A number of us in the blogosphere have been outraged by Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services’ desire to put the arbitrary wants of doctors before the needs of patients. At first it was just a draft proposal, but now Mike Leavitt is pushing to implement the changes. Soon, it may be legally acceptable to deny you a needed health service because the health care provider thinks your decisions are immoral.
I’ve already written several times about why there can be no “conscientious objectors” in health care. This law would essentially allow doctors to ignore the standard of care set by their professional organizations. Let’s hear a bit from Leavitt himself:
I have on two previous occasions written in my blog about the principle of health care provider conscience. Federal law is explicit and unwavering in protecting federally funded medical practitioners from being coerced into providing treatments they find morally objectionable. This became a topical matter when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued guidelines that could shape board certification requirements and necessitate a doctor to perform abortions to be considered competent.
Physician certification is a powerful instrument. Without it, a doctor cannot practice the specialty. Putting doctors (or any one who assists them) in a position where they are forced to violate their consciences in order to meet a standard of competence violates more than federal law. It violates decency and the core value of personal liberty. Freedom of expression and action are unfit barter for admission to medical employment or training.
As Secretary of Health and Human Services, I called on the organization that oversees Ob-Gyn board certification to alter its guidelines to assert that refusal to violate conscience will not be used to block board certification. Their answer was dodgy and unsatisfying.
What a load of bullshit. This is only one example, but performing a D & C is a basic skill of obstetricians. It isn’t just used for elective abortions. According to the AMA News, this is the ACOG position (ACOG’s site is members-only):
The ACOG Committee on Ethics opinion says doctors whose personal beliefs may require them to “deviate from standard practices” such as providing abortion, sterilization or contraceptives should:
* Give patients prior notice of their moral commitments and provide accurate and unbiased information about reproductive services.
* Refer patients in a timely manner to another doctor who can provide the requested service.
* Provide medically indicated services in an emergency when referral is impossible or might affect a patient’s physical or emotional health.
* Practice close to physicians who will provide legal services or ensure that referral processes are in place so that patient access is not impeded.
This doesn’t even require an OB to perform an abortion! The Theocratic Right will not be satisfied until women are controlled. This isn’t a disagreement on ethics, it is a fundamental disagreement about human rights, specifically women’s rights. It is a blatantly misogynistic piece of discriminatory legislation that turns health care providers into preachers.
In fact, I can’t help thinking it’s the Bush administration’s final “fuck you” to the American people. The Theocratic Right knows it’s finally lost it’s battle to turn America into a legally Christian nation, and in its death throes, it’s taking one more fascist swipe at the American people.
They should be ashamed. But of course, they have no shame.