Keep your freaking conscience out of my health care

That’s quite a goodbye kiss George W. Bush just blew America (not to mention a big wet one to the Religious Right). This from the Washington Post::

The Bush administration yesterday granted sweeping new protections to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, setting off an intense battle over opponents’ plans to try to repeal the measure.

Critics began consulting with the incoming Obama administration on strategies to reverse the regulation as quickly as possible while supporters started mobilizing to fight such efforts.

The far-reaching regulation cuts off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. It was sought by conservative groups, abortion opponents and others to safeguard workers from being fired, disciplined or penalized in other ways.

It would be hard to overstate the damage this absurd regulation could cause. Let’s say, for example, you want to fill a prescription for birth control pills? Maybe you even view this as your right, given Griswold v. Connecticut and all that.

Silly girl. It isn’t up to you (or your doctor) at all: it’s entirely up to the personal beliefs of the pharmacist on duty. If he (or she) disapproves of contraception in general, or simply disapproves of you getting contraception — because, say, you’re unmarried (you hussy) — he has an absolute right to refuse to fill the prescription.

And you’ll be left with no recourse, except perhaps to fume, unless you’re prepared to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy (assuming you have that option) until you find a less “morally committed” pharmacist.

It’s a question of priorities, I suppose. According to Bush and his new regulation, the pharmacist’s ethical objection to, well, you know, doing his job is more important than your constitutional right to privacy, not to mention your dignity as a person.

Even more troubling, of course, is the impact this rule could have on the rights of rape victims, some of whom will inevitably face interference in efforts to obtain emergency contraception. Given the time-sensitive nature of such treatment, an arbitrary “act of conscience” by a key hospital employee could doom the victim to an unwanted pregnancy by her rapist.

But then that’s the idea, isn’t it?

And we haven’t even touched on the most absurd aspect of this particular act of Bush & Co. stupidity. Under the literal language of the regulation, birth control clinics would be prohibited (at the risk of losing federal funding) from “discriminating” against job seekers who have moral objections to birth control. In other words, clinics could be forced to hire and retain employees who refuse, for alleged ethical reasons, to carry out the basic functions of their jobs.

It isn’t hard to see where this is going. If the regulation stands, antiabortion groups will soon begin sending “undercover” job seekers to abortion clinics associated with health care providers that receive federal funds, with the specific intention of sabotaging the clinics’ operations. “It is going to cause chaos among providers across the country,” predicted Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, quoted in the Post article.

But then that’s the idea, isn’t it?

Hopefully, Congress and/or the Obama Administration will find a way to quickly repeal this monstrosity. In the meanwhile, join me in praying for the rapid and safe arrival of the 20th of January

8 Responses to “Keep your freaking conscience out of my health care”

  1. keubel Says:

    If anyone working in health care has a problem with birth control, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the health care field. It is, after all, a health matter.

  2. keubel Says:

    If anyone working in health care has a problem with birth control, they should not be working in a health care field.

  3. mgrello Says:

    Gee, there must be (many) progressive pharmacists out there. So, theoretically, a pharmacists could, in protest, refuse to fill some conservative middle class older guys prescription for Viagra. Or refuse to fill some right winged talk show hosts prescription for hillbilly heroin. Or sell tranquilizers to hopped up fundamentalists who ain’t getting their peace from Jesus. And, even though the profits on these products is astronomical, their employers could not fire or harass them in any way. Let’s see how long this goes on before the fundies and right wing-nuts are clamoring for repeal.

  4. mgrello Says:

    Oh, I almost forgot, you could also send dedicated pro-choice applicants to Birth Right clinics looking for work, Muslims and atheists to religious hospitals, gay rights activists to “exodus” clinics, scientologists to pastoral care clinics. Let their hatred and intolerance be the seeds of their own destruction.

  5. pjtpdx Says:

    I used to work w/rape survivors as an advocate. At the local Catholic hospital there was a policy in place that stated a doctor could refuse to fill the Emergency Contraception request but another doctor had to be found and the survivor was none the wiser. At another hospital the survivor was refused EC and when I asked, rather firmly, why, the doctor had the nerve to say with a straight face that he “wasn’t familiar enough with this medication to prescribe it”. I asked that he find another doctor who would and… well, it just never happened and, thankfully, this woman was resourceful enough to get it elsewhere.

    and, no, they never have trouble writing a ’script for Viagra… that is an urgent medical need.

  6. VettaKing Says:

    I have to tell you that if some religious nut pharmacist refused to fill my prescription he/she might have some serious problems quick. It wouldn’t be the smartest thing in the world, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Look for assaulted pharmacists very soon. People tend to get a little uppity when some pencil necked jerk behind a counter starts trampling their on their rights.

  7. Larkrise Says:

    George W. Bush is a vicious, disgusting, nasty little pipsqueak, who is determined to do as much harm to this country as possible in the time left to him in office. His behavior is reprehensible, his arrogance is relentless, and he can look in a dung heap for his damned legacy. I am counting the seconds, minutes, hours and days until this pathetic sham of a human finally gets his rotten carcass out of the White House. He has done so much destruction in every area of our society, that the repairs will take years. This business of forcing church onto state is but one area of his malfeasance. I think the bailout/TARP was a big fraud perpetrated on the taxpayer so Bush &Co. could drain the till one last time. And, I think that old bitch Pelosi and spineless Harry Reid knew about it and went along with it. I am so sick of politicians and their lies and schemes that I could puke. Some of Obama’s appointments arent that great, either. Salazar is a good example. Bush and Cheney have given the green light to fraud, corruption and habitual lying. They have set the tone and the example for 8 years. Everything they have touch is corrupted, from billions wasted in Iraq, to billions wasted after Katrina, to billions unregulated to Wall Street crooks and thieves. No wonder Cheney wants no transparency in government. The rotten wretch has had his sticky fingers in the cookie jar from day one. If we could examine all of the offshore accounts and Swiss accounts, we would despair at the names that really own them. A tangled web of holding companies hide the truth. These politicians make the Mafia look like choir boys.

  8. ptsf Says:

    Everything cuts both ways: I would personally find it morally objectionable to assist in the aid of anyone who voted for Reagan & Bush the second times around. Honestly. These people abetted the rape of our country, and the near destruction of the world. Let them die.
    Not to mention the fact that we’re talking about people, which, as a factual matter, are a cancer on the Universe. But that’s another rant….

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