Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another IED Set To Go Off

Yet another time bomb has been planted by the outgoing Bush administration, and it's a really nasty one. It involves health care and the right of health care workers to refuse to provide it, according to the Los Angeles Time.

The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

It also seeks to cover more employees. For example, in addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to "an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments," the draft rule said.

The rule, which would take effect before President Elect Obama's inauguration, is indeed an unholy expansion of current law, as the article points out:

Since the 1970s, Congress has said no person may be compelled to perform or assist in performing an abortion or sterilization. One law says no person may be required to assist in a "health service program or research activity" that is "contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions." The HHS rule says that law should be enforced "broadly" to cover any "activity related in any way to providing medicine, healthcare or any other service related to health or welfare." [Emphasis added]

Who could possibly be in favor of such an expansive rule? Oh, just the usual suspects: the Christian Medical Assn. and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Their excuse (wait for it...) is that the new rule will not limit a woman's right to an abortion, only the right of a health care worker to save his or her soul.

Oh, please.

As the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has pointed out, such organizations are overlooking one of the most basic ethical tenets of medicine:

Last year, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a "patient's well-being must be paramount" when a conflict arises over a medical professional's beliefs. ...

"Although respect for conscience is important, conscientious refusals should be limited if they constitute an imposition of religious or moral beliefs on patients [or] negatively affect a patient's health," ACOG's Committee on Ethics said. It also said physicians have a "duty to refer patients in a timely manner to other providers if they do not feel that they can in conscience provide the standard reproductive services that patients request."
[Emphasis added]

If the rule is allowed to take effect, it will take months and months to go through the process of repealing it because, once again, public hearings and public input would be required. The only way to stop the rule from taking effect is for Congress to step in. Senator Clinton has already promised to engage that battle, which would be a fitting way for her to make her exit.

It would also be a fitting way for Congress as a whole to finally reject the Unitary President theory of this administration. After all, Congress is the body which is supposed to legislate. The president's job is to see that the laws so legislated are executed, not to engage in legislating his own bills. I suggested we let our congress critters know that we expect them to uphold the Constitution in this regard.

And as for the outgoing administration's latest gift to the American public...

For shame, Mr. Bush.

For shame.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, women in some states will be forced to have an ultrasound and to listen to a detailed explanation of that ultrasound prior to having an abortion. However, those administering the ultrasounds are not required (or cannot be sued) for withholding information about the fetus' health (i.e. birth defects).
Now, if the health-care provider does not want to give the ultrasound or explain it because they know the patient will still choose to abort the child, they won't have to--if they want to protect their soul?
My womb is government property!

5:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So if a Baptist doctor does not wish to save the life of a Jew or Catholic, he is legally absolved?

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! Now I can finally get a job in a hospital, and tell them as a Christian Scientist, it's against my conscious to provide *any* medical attention to anyone! Ka-ching!

And if they tell me that I still have to actually show up for work, why I'll just convert to being Amish and say I can't come inside because the doors are electric and the building itself isn't made of wood as order by God*.

*As far as I know. I'd look it up on Wikipedia, but we Amish aren't allowed to use a computers.

12:02 PM  
Blogger shrimplate said...

My religious convictions prevent me from providing medications and information to conservatives.

12:17 PM  

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