We'd be too busy fighting the second civil war.

Remember 911? That was 3000 or so. A factor of over 100 times less. And the entire nation completely freaked out and started not one but TWO wars over it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:05 PM on August 24, 2008


Forget it, Mitrovarr. It's Fundietown.
posted by Avenger at 11:10 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Time to find a new argument guys.

How about the burning IVF clinic analogy? Your local IVF clinic is on fire and you are inside - you can choose to save either a 2 year-old child (or 2years + 9 months if you prefer) or a petri dish containing 2 viable blastocysts - you know, unborn babies before the clinic.

Which do you save? If there are not enough unborn babies in the petri dish, please feel free to add as many as you like.

I know this is OT, but I really want to know if jsonic believes the line about the slaughter of 40 million innocents
posted by JustAsItSounds at 11:13 PM on August 24, 2008


It's Fundietown.

But probably not in the sense most people would think of. Which is itself pretty interesting, I think.
posted by hades at 11:19 PM on August 24, 2008


jsonic, you seem unable or unwilling to address a fairly significant and fundamental question that has been put you repeatedly about this law and its application to a broad range of situations outside of abortion.

Two different people asked politely if a Mormon healthcare provider would be morally and legally justified to refuse care to a black person, per their religion, or if a Jainist would be justified to refuse administration of prescription medicine that contained animal-sourced gelatin, again per their belief system.

Are these individuals justified in refusing to provide healthcare because of their own religious beliefs, or are only certain religious beliefs (such as yours) applicable to this law, with respect specifically to your objection to providing reproductive healthcare to women who had sexual intercourse you did not approve of?

I don't care much if you choose to answer this question here or not. I'd even advise you to shut up and think for just a moment before mouthing an automatically programmed answer.

Because you may find that you or someone you love would be put at the short end of the stick when it comes to getting treatment you need, because of this law, in ways you may not like or agree with, because of religious beliefs that you do not subscribe to.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 AM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why is this such a drawn-out argument with jsonic? None of this meandering bullshit matters. If you're a doctor, you must treat the patient. Period. That's how it goes. That's THE JOB. You don't get to back out because the treatment or the patient doesn't match up with your personal morality. The fact that the government is attempting to legalize moral offense as a legitimate reason for a doctor to refuse to do his or her job is horrific, and jsonic is determined to argue whateverthefuck he's arguing because he's right and everyone else is wrong and LA LA LA HE CAN'T HEAR YOU!

It must be empowering to be so unbelievably wrong that facts don't matter.
posted by tzikeh at 12:42 AM on August 25, 2008


True dat, well it still applies here, to both of you.

BrmP84: was that directed at me?
posted by Leon at 2:15 AM on August 25, 2008


BrmP84: was that directed at me?

no, it's been so long I forgot who that was directed to. Also this thread is become bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
posted by BrnP84 at 4:36 AM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Two different people asked politely if a Mormon healthcare provider would be morally and legally justified to refuse care to a black person, per their religion, or if a Jainist would be justified to refuse administration of prescription medicine that contained animal-sourced gelatin, again per their belief system.

and there are actual examples of people doing such, right? and you've actually submitted these cases to a court which has ruled on them and another court has decided that a ruling against those doctors should be expanded to doctors who won't perform abortions for moral reasons?

until these doctors exist, and those rulings are made, it's all hot air - hypotheticals like this are the invisible pink unicorns of internet discussion

---

Nobody here has any power

they vote for people who do

---

Do you believe that it is acceptable to use violence to defend the lives of innocents against assailants?

the 9/11 guys believed it was and we call them terrorists - it's not a matter of intent, it's a matter of effect - people around bombed clinics feel terrorized

it's clear that some people here believe that terrorism is justified under certain circumstances, although they haven't been clear on which ones

fictitious cases and not so subtle hints of terrorism - i thought we were better than this
posted by pyramid termite at 5:25 AM on August 25, 2008


until these doctors exist, and those rulings are made, it's all hot air - hypotheticals like this are the invisible pink unicorns of internet discussion

You're missing the point. Badly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:03 AM on August 25, 2008


for starters, there is no lds church doctrine that says "the curse of ham" prevents mormon doctors from working on black people - in fact, there are 500,000 black lds members, and since the revelation of 1978, blacks are eligible to be priests - and even when the church defended the "curse of ham" as a part of their doctrine, they never said you could catch it from someone - you either have it or you don't, due to ancestry - (not that i believe a word of it, but ...)

so that whole question was based on fallacious, out-dated stereotypes - which people could have learned for themselves if they had bothered to look it up

i don't care how politely people shovel their bullshit, it's still bullshit - and i can't have missed a point based on a fallacious argument

you might also consider the history of conscientious objectors in this country and how draft boards are required to evaluate their religious objections carefully before granting them - courts will have to evaluate this issue just as carefully - and they will actually have to make cogent, intelligent arguments instead of content free blather such as "you're missing the point"

hell, you might even want to consider that if you take away the right of a doctor not to perform an abortion, you're also taking away the right of a draftee to claim c o status

basically, a catholic doctor who refused to perform an abortion would be on solid ground - it's well established that the catholic church holds this as a doctrine and that members are supposed to follow it

get back to me when you've got a comment you've actually thought about and that isn't based upon some invisible pink unicorn absurdity
posted by pyramid termite at 10:08 AM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


hell, you might even want to consider that if you take away the right of a doctor not to perform an abortion, you're also taking away the right of a draftee to claim c o status

One doesn't follow from the other. CO status is granted for a number of reasons, including those unrelated to specifically religious beliefs. The only reason for this rule is for the benefit of doctors with, specifically, fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Again, you're missing the point. Very badly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on August 25, 2008


the catholic church is not a fundamentalist church

your inability to keep your facts straight means you don't have a point
posted by pyramid termite at 11:13 AM on August 25, 2008


hell, you might even want to consider that if you take away the right of a doctor not to perform an abortion, you're also taking away the right of a draftee to claim c o status

I'm not sure that analogy works. In the case of a conscientious objector, they want to be discharged for refusing to do their job. The doctor wants not to be discharged.

And, for what it's worth, my right to claim CO status has already been taken away:
Nothing contained in this title [sections 451 to 471a of this Appendix] shall be construed to require any person to be subject to combatant training and service in the armed forces of the United States who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form. As used in this subsection, the term “religious training and belief” does not include essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views, or a merely personal moral code. ^
As an atheist, my "merely personal moral code" isn't enough. I can be tossed in jail for refusing to perform acts I consider immoral, and that's a trade-off I'd take, should it come to that. What bothers me about doctors and pharmacists who want to make moral judgment calls about what part of their job to do is that they don't want to face any consequences, not even when the only consequence is having to find an employer whose beliefs match their own.
posted by hades at 11:31 AM on August 25, 2008


The main problem with the absolutist attitude that says any cell containing a reasonably complete set of human genes that has any chance of becoming a living, breathing human being has the same moral imperative as an actual living, breathing human being leads to chaos. We have the technology right now to take the genes from a single cell in the human body and clone it. It hasn't been done yet, because the slut-haters don't want it done, but the possibility is there. Just like with a zygote, the possibility it there. Certain things have to happen in a certain way, and with a zygote, the probability is higher, but in both cases we're talking about probabilities. Now, using the logic of the slut-haters, the possibility of becoming a human being confers full human rights on an amputated limb, a blood sample with lymphocytes, the shed epithelial cells from a cold, a zygote, a blastocyst, or my mother equally. But, of course, since they didn't realize until just now that any cell could, with some small probability, become a full human being, they haven't been up in arms about the wanton killing involved with my coughing. Or giving blood samples. Or, you know, pulling out a hair (they're genes, full complements, in those roots). But with this knowledge they must become active, unless their absolutism is not really absolute, but comes down to probabilities, so that the probability has to be on the order of 95% or greater. But that depends upon conditions, doesn't it? So that's relative morality, not absolutist.

So I fully expect that, following this enlightening comment, the slut-haters will begin drafting laws that prevent any disposal of any cells that come from a human body and contain a full set of genes. And if they say that it's not unique human life, so it's not protected, then I guess that applies to one of a pair of monozygotic twins as well, which means they have no obection to aborting one of two fetuses with identical genes. Otherwise, again, their morality is not absolute and becomes dependent upon circumstances that have to do with probabilities, i.e., relative morality.

In that case, welcome to those who respect a woman's moral decision about how to deal with her pregnancy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:19 PM on August 25, 2008


Some Worry Underground Abortions Are Still A Reality.

Duh. And rates of underground abortions will rise, the more restrictions there are on access to birth control.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2008


From the NYT: "MEXICO CITY — When Mexico City’s government made abortion legal last year, it also set out to make it available to any woman who asked for one. That includes the city’s poorest, who for years resorted to illegal clinics and midwives as wealthy women visited private doctors willing to quietly end unwanted pregnancies."

We've been there, and in some parts of the U.S., we're there again. (North Dakota has one clinic, I believe, that performs abortions, and the doctor flies in from out of state. Wealthy women in ND don't have to hang around waiting for the doc to show up - they can travel as need be.)

The only thing the antiabortionists haven't tried yet is getting laws passed that make performing or soliciting an abortion a homicide.

That's what they argue - that abortion is the taking of a human life. If that is so - if it's no different than hiring someone to kill your five-year-old kindergartner - then why isn't the antiabortion movement pushing to change the law so that doctors who perform abortions and women who have them can be charged, tried, and imprisoned on homicide charges? It would certainly be more efficient than nibbling away piecemeal at 50-states'-worth of laws (waiting periods here but not there; parental consent/notification here but not there, exception for rape/incest/life/health of the mother here but not there etc.). We don't have one law in California that says that hiring someone to kill your 5-year-old is a homicide and another in Connecticut that says it's a misdemeanor - murder-for-hire is murder-for-hire.
posted by rtha at 1:41 PM on August 25, 2008


drafting laws that prevent any disposal of any cells that come from a human body and contain a full set of genes.

Actually, they were going to try this in Virginia a couple/three years ago (might be four...). There was a state rep who proposed a law that would require any woman who suffered a miscarriage to make a police report. Like, get up from the toilet in the morning, and see there's a large clot of blood in the toilet when you're not having your period? Better call the cops and report it.

He backed down when many women contact his office to ask where they should send their used tampons, since many pregnancies end without the woman knowing she was pregnant.
posted by rtha at 1:44 PM on August 25, 2008


HB 1677 Fetal death; report by mother, penalty.

Summary as introduced:
Report of fetal death by mother; penalty. Provides that when a fetal death occurs without medical attendance, it shall be the woman's responsibility to report the death to the proper law-enforcement agency within 12 hours of the delivery. Violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.*

* up to 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine
posted by rtha at 1:48 PM on August 25, 2008


Although this thread has become completely and irrevocably derailed, may I just say (and I do this cautiously, because it's a little like idly mentioning the Candyman), that despite the topic being [somewhat] about religion and [somewhat] about abortion, it has lasted over 24 hours without a single post from sotonohito mentioning the Inquisition?

This, friends, is progress.
posted by brain cloud at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2008


i don't care how politely people shovel their bullshit, it's still bullshit - and i can't have missed a point based on a fallacious argument

Ah, so you're the one who gets to decide which religious arguments are valid and which are not.

That's good to know, isn't it? Tell me, how does one achieve the august position of being able to decide which points of doctrine amongst the multitude to accept as 'moral'?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:18 PM on August 25, 2008


the 9/11 guys believed it was and we call them terrorists - it's not a matter of intent, it's a matter of effect - people around bombed clinics feel terrorized

That's goddamn ridiculous. That it is acceptable to use violence to defend innocents against violent aggressors is almost universally accepted. It's also complete bullshit to claim that the 9/11 hijackers believed that they were "defending innocents"; al-Qaeda has been entirely clear on the fact that it was about punishing America for not doing what they want.

Your response is so fucking dishonest and foolish that it hurts.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:35 PM on August 25, 2008


jack_mo wrote: I don't know what point you're trying to make, but physicians taking that oath go on to swear, "Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion. I will be chaste and religious in my life and in my practice."

I believe the unfortunately-named, but thoroughly reasonable Oath of Lasagna is more popular in the US nowadays?


I didn't quote in support of the hippocratic oath, but to point out that the problem noted in the post isn't a new one.
posted by twl at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2008


"Science is your only guide."

"Sometimes medical help means mercy, not prolonging life."

So in which peer reviewed scientific journal do I find the science of mercy?

In fact, what scientific principle is it that tells us science is the only guide when providing medical care? "Science is your only guide" is an ethical principle and thus self-contradictory.
posted by Jahaza at 6:08 PM on August 25, 2008


Ah, so you're the one who gets to decide which religious arguments are valid and which are not.

I'm the one who noticed that mormon doctrine does not hold that doctors should not operate on black people because they might catch a "curse of ham" that was never described as catchable in the first place

i've also noticed that no one has come up with any facts that contradict my statement that this is a fallacious argument

---

It's also complete bullshit to claim that the 9/11 hijackers believed that they were "defending innocents"

that's not what bin laden said on oct 7, 2001

"The nations of infidels have all united against Muslims. You American people - can you ask yourselves why [there is] all this hate against America and Israel? The answer is clear and very simple, that America has committed so many crimes against the nations of Muslims"

sure sounds like he thinks he's protecting the innocent to me

you see guys, this is the internet - you do not have to stay in solipsistic bubble land listening to each other mouth your empty and vacuous opinions to each other - you can actually fact-check and research things and back up your arguments with something the rest of us call "dealing with the real world"

but i keep forgetting that you prefer arguing over thinking

bye
posted by pyramid termite at 8:40 PM on August 25, 2008


I'm the one who noticed that mormon doctrine does not hold that doctors should not operate on black people because they might catch a "curse of ham" that was never described as catchable in the first place

i've also noticed that no one has come up with any facts that contradict my statement that this is a fallacious argument


You have not shown that it is fallacious. YOU don't get to decide what someone else considers to be compelling doctrine. I didn't say that it was 'official' Mormon doctrine - you just ran with that and then proclaimed that since you say it ISN'T, apparently nobody could use it as a 'moral' reason. Try again.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:01 PM on August 25, 2008


There's no shortage of couples who are waiting to adopt children. Especially unwanted newborns.

Well, unless you're gay or lesbian or unmarried
(either single or coupled). In which case, I guess it's better for those kids to grow up in the system, apparently.
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on August 26, 2008


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