September 13, 2008

Protecting Patient's Rights

There's an amazing article up at RH Reality Check about the consequences of the proposed HHS rule that's meant to protect heath care provider's rights to practice according to their beliefs... I guess? Something like that. I don't really get the logic behind it. Here's what the article says:

Dr. Brown argues that requiring him to give emergency contraception to Sally would violate his religious beliefs. "I shouldn't have to give up my religious freedom in order to be a doctor," he says. ...

How should the hospital go about fulfilling [its] responsibilities for patients like Sally? Should administrators fire Dr. Brown and replace him with someone who will dispense EC to rape victims? No, that would not be the preferable way of dealing with this situation, because there are far less drastic options available. Instead, the hospital could offer Dr. Brown a transfer out of the ER into another unit of the hospital where he would not be expected to dispense EC, and replace him in the ER with someone who has no objections to EC. Such an arrangement would be an example of a "reasonable accommodation" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so places an "undue hardship" on the employer's business. This type of careful balancing of competing rights is a hallmark of American public policy.


This, to me, seems like the most logical solution. I mean... why would you, as a doctor, take a job where you would be required to violate your personal beliefs, when medicine is such a broad field that surely other jobs are available? If your beliefs are that important to you, you should be willing to compromise to be able to follow them, instead of requiring other people to compromise for you.

So, if I ruled the world, that would be my solution. If a medical professional doesn't want to talk about/provide/refer for a certain drug or service or whatever, he or she should be given the option to do his or her job somewhere else. Because really, in situations like this, I don't care what the doctor believes about EC - The focus should be on the patient and what she needs to know to make an informed decision about her health.

On that note, there are TWELVE DAYS left before the proposed HHS rule becomes law. That's not a lot of time. If you haven't already done it, PLEASE contact Secretary Leavitt here and tell him your concerns.

1 comment:

pizzadiavola said...

why would you, as a doctor, take a job where you would be required to violate your personal beliefs, when medicine is such a broad field that surely other jobs are available?

I think the anti-choice people take those jobs where providing BC/EC/abortion-related services is one part of the job so that they can refuse to provide services. They think that they should be able to stop those women and girls from committing what they consider to be acts of sin - it's a "let me save you from yourself, you evil sinner" mentality akin to proselytizing.