Luckily for me, I retired from medicine just in time.

If the Obama administration has it’s way, I would be fired for not giving out abortion pills.

Because quietly, the adminstration has released a proposal to remove HHS regulations recently added by the Bush administration that reinforced the 1964 Civil Rights act that said companies could not fire a person for following his religion.

As I mentioned before, the problem with this law was that it didn’t cover ethical decision by non Catholics, but the Mainstream media will spin this as something only wanted by the rabid “religious right”.

The press even has groups of Vichy-Catholics to help them in the spin.

First Things notes:

Their strategic goal seems clear: to nail down the “pro-life/pro-Obama” position pioneered by Douglas Kmiec and others, and indeed to extend it by arguing that the “universal health care” to which the Obama administration proposes to lead us is the real and overarching pro-life position, irrespective of the administration’s reversal of the Mexico City policy, its likely assault on the conscience rights of Catholic health care professionals…

The plan of the Obama administration to remove protections for physicians, pharmacists and others who follow the Hippocratic ethic is serious, if for no other reason that they are sending the message to health care providers that dissent will not be tolerated.

How serious is the “dissent”?

A recent New England Journal of Medicine article shows some interesting statistics.

On the basis of these results, we estimated that when a patient requests a legal medical procedure to which the doctor objects for religious or moral reasons, most physicians believe it is ethically permissible for the doctor to describe that objection to the patient (63%) and that the doctor is obligated to present all options (86%) and to refer the patient to someone who does not object to the requested procedure (71%) (Table 2).

Translation: almost 30 percent of those who answered the survey would not refer the patient elsehwere, and 14% would not present “all options” to the patient.

The survey was biased toward female physicians (meaning younger feminist type female physicians). And it was lacking in foreign medical graduates (many of whom as Asian Muslims or Philippine Catholics would object to doing abortions).

And the survey was about the morning after pill and abortion. The numbers are more stark if you discuss details.

So how widespread it the problem?

 The proportion of physicians who object to certain treatments is substantial. For example, 52% of the physicians in this study reported objections to abortion for failed contraception, and 42% reported objections to contraception for adolescents without parental consent.

Does the Obama administration actually want to take away the right of conscience to the majority of physicians?

And what will happen when the federal government takes over medicine? Will government mandates also try to mandate health care providers go against their ethical beliefs?And if they do, will physicians through their Medical societies object? Will the unions that represent the nurses and pharmacists object if their members are fired for following their conscience not to give out abortion pills or fatal doses of barbituates?

Yes, I said barbituates, because what is missing in the discussion is euthanasia.

It is there in plain sight, but only if you happen to know that four of six “ethicists”quoted in the paper are on the forefront of promoting legalized euthanasia. These ethicists all insist that physicians “may” have an obligation to transfer patients to places where they can get the care.

Add to the mix a recent California law mandates physician discuss all “end of life” options to their dying patients, and the recent legalization of “physician assisted suicide” in Washington and Oregon, and the probability of medical rationing under a federalized health care mandate,  and one can see where the discussion is leading.

Or perhaps I should say the non discussion is leading.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes medical essays at HeyDoc Xanga Blog.

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