An unconscionable conscience rule

Dec 26, 2008

Doctors take an oath to put their patients' interests first. A new Bush administration rule will change that. The so-called "conscience rule" is one of a host of last-minute regulatory changes being made in the waning hours of President George W. Bush's tenure in office.

The rule prohibits recipients of federal money from such programs as Medicare and Medicaid from taking any sort of disciplinary action against doctors, nurses or pharmacists who refuse to perform certain duties because of their convictions.

Under the rule, pharmacists are allowed to refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives or for medications associated with medical abortion. A doctor can refuse to tell a pregnant patient about the availability of abortion even if the patient asks about it and even if a continued pregnancy threatens the patient's life.

On the other side of the equation, the rights of some patients will be sacrificed. Some poor women, especially those who live in rural areas with limited access to care, will be unable to get complete information or get some prescriptions filled because of the new rule.

In some cases, a physician's medical decisions could, in essence, be overridden by a pharmacy technician invoking the new rule and refusing to provide prescribed drugs.

Offering appropriate abortion counseling or contraceptives is part of the standard of care for a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and epilepsy. The new rule would allow some doctors to choose a lesser standard.

That's dangerous and unnecessary. There already exists a large body of case law that protects the religious rights of medical practitioners. This ill-considered new rule goes beyond that. It could make it harder for hospitals to discipline incompetent doctors by transforming disciplinary hearings from investigations of medical competence into arguments about religious persecution.

Michael O. Leavitt, the Bush administration secretary for Health and Human Services, lauded the rule last week. "Doctors and other health care professionals shouldn't be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience," he said.

No such conflict should exist. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists choose professions that put patients' rights first. If they foresee that priority becoming problematic for them, they should choose another profession.

President-elect Barack Obama's administration can and should rescind the rule, even though the process will take time. Decisions about care are best made by a patient and a health care provider who places that patient's best medical interests above any other issue.

___

© 2008, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Corban
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 26, 2008
Doctors have a high degree of trust because of the Hippocratic Oath. Under threat of losing their license and looking like fools, they are compelled to serve their patients. Thus, patients trust them insofar that this threat exists.

But what if it's no longer a threat, and the doctor has leeway in determining how far they'll help? A little loss in trust, as we see in the financial industry, causes severe deleveraging. People will pull back.

Hell, if I knew there was a chance my doctor may omit certain information, as opposed to telling me and letting ME decide how much to risk, I certainly wouldn't trust him or her.
light_echo123
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 26, 2008
This is an abomination to allow the religious conservatives a foot in the door of the abortion / euthanasia debate. Absolutely and pathetically nothing less.
ancible
5 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2008
@light_echo123: "abomination", "Absolutely", "pathetically". If you allow yourself such strong emotions, won't the conservatives do the same? What has worked in the past is calm rational discourse... of the type that Corban posted.
derricka
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2008
Once word gets out, some patients will begin asking doctors about their political views. Doctors failing to answer, or answer satisfactorily, will end up on blacklists, and start losing business. What a position for a doctor to be in. Clearly, the Hippocratic oath serves patient and doctor alike. Don't mess with it.
freethinking
2 / 5 (8) Dec 28, 2008
The Hypocratic oath states do no harm. Lets be honest, killing an unborn child clearly violates that oath. I wouldn't mind however if doctors had to state if they would kill an unborn baby, that way people who want to kill their unborn children know which doctors to go to without question. But leftists don't want the truth, they just want to force those that don't believe what they believe to do what goes against their belief.

Forcing doctors and nurses to kill unborn children, and forcing pharmasists to prescribe items that go agaist their concience is just another example of leftists wanting to restrict what jobs Christians can do. Leftist do not want Christians to be doctors, nurses, pharmasists, teachers, pastors, colomunists, politians, printers, public servents.

Just a few examples are shown below.

http://www.consci...l36.html

Be involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters
http://www.family...cted.htm

Columnists
http://www.family...aper.htm

Teachers
http://www.family...dogs.htm

Pastors
http://www.family...sued.htm

Politician
http://www.family...arty.htm


Plurk
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2008
The Hypocratic oath states do no harm. Lets be honest, killing an unborn child clearly violates that oath.

Not if it is the lesser of two evils. While it is obvious that both sides in the abortion debate regularly exaggerate the position of the other side, this behaviour does not help the discussion in the slightest. Furthermore, christians can be - and in my personal experience, are - just as much in favour of abortion being an option in certain cases as, as you call them, leftists are.
When well regulated and (thus) deemed admissible from a medical and ethical point of view, abortion is a sound medical procedure.
freethinking
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2008
exaggeration is on the pro-abortion side, when ever the statement is brought up that abortion kills a child... they bring up the what happens if the mothers life is in danger. The fact is that very few abortions are done for the life of the mother, and in those cases, even pro-life people will agree to save the life of the mother. But, even then, a child is killed.

Christians cannot be in favor of abortions and state that they are following Christian principles. That said I do agree there are christians who have abortions... but there are christians who have affairs, who lie, cheat, steal, and some even justify their positions... but to say that having affairs, cheating, stealing are now christian principles is stupid and those that say they are, are ignorate at best. One major christian principle is not to allow the harm of children, born or unborn.
Soylent
3 / 5 (8) Dec 29, 2008
Lets be honest, killing an unborn child clearly violates that oath.


The fetus is not the patient, that's the mother. The fetus has no intelligence, no accumulated experience, no emotional ties, no feelings that warrant granting it any rights whatsoever before the pregnancy has progressed beyond a certain point(in many countries the limit is around the end of the first trimester).

The health of the mother is still the overriding concern; if it looks like carrying the baby to term is likely to kill the mother it's against the hypocratic oath of the doctor to not allow the mother the choice to terminate the pregnancy even in late term.

Religious people have the right to self-impose any kind of arbitrary rules they want on themselves, but not on others.
VOR
2 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2008
the bottom line lesson here is-dont just read and post here. Crap like this is why we must become more active. Support and participate in progressive organizations like moveon.org, etc. u want strong emotions?.. ok, repugs and dumb*** conservative thinking are a plague that infects the world. Irrational, literally primative, paranoid, intolerant thinking are their tradmark. Their enemies are common sense, science, tolerance for all races and sexual orientations. Despite the hype about terrorists, they are the true enemy of progress, human rights, healthcare and a heathy, happy population in general. They truely dont know what's best for everyone, only what their crude myopic dogmas tell them. And of course they dont support better education so we keep producing more of those ignorant f**ks. Hows that?
Dawkins
2.9 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2008
At the moment of fertilization, a new human life is created and is thus entitled to the same legal protections as every other human being.

What this means is that no action directed at the unborn should be lawful if that same action would not be lawful is taken against the born. In those rare instances in which pregnancy poses an immediate threat to the physical life of the mother, the physician should be required to do everything medically possible to save both mother and child. If, as an unintended consequence of this effort, one or both fails to survive, that would be an unavoidable outcome that does not conflict with the principle stated above.
VOR
2.4 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2008
Leftist are not against christians holding any position. We tolerate them and admire some of their qualities. What we and society in general must NOT tolerate is when Christians or any group impose their irrational, unhealthy policies on the rest of us. The separation of church and state has been eroding. The goal of Christians is to have their religious and moral codes become law. There is no god and it will not help us. Humans are the rulers of this planet with the power to create and destroy. Humans created the idea of God and humans continue to interpret those fictional writings in whatever way suites their inclinations. Although not always popular, we must instigate and continue conversations that question the rationale of religion and focus on the potential of humanity. We should echo the parts of religions that are wise, such as compassion, empathy, fellowship. But we must reject notions such as religious justification of war, intolerance of homosexuality, limited women's rights (in US as abortion rights, in some other countries more servere), prudishness to the point of sexual ignorance...the list is long, add your own.. One valid point about the hypocrisy of Christian anti-abortionism: if it were men that got pregnant you can bet the church would have a different view. Regardless of claims that abortion is about the fetus, it is really about women's rights. Even if it's well intentioned, it still gets it wrong. The emphasis should, again, be on eduction. Anti-abortionist IDIOTICALLY also are often against sex-ed. One fact about abortion that isn't publisized widely enough is that it dramatically impacts fertility. Abortion should be avoided at all costs, this means ENCOURAGING BIRTH CONTROL. DUMB*** ignorant bible thumping hypocrits want it both ways. they want no sex-ed, no access to birth control, and no abortion. Their abortion stance is the one that comes closest to making sense (but fails). We must account for the FACT the teenagers WILL ALWAYS rebel and act impulsively, its WHAT THEY DO. They need a better understanding of the consequences and good access to prevention. All forms of prevention, wether abstenance or contraception MUST be readily available and not taboo. Christians are NOT freethinkers. They are trapped in a box of circular, dogmatic, often self-conficting thinking that sometimes prevents them from making the best policy.
and limits their potential. To Chistians I say this: Go study world religion history, study the culture at the time religions were created. You will see how religion and god are inventions of man. Open your mind to searching for the best policies for all peoples, not just policies you learned in church or from your parents. If you are truely open-minded, you will find the complex, convoluded tapesty of humanity to be the only reality. You will ultimately see that it's only you (not some abstract god) that can make a difference in the world, for good or bad, by what you say and do.
VOR
2.5 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2008
At the moment of fertilization, a new human life is created and is thus entitled to the same legal protections as every other human being.

What this means is that no action directed at the unborn should be lawful if that same action would not be lawful is taken against the born. In those rare instances in which pregnancy poses an immediate threat to the physical life of the mother, the physician should be required to do everything medically possible to save both mother and child. If, as an unintended consequence of this effort, one or both fails to survive, that would be an unavoidable outcome that does not conflict with the principle stated above.


This is the core error of fetus-rights advocacy. Its typical black-and-white thinking. The truth is that a conceived zygote is NOT a person and should have NO rights. Its a 100% solid scientific fact. A zygote is no more a person that the separate sperm and egg.
SAYING A ZYGOTE IS A PERSON IS ANALOGOUS TO SAYING AN EGG AND SOME FLOUR IN A BOWL IS A CAKE. Its not a cake and NO ONE in their right mind would say it is. Yes, I'm saying you are intellectually insane and fanatical. Your claim makes no more sense than saying that condoms are killing unborn potential babies by preventing conception. The problem is that you can't handle the FACT that there is NO exact time a fetus becomes a person, its a gray area. One of the more profound 'gray areas' of our time. A zygote is NOT a person, a two-month fetus is NOT a person. An eight-month fetus IS a person. Get over it. And most of all STFU!! about stuff you have WRONG!. Ignorance is forgivable, but spreading falsehoods is evil!
Dawkins
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2008
Its typical black-and-white thinking.
Is typical black-and-white thinking wrong? When someone says V =I*R, in electronics, is this somehow irrational?

There are many stages of the human being, Zygote, fetus, baby, toddler, child, teen, adult. You and I were once Zygotes, we are also human beings with full rights at whatever stage of development. An egg and a sperm are not human beings, because there is no fertilization.

You mentioned that a two-month fetus is not a person, but somehow and eight month fetus is a person. How did you arrive at this? What about a seven month and 28 day fetus? What changed? This gray area speak about is not scientific. Please stick to science. Science tells us that life begins at fertilization. A little human being at whatever stage is still a human being with rights under the law.
Dawkins
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2008
One other point that you may not be aware of...
In the US, it is legal to butcher a baby all the way up to nine months of pregnancy. Now you say an eight month fetus is a person, and yet you defend abortion.

How do you reconcile killing little babies in the womb at eight months of pregnancy?
VOR
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2008
okay dorkins. Science doen't tell us life begins at zygote. The PROCESS of becoming a person begins at zygote. If you cant tell the difference between the beginning of a process and its fruition then you are truly a moron. Likewise if you think the twinkle in a young mans eye or a zygote have rights. As I said, its fine for you to be so wrong. The problem is you spread that disease. You question how I arrive at an obvious gray area. You stupidly fail to see how your thinking is erroneously black-and-white. Pregnancy is correctly a black-and-white condition. When a fetus stops being a POTENTIAL person and becomes a PERSON is a GRAY AREA. Something apparently laking inside of your cranium. Just because you are too f***** stupid to put it together gives you no right to claim it's a black-and-white condition. You are the posterchild of ignorance. And you are 100% factually incorrect saying a zygote has rights under the law. There is no law in existence that describes any rights to zygotes.
Leave the posting to those that at least make an effort to not spread materially false statements.
As its pointless I will respond to you no more.
VOR
3 / 5 (6) Dec 29, 2008
One other point that you may not be aware of...
In the US, it is legal to butcher a baby all the way up to nine months of pregnancy. Now you say an eight month fetus is a person, and yet you defend abortion.

How do you reconcile killing little babies in the womb at eight months of pregnancy?


from my previous post:" Anti-abortionist IDIOTICALLY also are often against sex-ed. One fact about abortion that isn't publisized widely enough is that it dramatically impacts fertility. Abortion should be avoided at all costs, this means ENCOURAGING BIRTH CONTROL."

If you were cabable of absorbing any new info you would have seen I defend not abortion, but a woman's right to choose abortion, though I discourage and dissapprove of its use as contraception. Actually its used as a recourse to failed contraception, mostly a failure to implement contraception. If self-righteous types could get over the BS and support sex-ed and abortion-ed, that would be the best thing they could do to reduce abortion. We should should be stuffing teens' pockets with condoms and filling their minds with the horrors of abortion. To tell them they should just not have sex until marriage is a rediculous goal. Not that we should encourage them, but we CANNOT stop them. Therefore we SHOULD be FULLY supporting them in doing it safely. But religious types can't resolve the conflict between their prudishness and the need to reduce abortion. So they persue an unwise and self-conflicted policy of sexual ignorance.


VOR
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2008
if you agree with my posts (and will excuse my passion) please vote them up since one person has voted them down. thanks.
thinking
3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2008
Interesting%u2026. Those that advocate abortion are either ignorant beyond belief, delusional, or just plain liars who wont admit the truth no matter how obvious it is.

A Jew is fully human, no matter what a Natzi says or believes.
A black person is fully human, no matter what a KKK member says or believes.
A unborn baby is fully human, no matter what an abortionist says.

I also find it very interesting that on TV that there have never been any medical shows showing an abortion. Why not? I just saw a show yesterday where doctors were removing growths from a person, if a unborn baby is just a growth, then there should be no problem in showing the products of conception (arms, legs, heads, body, etc) being removed from a woman. What about showing how they do partial birth abortion where the product of conception is removed, except for the head, then an instrument is plunged into the product of conceptions head killing it? Let the world see what an abortion is, let them see how the product of conception is destroyed. There is no reason why this shouldn%u2019t be shown. TV shows routinely show people and animals killed, all sorts or operations, sex, violence, everything you can think of are shown, but an abortion isn%u2019t. Is the reason it isn't the same reason Germans hid the killing of the Jews?

Now originally, the article was saying it was wrong that all doctors and nurses wouldn%u2019t do abortions. Forcing doctors and nurses to do abortions against their will is not tolerance. Forcing pharmacist to dispense what they consider evil (whether or not it is), is evil. I would accept a rule that doctors must state to their patients if they support the killing of unwanted unborn babies?

As a Christian one thing I want to say to those that have had an abortion, and even to the abortionists. You did kill a baby, no doubt about that. But our God still loves you, and you are not beyond His love and forgiveness. Christianity is unique, no matter what you have done, no matter who you are, God is ready to take you back and forgive you. Christianity is one of the easiest and hardest religions to belong to. Easy because all you need to belong is to believe. Hardest because you have to admit who you are. So many people reject Christianity because they have to admit committing adultery was wrong, killing their unborn baby was wrong, stealing was wrong, etc and etc. But as they say, the truth will set you free%u2026.To those thinking of having an abortion, please find the nearest crisis pregnancy center, and they will help you, and tell you the truth about the baby inside you.

For the record, I support truthful sex-ed. I had a conversation with the head of sex education department of a school board, I asked them if they would teach truthful sex education to students, he said no, because it would be teaching morals and they cant teach morals.

I support birth control, though I support pharmacists rights not to sell them, just as I support book stores right not to sell bibles.

I support being allowed to speak the truth. I support freedom of religion, and separation of state and church (not church and state, as religious people should be actively involved in the affairs of the state, but the state should stay out religion.)
Dawkins
3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2008
We should should be stuffing teens' pockets with condoms and filling their minds with the horrors of abortion. To tell them they should just not have sex until marriage is a rediculous goal.

Why is abstinence a ridiculous goal? It was once the norm in this country. Children are much better off and perform statistically better in school, growing up in a stable marriage between a husband and wife. The problems you see today, and the anger that you can see being expressed in these postings is due to a large degree, by the breakup of marriages and the deception that sex outside of marriage has no consequences.

The earliest financial backer of Planned Parenthood was the Playboy foundation, because they recognized that you can't have a playboy mentality unless you get rid of the consequences of the free sex anything goes mindset.

I'm glad to see that you recognize the horror of abortion, the intentional slaughter of defenseless babies in utero.

For those of you reading this, and want to find out more...
http://www.100abo..._Photos/
Plurk
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2008
Why is abstinence a ridiculous goal?


Not ridiculous per se, but it does seem to be misguided and inadequate. It was recently reported again that virginity pledgers - for example - only differ from other teens when it comes to using less protection, while they have sex just as often.
Don't get me wrong, I agree it's admirable to save ones virginity for 'that special person', but I don't agree that should mean waiting until marriage.

And as for abortion being horrible, yes it is. And it should be avoided at all cost. Late term abortions especially so. That does however not mean there can't be good reasons to make such a hard choice.

But all in all I'm pretty content with how abortion is regulated here in the Netherlands. As I understand it, abortion in the first term is possible as an elective procedure. Counseling and a waiting period are required. After the first term a medical (or in rare cases a psychological) indication is required and cases are to be presented to a review board for authorisation. As it is, the Netherlands ranks among the countries with the smallest number of abortions.

I must add I'm a bit disappointed with the shameful stereotyping and generalisations in the comments so far.
AMMBD
2.8 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2008
"Above all, I must not play at God." seems this clause of the modern incarnation of the Hippocratic Oath is violated by this asinine & unnecessary rule rammed through at the last minute by the fundies.

"Doctors, nurses and pharmacists choose professions that put patients' rights first. If they foresee that priority becoming problematic for them, they should choose another profession." succinct & to the point.
Falcon
3 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2009
The Hypocratic oath states do no harm. Lets be honest, killing an unborn child clearly violates that oath. I wouldn't mind however if doctors had to state if they would kill an unborn baby, that way people who want to kill their unborn children know which doctors to go to without question. But leftists don't want the truth, they just want to force those that don't believe what they believe to do what goes against their belief.

Forcing doctors and nurses to kill unborn children, and forcing pharmasists to prescribe items that go agaist their concience is just another example of leftists wanting to restrict what jobs Christians can do. Leftist do not want Christians to be doctors, nurses, pharmasists, teachers, pastors, colomunists, politians, printers, public servents.

Just a few examples are shown below.

http://www.consci...l36.html

Be involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters
http://www.family...cted.htm

Columnists
http://www.family...aper.htm

Teachers
http://www.family...dogs.htm

Pastors
http://www.family...sued.htm

Politician
http://www.family...arty.htm



It seems that the rule allows greater freedom for the doctors to choose. This in my opinion is not a good thing. What if the woman were raped? Would the doctor hold out till the last minute in order to force her to have an abortion? Would you let a child live knowing what their bastard of a farther did to their mother? And that he may be capable of the same? This has already happened in N.O. Louisiana. An abortion doctor intentionally made raped women/girls wait so they were forced to rear the spawn forced upon them... I would like find a link to it, unfortunately it occurred circa 2005 and I cant find further info.