Thursday, September 25, 2008

Last Chance To Take Action: Reproductive Healthcare Regulation Which Would Put Patient Rights Last

This proposed HHS regulation titled Ensuring that Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices In Violation of Federal Law is being sold as protecting healthcare worker rights when it really allows healthcare workers to deny patients and customers (in the case of pharmacies) their legal rights to services and their legal right to have all the relevant information they need to make informed decisions. The result is that healthcare workers will be given the green light to discriminate, but they can't be held responsible for their discriminatory practices.

This regulation is discrimination which is being packaged as anti-discrimination. Abortion isn't defined which means that if an ER doctor feels that emergency contraceptives are abortions that person could deny those who have been raped a prescription and even refuse to inform a rape victim that there are ECs which could help prevent pregancy.

I suspect that many of those who would deny information or services to women will be asking invasive questions in order to decide whether a particular woman deserves those services. If a woman who was raped goes to a pharmacy for an EC that woman shouldn't have to disclose her rape or worse describe it in detail so that the pharmicist can decide whether this woman is a real rape victim who is deemed worthy of being given ECs under his or her belief system.

Public comments close tonight so please, if you live in the US, click on the link ASAP and leave a comment.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:07 PM   1 comments links to this post


At September 27, 2008 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who refuse to administer contraception usually cite the First Amendment and its guarantee of Freedom of Religious expression.

I think the courts would agree that a bit of responsibility comes with this freedom. One is free to express and hold one's own religious beliefs, but that does not give one the freedom to force one's religious beliefs on another. Every other individual is also free to hold and express religious beliefs, and other individuals' freedom is limited or curtailed if one individual believes he/she can force his/her own beliefs on another.

A health care provider who refuses to provide contraceptive services based on that provider's beliefs is not free to prevent a patient from receiving contraceptive services. If a pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for contraceptives based on religious beliefs, fine. That pharmacist would be in violation of the First Amendment if he/she tried to prevent the patient from getting the prescription filled at all, e.g. refused to return the prescription to the patient or refused to transfer the prescription to another pharmacy.

In that scenario, the Pharmacist would not only be violating the patient's First Amendment right. He/she would also be using his/her position as a health care provider to force a patient to accept his/her religious views.

That is decidedly unethical and out of line for any health care provider, regardless of his/her position.

I am a retired surgeon, caucasian male.


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