UPDATE, 1:55p: Shock, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards opposes the new HHS rule.
Here's the deal.
For over 35 years the US has had civil rights laws protecting health care workers from participating in procedures they find unethical or immoral, like abortion.
Yesterday the Dept. of Health & Human Services issued a regulation to ensure compliance with those laws.
Bottom line: If a health care entity gets government funding and violates conscience laws, the funding can be terminated, even retroactively, as in the entity may have to give $ back to HHS.
That's basically it. To reword, according to the Wall Street Journal:
[The rule] says hospitals, pharmacies and other entities that be charged with discrimination and lose federal funds if they pressure employees to take part in treatments to which they object on religious or moral grounds....
A brouhaha erupted in July when someone inside HHS leaked a rule draft definition of abortion stating life began at conception, "whether before of after implantation." This would have caused birth control pills and the morning-after pill to possibly be considered abortion drugs, since both can stop a 5-9 day old embryo from implanting in the uterus.
In the final rule released yesterday, HHS "declines to add a definition of abortion to the rule."
Further, the rule states, "[N]othing in this rule alters the obligation of federal Title X programs to deliver contraceptive services to clients in need as authorized by law and regulation."
But employees may decline to dispense. According to the Los Angeles Times:
The right-to-refuse rule includes abortion and other aspects of healthcare where moral concerns could arise, Leavitt's office said, such as birth control, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and assisted suicide.
One more thing. The new rule clarifies health care workers do not have to discuss abortion as a crisis pregnancy option if they have a moral problem with abortion.
Liberals and the abortion industry are adamantly opposed to the new HHS rule, leading me to conclude somebody somewhere is breaking civil rights conscience laws. Otherwise, what's the prob?
President Bush enacted the new rule just under the wire. He had until December 20 or President-elect Obama could have wiped it off the books with a stroke of the pen according to a rule stopping presidents from enacting last minute regulations.
Still, Obama can rescind the rule, which apparently he has promised to do. But it will take at least 6 months for incoming HHS Secretary Daschle to get that done.
Meanwhile, pro-abort Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray have already filed a bill to block funding of the new rule. But this wouldn't erase it. The dormant rule would merely sit waiting for a more friendly Congress.
One other route to get rid of the rule would be for the new Congress to pass resolutions disapproving of it. But that would have to get done within the 1st 75 days, which is unlikely.
Here we see the so-called "pro-choice" community is not "pro-choice" at all.
So if I understand correctly, pro aborts do not believe health care workers should be given the "choice" to refuse to assist in or do procedures they oppose on moral and/or religious grounds?
That's evil!Posted by: Joanne at December 19, 2008 2:24 PM
Pro aborts are not tolerant.Posted by: xppc at December 19, 2008 2:36 PM
"Prochoice" means respecting all choices EXCEPT those that respect life.Posted by: Doyle Chadwick at December 19, 2008 2:45 PM
Its amazing how the pro-choice side operates sometimes. Why should I be forced to take part in an unethical or harmful procedure or prescription?
A lot of people think Pharmacies are like candy stores. Nobody realizes or respects that a pharmacist has a duty to be the intermediary between the patient and the doctor. Their job is to ensure that an injustice is not done at the hands of the doctor. If a pharmacist finds it harmful or unjust, they should not be forced to take part. Its their job.Posted by: Oliver at December 19, 2008 2:55 PM
Joanne, yes, I've been thinking about this, and although I'm sure Obama will figure out good spin lines to undo this, it still seems to me it will be hard to explain.Posted by: Jill Stanek at December 19, 2008 2:58 PM
the "Spin" is that no one should be denied heath care because of someone else's religious views.Posted by: Hal at December 19, 2008 3:11 PM
Hal - health care as in abortion. You believe all health care workers should be compelled to participate?Posted by: Jill Stanek at December 19, 2008 3:34 PM
the "Spin" is that no one should be denied heath care because of someone else's religious views.
Posted by: Hal at December 19, 2008 3:11 PM
they are not being denied health care. They have many other options to seek out the health care they require. Often it is about forcing their beliefs on others. While much is made of the Christians forcing their beliefs on others, no mention is made of secular humanists stuffing their beliefs down Christians throats, often with a great deal of biased, bigoted intolerant judicial weight.Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at December 19, 2008 3:38 PM
Actually, Jill, I don't. However, I'm more unsure for pharmacists and birth control. Seems like that's part of the job.
However, I tend default to personal freedom. On the other hand, there is no right to government funding. This regulation only applies to entities receiving federal funding. People give up all kinds of rights for government money. Colleges must cut off aid if you've ever had a marijuana conviction, states must set the drinking age at 21, etc. It's one of the problems with a powerful federal government.
This rule includes *any* procedures that the health care worker (including the janitor or the receptionist) might find objectionable. This is not just about abortion or sterilization. If you read the writing of the regulation it is vague enough to be interpreted in other ways. This means if a doctor is a Jehovah's Witness they can opt out of telling their patient about getting a blood transfusion. Women who are wanting to make appointments to get on birth control could be denied their appointment by the receptionist who objects to it. It's one thing to have a clinic that specifically caters to a particular ideology, but it's another to *force* another clinic of a different ideology to hire someone who isn't going to do the job they were hired to do.Posted by: idgogayforj at December 19, 2008 3:47 PM
Perfect ruling for ACLU to defend if Obama tries to remove it.
If Obama wants to remove the civil liberties of those that oppose abortion and morally are unable to participate, the ACLU must help. Just like if someone doesn't morally feel like saying the pledge of allegiance, The ACLU is right there to help. Muslims can't be fired for refusing to sell booze or pork.Posted by: xppc at December 19, 2008 6:19 PM
idgogayforj, would you support forcing pharmacists to dispense fatal drugs in order to facilitate someone's suicide?
"However, I tend default to personal freedom."
Unless it is a prolifer's freedom. Yes?Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at December 19, 2008 7:42 PM
A blood transfusion is different than an abortion or getting birth control. A better analogy is a doctor who refuses to mention plastic surgery to someone who needs it. No one needs birth control or an abortion. To call that basic health care is not, and has never been, a good faith statement. An accountant would not be "required" to tell a client about tax loopholes they believe are unethical.Posted by: Alex at December 19, 2008 8:05 PM
Blood transfusions SAVE lives. Abortions don't usually save a life (and BTW, the surgery for an ecoptic pregnancy is not considered an abortion).
Fine job you are doing Cameron.
I guess its possible someone is using his name, anyone care to IP check to see what this new crap is all about?Posted by: Oliver at December 19, 2008 11:32 PM
Joanne, yes, I've been thinking about this, and although I'm sure Obama will figure out good spin lines to undo this, it still seems to me it will be hard to explain.
Posted by: Jill Stanek at December 19, 2008 2:58 PM
Oh I have no doubt Obama will try and spin it.... and no doubt he will undo every pro life law signed by Bush and do so in record time.
I also find it repulsive how pro aborts refer to abortion as "health care."Posted by: Joanne at December 20, 2008 1:11 AM
Actually Oliver, someone can do that and more.Posted by: Chris Arsenault at December 20, 2008 6:53 AM
I guess Cameron really had nothing to say. Well that was fun while it lasted.
Again, very fine job he was doing here, very fine.Posted by: Oliver at December 20, 2008 8:18 AM
the "Spin" is that no one should be denied heath care because of someone else's religious views.
Posted by: Hal at December 19, 2008 3:11 PM
We were not speaking of healthcare. We are speaking of killing life. That is not healthcare. You don't know the difference?
You seem to struggle with the concept that a healthcare worker also has a serving responsibility to the "health of the unborn".
These may indead be real healthcare workers and not morticians or deathcare workers.Posted by: xppc at December 20, 2008 8:22 AM
The pro aborts try to create their own reality. Take a mom to a nurse or doc and that nurse or doc can refuse to be a mortition. Mortuaries don't deny women that died from a botched abortion and they still take dead babies. That is their business.
The paharmicists in my family and the parmaceutical reps also deny selling drugs without a prescription. They are allowed that moral conviction. Obama will have a confrontation and it will be a lot of work to spin.
Opposition to abortion is not necessarily religious, its also moral and ethical. The civil rights movement was led by a minister and very religiously oriented. Did that make civil rights a religious issue? No. It was an important moral and ethical issue, even if people of faith served and led the cause.
Suppose a plastic surgeon turns down the request of a plastic surgery junkie because the surgeon feels the junkie is in desperate need of a mental health professional, not more plastic surgery.
Is that patient being denied his/her rights? Does the plastic surgeon not have the right to refuse to perform a procedure he/she cannot in good conscience perform?
Also, doesn't the patient have the option to seek help elsewhere? What if the patient argued that this is a real nuisance to travel elsewhere to find a plastic surgeon?Posted by: Mary at December 20, 2008 10:15 AM
I wonder if Mary or xppc would support the concept if their family member was brought to the emergency room after a car accident and were denied treatment because a doctor or nurse didn't "believe" in treating someone who was over 70, who was obese, the "wrong" ethnicity, etc. etc. etc.Posted by: Bystander at December 20, 2008 2:50 PM
Don't be absurd.
Denying a patient emergency care for any reasons you mention is never moral or ethical. Any doctor or nurse who will refuse to care for a patient for any of the reasons you mention has no place in medical practice.
Tell me Bystander, how would you respond to my post concerning the plastic surgeon? Let's say the patient is adamant he/she does not need therapy and wants the procedure done? Do you think the plastic surgeon should still have the right to follow his/her conscience and ethics and refuse?Posted by: Mary at December 20, 2008 3:07 PM
Abortion has nothing to do with 'health care' unless you equate pregancy with a sexually tranmitted disease.
Pregnant women are not cursed, diseased, ill, sick, infirm, moribund, malingered, afflicted, infected, infested, simply because they have conceived.
Pregancy is a perfectly normal condition for women who are fertile.
'Elective abortion' is not therapeutic, it is cosmetic.
Therefore no 'health care worker' should be required to participate in any way in an abortion who has an conscientious objection to the procedure.
Some contraceptives are abortifacients. Pharmacists who have a conscientious objection to abortion should not be required to dispense any drug which they believe would involve them in killing a human embryo/fetus.
There is an old legal maxim that goes something like this, 'Extreme cases make bad law.'
Some 'choice extremist' can sit around and dream up a scenario where someone might be harmed by NOT requiring health care workers to participate in the abortion process.
I cannot imagine a dentist or a dental hygenist,or dental assistant ever opting out of a wisdom tooth extraction because of a conscientious objection.
This debate is the result of a predictable devolution in society whenever the constraints of prior world view are being discarded and replaced by the values of the new world view. First is the theoretical consideration, then the desensitation, then the inculcation, then the acceptance, then the tolerance, then the condoning, then the approval, then the ecouragement, then the blessing and finally the participation of the those who still cling to their God, their guns and their religion, who harbor an antipathy to those who seek to destroy any vestige of the prior world view.
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at December 20, 2008 3:17 PM
No Mary 3:07 what is absurd is your comparision of a request for purely elective plastic surgery only for purposes of vanity with a patient's right to have their doctor's prescription filled.
Refusal to fill prescriptions because of one's opposition to birth control, or one's belief that old men should not get viagra, or that old people should not get heart medicine is inimical to health care and the rights of patients.
Pharmacists and doctors who are so obsessed with their religious beliefs that then cannot serve the medical needs of patients should resign.Posted by: Bystander at December 20, 2008 5:30 PM
I'm talking about the right of a practitioner to refuse a service because it violates their ethics or conscience. If a plastic surgeon isn't going to provide a service, then he or she shouldn't be practicing plastic surgery, right?
Who cares if its for vanity or what it is, its the patient's choice, right? Where does the plastic surgeon come off dictating to the patient?
Please address my question Bystander, does the plastic surgeon have a right to refuse this patient?
Is there a shortage of pharmacists? My midsize city has all kinds of them. If one refuses your birth control prescription, go to another. Old people shouldn't get heart meds? Please Bystander, that's a stretch.
Should grocers who are so obsessed with their religious beliefs not be allowed to open a business? Hindu grocers will not sell meat. Moslem grocers will not sell pork or alcohol. If they aren't going to serve the needs of the entire community, then they shouldn't be allowed to open stores, right?
I trained at a hospital where the majority of OR staff refused to be involved in the occasional abortion. These weren't particulary religious people, it just went against their ethics and conscience. Some in fact supported abortion but would in no way involve themselves in it. Should they have all been fired?
Bystander: "Pharmacists and doctors who are so obsessed with their religious beliefs that then cannot serve the medical needs of patients should resign."
So should a doctor prescribe excess pain killers so that a patient can abuse the drugs? What if a doctor does such a thing, should a pharmacist just go along with it? Of course not. Why is this? It is because one of the first oaths you make as a health provider is TO DO NO HARM. If a doctor, for religious reasons or not, decides a certain prescription does harm, that doctor should not prescribe it, and if the doctor does prescribe it, the pharmacist has a DUTY to not administer the drug.
Birth control and abortion is not really a religious issue. It is an ethical issue. A doctor has every right to view abortion as the killing of a patient for another without meeting the necessity qualification. This has nothing to do with God, it is unethical.Posted by: Oliver at December 20, 2008 8:04 PM
The bottom line is that the worst president in US history is gone in 30 days, and this rule, like many of his other parting shots at the rights and health of Americans will be thrown out shortly after him. Good riddance.Posted by: Bystander at December 21, 2008 9:39 AM
I'm glad to see you support freedom of conscience.
You still haven't answered my question concerning the plastic surgeon.
Also, should the OR staff that refused to be involved in abortion be fired?
Should the Hindu and Moslem grocers be denied their religious freedom and forced to sell meat, pork and alcohol?
Mary the reason Bystander won't or can't answer the question is that he is all for freedom of conscience unless the person using their conscience has a relgious basis for doing so.
We are talking about people whose occupation is to heal and who are being asked to prescribe or commit and act that is not healing. Abortion is certainly not healing to the baby. No one should be required to participate in any way in abortion just as no should be required to participate in euthanizing a patient which will be the next "right" that we have to "respect".Posted by: toostunnedtolaugh at December 21, 2008 3:12 PM
Mary of course any plastic surgeon has the right to refuse to do a purely elective vanity surgery, for any reason or for no reason. By contrast, if someone comes into the emergency room with their face horribly mangled from an accident, the plastic surgeon on duty is required to render aid.
Of course no grocer is required to carry items they don't want to carry, that is just silly.
Doctors have never and will never be required to participate in an elective, non-emergency abortion. By contrast, they are required to render aid to save a woman's life in the event of an ectopic pregnancy, or prescribe the morning after pill after a reported rape.
A pharmacist is licensed and required to provide the products prescribed, and should not be allowed to substitute his or her judgment for that of the doctor. A pharmacist refusing to fill precriptions, or providing drugs not prescribed should have their license taken away.
If medical personnel can't practice medicine without forcing their beliefs on others, they need to get into a new line of work.
Hope that answers your questions.Posted by: Bystander at December 21, 2008 3:47 PM
So we agree a doctor, or any business person for that matter, can exercise their conscience, whether it is religiously based or not. A plastic surgeon refuses a "vanity" surgery for no reason? Then he/she shouldn't practice plastic surgery now should they? The plastic surgery patient and the grocer customers would just have to go elsewhere.
Excuse me Bystander but pharmacists have every right to question a doctor's judgment and can refuse to dispense drugs or dosages they see as harmful. I have seen pharmacists do it. Again I ask is the pharmacist shortage so acute the woman could not go elsewhere to get her prescription filled? Is there some crisis of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for women?
Live with it Bystander, medical professionals, pharmacists, your local storekeeper all have every right to freedom of conscience and to not engage in any practice that violates their religious or ethical beliefs.
I've got another one for you. Years ago, before routine ultrasound, a woman asked one of our OBs for an amniocentesis to determine the sex of her baby. If it was female she planned to "get rid of it". The physician refused, informing her she would have to find another doctor if she wanted this done. Lucky for the little girl she gave birth to.
Should this doctor have been practicing medicine, being that medical personnel shouldn't be forcing their beliefs on others? What gave him any right to inflict his morality/ethics on his patient, to refuse to give her what was a perfectly legal medical procedure? By the way, I know this doctor had no religious convictions against abortion and in fact supported it.
Bystander: "A pharmacist is licensed and required to provide the products prescribed, and should not be allowed to substitute his or her judgment for that of the doctor. A pharmacist refusing to fill precriptions, or providing drugs not prescribed should have their license taken away."
This is a commonly misheld belief about pharmacists. They are not simply drug machines. They are supposed to stand as intermediaries between the doctor and patient to ensure that the doctor is not prescribing a dangerous drug or dosage.Posted by: Oliver at December 21, 2008 5:05 PM
Exactly. I also tell people who want advice on drugs to call the pharmacist. Believe me, he/she is by far more knowledgable than any doctor I have ever encountered.Posted by: Mary at December 21, 2008 5:08 PM
I cannot understand your double standards.
how does forcing your belief on a health care professional differ from them denying doing a procedure they don't want to do for their beliefs? The whole pharmacy's need to fill this and that is hogwash and everyone knows it, there's a $@^@ wall greens on every corner, if your local pharmacy won't give you birth control GO TO A DIFFERENT PHARMACY... we don't force Indian owned grocery stores to carry beef, same thing, the h@#L it ain't! oh but we need to force hospitals to administer the morning after pill for rape victims, why? If they want it, go to a different hospital, only 1 in 9 is run by Catholics or Pro-Life Evangelists, that leaves 8 out of 9 you can go to. The point is, your an idiot and clearly like most leftists extremists you live in small confines of your utopian socialists environment believing you are the progress of darwinism answered, when in fact your repression on others by forcing your beliefs on others places you behind neanderthal.Posted by: Rico at December 21, 2008 11:13 PM
Beware of unforeseen consequences. This diarist points out one of many implications of this ruling:Posted by: Ray at December 22, 2008 2:42 AM
What absolute claptrap. This doctor cannot legally deny anyone, drug addicted or not, in need of emergency care.
He can however refuse to prescribe any drugs he fears the patient will abuse or sell on the street. He can also refer the patient to drug treatment.
Get real. You think people that come in for shootings, stabbings, car accidents etc. aren't often drugged and/or drunk? Does this guy really think a medical professional can legally refuse a patient in need of care because of drug abuse? I've cared for all kinds of them and do now. Its never been and never will be my option or any other medical professional's to say I will not care for an intoxicated or drug abusing patient.
Just the kind of horse puckey one expects to read on Daily Kos.Posted by: Mary at December 22, 2008 10:18 AM
And just who is the referee who decides which care can be refused due to reasons of conscience and which can't, and which reasons of conscience are legitimate and which aren't?
The Kos diarist points out that the refusals he is suggesting violate the Hippocratic Oath. Allowing health care professionals to selectively ignore it strikes me as foolhardy and dangerous.Posted by: Ray at December 22, 2008 12:48 PM
As I pointed out in my previous posts, health care professionals have always had the right ro refuse to perform any procedure or engage in any activity that violates their religious or ethical beliefs. This is nothing new.
The post where I mention the majority of the OR staff refusing to perform abortions occured around 25 years ago.
There has never been any need for "referees".
If a Hindu storekeeper will not sell meat, you go to another store. If its an inconvenience for you that's unfortunate, but the storekeeper has a right to exercise his religious beliefs.
If a doctor refuses to perform an elective procedure, and doctors often will, a patient has the option to see another doctor.
If a pharmacist will not fill a prescription, and pharmacists have a right to make this decision for any number of reasons, including ethical/relilgious, you have the option to go to another pharmacist. As Rico and I have both pointed out, there is NO shortage of pharmacies in this country.
Mary, stay warm. I'm now down in GA and heck, it's even cold here!
You and I are often on opposite sides of arguments but you're my buddy.
DougPosted by: Doug at December 22, 2008 7:18 PM
Stay warm? Easy for you to say :):)
We are definitely buddies.
MaryPosted by: Mary at December 23, 2008 8:19 AM
I see single digits in northern Wisconsin, wind chills below zero...Posted by: Doug at December 23, 2008 8:53 AM
Bingo.Posted by: Mary at December 23, 2008 9:36 AM