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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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109 Responses

  1. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    No, doctors, nurses and pharmacists should not have to leave their consciences at the hospital door, but they also need to perform the services for which they were hired — that is, providing health care.

    Exactly this.

    I wouldn’t hire someone who was Amish to drive a bus. If your conscience doesn’t allow you to drive a car….that’s okay with me. But don’t get a job drivign a bus and then refuse to start the car when the bus is full. And that’s just a damn bus, not a person’s health and well being.

  2. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm |

    Jill, thanks for an excellent post on this. What shocked me when I first heard about this a couple of hours ago and started looking for information from various news sites was that it was *nowhere* to be found beyond the Washington Post (which I think often has the best US-centric news coverage of any major outlet anyway). There were very slight blurbs on the websites of MSNBC and CNN that were relegated to the “health” section. Given your legal background, I was really hoping you’d post more details like this. Do you know how one could access a copy of this piece of legislation in order to figure out more about the details?

    I had a lot of the same thoughts about just how far this could go when I first heard about it. I mean, yeah, a doctor could decide that AIDS is someone’s punishment for being gay, or having a history of drug use, or having had unprotected sex… Seriously? How about: “Doctors should have a right to deny treatment to people who they find to be morally repugnant, *in addition to unchaste women.*

    So, I mean, let me get this straight… They’re arguing that *their* religious bigotry has to be protected *at the expense* of our access to healthcare? Potentially life-saving healthcare? Me, I wouldn’t be capable of carrying a safe pregnancy without putting my life at risk because of some congenital defects. And they’re no longer required to provide referrals or explain why they won’t provide the treatment. I mean, that could lead to lying and dishonesty across the board. To wit: “I won’t give you birth control pills because your slightly elevated blood pressure means they could put your life at risk.” So, anyway, yeah, “religious freedom” for them means their right to dominate, subjugate, and repress just as much as they fucking see fit. I want to throw something right now.

  3. 10G
    10G December 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm |

    Unbecoming or not, Jill, I’m with you–I DO indeed hope Karma (in whatever form) does interface with these people eventually. This is an OUTRAGE, but ya know…..it figures. I should’ve KNOWN this would happen, but silly me, I was hoping Dumbya would just end his reign of terror quietly. Figures. But…I’ve signed the online petition from NOW, and as big of a pain as this will be to take on, I have faith that we all can do our part to stop it. All it takes for evil to win the world…..etc.

    Also, EVERY single one of these anti-choice morons? Should be then FORCED to adopt an unwanted child. No argument. Hey, if they can impose their restrictions on OUR lives…..bullshit.

    For as arrogant as this country is about our superiority and treatment of our people, this is repulsive. Let’s give ‘em a helluva dog fight!!!

  4. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm |

    “What if a Scientologist decides that he shouldn’t have to leave his moral beliefs at the door, and refuses to write or fill any prescriptions at all?”

    One thing, though. I think you mean “Christian Scientist” here. They’re the ones who reject all forms of secular healthcare and treatment. Scientologists do receive healthcare and medications, but are opposed to psychiatry.

  5. belledame222
    belledame222 December 18, 2008 at 8:10 pm |

    Motherfucking fuckers. -spits- -rage- i hope to fuck it does get overturned, but it’s just…at -best- it’s yet one more shit mess we have to clean up before even getting to any sort of progress. At worst…well, it better be cleaned up in full, that’s all.

  6. queen emily
    queen emily December 18, 2008 at 8:14 pm |

    Bloody hell this is disgusting. Reversing the notion of “duty of care” in one fell swoop.

    Another group who will get it HARD are trans people, who already get really shit treatment by medical professionals now and will get it ten times worse if medical workers are allowed to use their “conscience” to not give care. Tyra Hunter was left to die while emergency medics mocked her for being trans instead of being treated–now potentially ok. Pharmacy people not filling your hormones? Also fine.

    Awful, awful, awful.

  7. Stlthy
    Stlthy December 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm |

    I don’t think I have words for how utterly insane this stuff is. I can only conclude, at this point, that the anti-contraception types are in fact pro-abortion, and want there to be many more of them. Given that the principal cause of abortion is unwanted pregnancy, I can’t think of a better way to increase the abortion rate than to deny contraception.

    And what the hell is with health care providers who refuse to treat ectopic pregnancies?!! These people would have to be the most blatant ‘sluts deserve to die’ wingnuts. Better to let a woman die from an ovarian rupture than to remove a doomed foetus, right?

    And really, shouldn’t the concept of freedom of religion include the right to not have some misogynistic fundie religion imposed upon oneself?

    This is really obscene.

  8. ol cranky
    ol cranky December 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm |

    including ultrasound technicians

    how convenient, don’t some states require the patient to view a sonogram of the “baby they’re about to murder” prior to the procedure? if the ultrasound tech refuses to perform his/her job, the tech can effectively prevent the abortion or render any that is performed illegal

  9. Angry Jenny
    Angry Jenny December 18, 2008 at 8:44 pm |

    I wonder if men seeing their doctors for erectile dysfunction will face the same harassing questions about their personal lives and whether or not they’ll be using their viagra/cialis for sex outside of marriage. Will pharmacists quiz the men about whether or not the prescription will be used for homosexual sex? Of course not – the idea that birth control equates to abortion is a red herring. Refusal to give/fill prescriptions for birth control is just a way to keep women barefoot and pregnant. The fact that we never hear of the same nonsense “conscience rules” being applied to men and the prescriptions they need is proof that this is anti-woman nonsense.

  10. JenniferP
    JenniferP December 18, 2008 at 9:01 pm |

    I wonder if we could create some kind of Lysistrata protest.

    1) Call our congresspeople, write letters to the editor.
    2) Refuse to have sex with our boyfriends and husbands until they call congresspeople, and write letters to the editor too.

    I keep getting into conversations with male Republicans who live in Chicago and who don’t get all hepped up about the social issues side of the party because everything is so left wing here – “What’s the worry? Democrats want to raise our taxes and take our guns away, that’s bad!”

    And then I have to have this conversation:

    1) Do you sleep with women?
    2) Just one woman or a lot of women?
    3) Okay, and do you try to make a baby every time? EVERY TIME?
    4) That’s right – every time. Because this is what the Republican party – or a certain faction that all you “don’t bother me about ladyparts, I’m just worried about taxes” folks have let take over – wants. They want to make a baby every time a penis goes into a vagina. Every time. Teenager? Baby. Raped? Baby. Ectopic pregnancy? Baby. One night stand with a douchebag Republican bartender? Baby. Could permanently damage or kill the mother? Baby. Could lose job, scholarship, housing? Baby. Can’t afford a kid right now? Baby.

    And then they act surprised, like that’s not really happening in America.

    Lysistrata time.

  11. William
    William December 18, 2008 at 9:11 pm |

    Let me get this straight…they claim the policy was enacted because some professional organizations were going to enact new standards and requirements? Well, at the risk of sounding like an asshole, who gives a shit? Membership in professional organizations is voluntary. I’m not a member of the APA because upper echelon APA execs supported the torture of prisoners. They did something I found repugnant, I resigned my membership. It’s called personal responsibility. Just because you have the freedom of conscience doesn’t mean other are obligated to subsidize your idiosyncrasies.

  12. Rob
    Rob December 18, 2008 at 9:23 pm |

    This is really bad. Those people chose to become doctors, nurses, healthcare providers of their own free will. No one forced them to enter that occupation and no one is forcing them to remain there. When they become qualified to do those jobs, they should have known what they were getting into.

    Refusals to treat ectopic pregnancies are especially despicable. As I posted on my blog, that is actually a pro-death position, using an argument that has undoubtedly been made before. (Of course, as Jill says, this is really about attacking women)

    Since this regulation attack on women’s health and reproductive rights is obviously intended to allow the Religious Right Wrong to moralize and attack others, I’d like to draw your attention to the Sheep and the Goats. (This is at Matthew 25:31-46, NRSV; for context, this ends a long series of parables, and is followed by the plan to kill Jesus):

    31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and He will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at His right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41 Then He will say to those at His left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45 Then He will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

    In other words, Jesus is saying that those who don’t help the sick (like the Religious Right Wrong) are going to Hell.

  13. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 18, 2008 at 9:27 pm |

    From the WaPo article: “Doctors and other health-care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience,” said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department Health and Human Services, which issued the regulation.

    Because letting health care providers commit medical malpractice is something that needs to be enshrined in federal regulations.

  14. ahunt
    ahunt December 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm |

    Here is the text of my comment that was deleted twice from Leavitt’s HHS comments board…cowardly SOB that he is:

    “Well, I for one am happy to know that soooo many doctors view their right to deny women access to and information regarding contraception as a matter of personal integrity, and not a matter of women’s health.

    I certainly would have all kinds of faith in physicians who put unshared moral values above the health and wellbeing of women. No really.

    I never thought of medical professionals as an enemy of my own physical health, mental well-being and yes, my financial security. I do now.”

  15. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses December 18, 2008 at 9:45 pm |

    No, doctors, nurses and pharmacists should not have to leave their consciences at the hospital door, but they also need to perform the services for which they were hired — that is, providing health care.

    I might be a little more pessimistic than you are about healthcare workers with religious or moral objections to certain things that come with the job description. There are a bunch of religious healthcare workers who believe it is their calling to enter a helping profession and later find that their desire to help people and their morals conflict. You and I agree that that’s totally reasonable and accommodations have to be made to respect the rights of both the professional and the patient or client. These healthcare workers actually care about their patients and clients and want to help them while still staying true to their values. They have integrity. These are the kinds of people you’re talking about in this post and who probably make up the majority of the healthcare workers who have certain moral objections.

    But then there are those who purposely choose healthcare fields to change the way the field works. Those are the people who open crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life pharmacies. They decide that they are going to become an ultrasound technician or pharmacist so that they can force their anti-sex values on others. This HHS rule is for them, not those who have a momentary ethical dilemma about the services they’re about to provide. These people have no respect for their patients and clients, and furthering their own religious agenda is above helping their patients and clients.

  16. Sara no H.
    Sara no H. December 18, 2008 at 9:49 pm |

    Let me know when this dude dies. It violates my conscience to not be able to piss on their graves as it is, but I suppose I can wait a bit. *gnashing of teeth*

  17. denelian
    denelian December 18, 2008 at 10:06 pm |

    why would anyone refuse to treat a woman going through a miscarriage?

    will these people also refuse to treat a woman who has suffered through a botched back-alley abortion? how many women must die to appeal their “moral conscience”?

    also… someone, please and i am quite serious – why do we not have artificial uteruses(utueri?) available? really? because, the way i see it, if someone gets pregnant when they don’t want to be, an artifical womb means that they can just transfer that little parasite, and it can be given up for adoption RIGHT THEN – and the bio mom doesn’t have to suffer and risk life and health, but there is not abortion, someone gets to adopt a baby, and the baby wouldn’t be subject to whatever the mother does (drugs, alcohal, yoga…)

    i seriously think that the only way we will truly achieve effect, actual equality is if pregnancy is removed from our bodies.

  18. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 10:16 pm |

    Maybe one day, even if it takes 20 years, he’ll be convicted of war crimes. I hope I’m alive when that happens so that I can go and spit on the sidewalk outside the prison.

    Memo to W.:

    Shoes are too good for you, you dog.

  19. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 18, 2008 at 10:46 pm |

    Honoes! Doctors who don’t want to provide healthcare might have to refer patients to those who will! We have to put a stop to this! People might get treated for things we’d rather they be maimed or killed by!

  20. nightgigjo
    nightgigjo December 18, 2008 at 11:08 pm |

    I’m having a hard time doing anything but curse a blue streak.

    Fuck you, W. Fuck you and your religious self-righteousness. Fuck you and your moralizing.

    Get the fuck out of the White House, and stay the fuck out of our bodies/business.

    (Sorry, ya’ll, will come back when I’m somewhat more coherent.)

  21. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 12:05 am |

    Internet connection issues again, so if you get multiples of this, I apologize. Feel free to delete after the first:

    preying mantis, you have simply got it wrong:

    “Honoes! Doctors who don’t want to provide healthcare might have to refer patients to those who will! We have to put a stop to this!”

    No, actually. This is not what this means. It was the *previous* regulations that compelled doctors who were unwilling to provide abortions to make referrals. In thirty days, medical professionals will be “protected” against the referral protocol. They will now be able to refuse referrals–and not only for abortions, but for a very wide-open array of possible medical needs (like access to birth control, possibly including emergency birth control after a rape; anti-retroviral medication; and treatment during a miscarriage). Doctors can do this *even* if the patient requires life-saving medical intervention, so long as they are upholding their “moral beliefs.”

    Sometimes, medical treatment cannot wait for one to find a decent doctor who is willing to provide the needed intervention or referral. Say, for instance, someone requires antiretroviral medication after possible exposure to the HIV virus. Said person must begin treatment within *three hours* of possible exposure in order for the medication to have *any shot* at killing the virus. Well, suppose sie winds up after a rape in the emergency room with a doctor who objects to ARV treatment? Well, so much for hir well-being, after all. HIV infection is a small price to pay for someone brazen enough to walk alone at night innit.

    In addition to the “freedom” from providing referrals, doctors will now be “free” not to explain their positions to the patient. Indeed, in the Righteous Name of Fighting Abortion, doctors might now be able to lie. What about… “You and your baby are perfectly healthy and are unlikely to suffer any major health consequences as a result of going through with this birth.” The mom and fetus might in fact be destined for a *clearly* untenable birth, but oh well… The mom and fetus might die, but at least not as a result of abortion! Or what about the gatekeeping of birth control? Doctors have already been known to withhold it from patients for faux medical reasons like marginally “elevated blood pressure.” Now they are *free* to do so even if they’re lying to avoid coming off as bigoted, misogynistic fucks.

    Now, then. When the medical profession’s “right to hold bigoted beliefs” trumps *my ability to access potentially life-saving treatment*? Goddamn right, we need to fight it. Anyway… Fuck you and your dismissive ignorance. Guess that about sums it up.

  22. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 12:09 am |

    I’ve got this nightmarish suspicion that this new “right” to withhold treatment for miscarriages has something to do with… Well, discriminating against those deemed to be the “cause” of the miscarriage of otherwise “unworthy” of care: I suspect, for instance, that this will be deployed as a means of withholding care from possible drug users, homeless people, immigrants, and others. I didn’t make the connection at first. I’d been thinking… “Why on earth would anyone want to withhold treatment during a miscarrage? I have a sick feeling that this is why.

  23. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 12:29 am |

    oh my fucking god, that just hit me like a ton of bricks. This is going to be even more dangerous, I think, than it looks on the surface. It potentially endows medical professionals with the “right” to decide who lives and who dies on a widespread level on the basis of their personal bigoted commitments. If this becomes a widespread effort that targets any particular group, it begins to look genocide. I don’t think the Patient’s Bill of Rights foresaw something like this possibility in our future.

  24. Oh bloody hell this is bad « Questioning Transphobia

    [...] to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs.  Jill at Feministe has pointed out that while this undoubtedly chiefly aimed at women’s reproductive freedoms, [...]

  25. Vegetarian
    Vegetarian December 19, 2008 at 1:03 am |

    Well, here is my plan. As a vegetarian, I am now going to get a job as a waitress. I will refuse to serve anyone who orders meat because it is against my moral beliefs. I will stand in the middle of the restaurant, and refuse to suggest another waiter. I will ignore the fact that steak is on the menu, that the customer requested it, that the chef agreed to it. Sure, when I took the job as a waitress, I should have expected that I would have to serve what was on the menu, and maybe I should have chosen a different restaurant, or even a different job. But screw you, meat eaters! I have a right to deny you legal things that are against my moral code. Of course, as a vegetarian, that is why I am NOT a waitress.

    I think everyone who has some moral objection and will refuse service should be required to wear a name tag that lists them all off, and offer a waiver to patients so they know up front who is going to deny them the legal and necessary medical services they might need one day. There should be a sign on the front door that lists it all. Otherwise, patients won’t even know what they aren’t being told.

  26. sleepyhead
    sleepyhead December 19, 2008 at 1:04 am |

    I think the ruling is BS. Seriously, I don’t give a fuck about their “morals.” Nobody should apply for a job they know full well their morals will keep them from doing fully, and every doctor/pharmacist/whatever should know that BC is part of the job. (Unless they only treat men–then it’s a vasectomy, but I haven’t heard many problems with that.) So I think they have no right not to do their job (as in, lie or refuse to tell a woman all her options–or a man, but I don’t see this getting applied to men).

    This is why I play sockandawe. I need to throw more shoes at the president.

  27. drakyn
    drakyn December 19, 2008 at 1:58 am |

    Thank you Bush, for signing an order for the murder of myself and every other trans* person in the US. And POC and people with disabilities; I’m sure they too are jumping for joy.
    Thank you for showing us how much you want us dead.

    Bush, I hope you die in extreme pain, alone, and knowing how utterly foul and loathsome you really are.

  28. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 19, 2008 at 6:25 am |

    Assholes.

    Morals, bah. Let’s not even get into that pissing match. Attack them on the basis of the marketplace. Where do you think warranties and return policies and disclosures cam from? Because caveat emptor wasn’t working, and consumer protection laws were instituted—at the demand of the people.

    Fight for a law that all pharmacies and healthcare providers have to disclose whether or not they are a full-service healthcare provider. In advertisements and on their front door. That way, customers can choose who to spend money with. Frankly, I don’t want to waste my time going to a pharmacy where there is a chance that I can’t get my prescription filled, depending on who’s on duty and how they feel about the “morals” of my medical condition. Gas might be “cheap” now, but it isn’t going to stay that way—I only want to spend money at pharmacies where there is a 100% chance of getting my prescription filled, at all hours that the pharmacy is open!

    Right wingers have made an industry out of exploiting the dividing lines between different groups. Divide and conquer is the name of their game. Let’s take a leaf out of that well-worn notebook and do the same damn thing—they love their “morals”, but they also love their “market”. And the interests of the market, consumer choice, “empowering the customer” yadda, yadda, are mainstream cultural values in the United States. Imagine if there was an outpouring of people from across the U.S. saying in effect, “hey, I’m not even going to waste time arguing about their right to a conscience clause to not dispense my prescription. They’re not going to convince me, and I’m not going to convince them. All I want is my prescription filled. I think pharmacies should have to disclose whether or not they have someone on staff during all hours of operation who will fill all prescriptions, including “controversial” ones like BC, EC, hormonal treatments, etc. It’s a win-win situation. People who can’t conscientiously dispense certain medications won’t have their time wasted by a customer they can’t serve; I won’t have my time wasted going to a pharmacy that can’t serve me.”

    And the marketplace being what it is, while the arguing is taking place in the legislature(s) about whether or not this is a rightful consumer protection issue like disclosure of interest rates, businesses with their eye on the bottom line will start advertising that they in fact, do always have someone on board who will serve their customers. And those businesses are the ones who will see more profit. These aren’t niche markets we’re talking about.

    Just so we’re clear, I am wholeheartedly against pharmacies not dispensing medicine. If you can’t conscientiously do your job, you need to change careers. I’m just thinking in the interest of expediency here. It would also take the piss out of these whackos to see an immediate, large-scale public reaction against them. After all, we wouldn’t be saying that anyone couldn’t follow their conscience, or that employers couldn’t hire such people, no! We would just be asking for the very reasonable request of knowing which customers can expect to receive service beforehand. Win-win, all the way around. It’s the “American Way”, right? ;-)

  29. Anti-Choice DHHS Rule Finalized : The Curvature

    [...] Feministe (where I originally intended on posting this until that jerk Jill beat me to it with a really good post), I’ve been relentlessly updating you on the proposed DHHS rule that aims to limit the [...]

  30. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 7:40 am |

    The whole document is here, for anyone who wants to read it:

    http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2008-30134_PI.pdf

  31. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 19, 2008 at 7:57 am |

    “No, actually. This is not what this means. It was the *previous* regulations that compelled doctors who were unwilling to provide abortions to make referrals.”

    Yeah, I know. I was mocking Leavitt’s rationale for this bullshit.

    “He cited moves by two professional organizations of obstetricians and gynecologists that, he said, might require doctors who object to abortion to refer patients to other physicians who would provide them.”

    He’s got his boxers in a twist not over health-care workers being required to do things they’re uncomfortable with or find immoral, but over the prospect of them being unable to unilaterally abrogate the patient’s ability to get the care full-stop.

  32. InfamousQBert
    InfamousQBert December 19, 2008 at 9:01 am |

    at Jennifer P: Lysistrata time

    THIS, is a great idea. nuff said.

  33. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 10:08 am |

    preying mantis: Ah, okay. Apologies.

  34. Randomizer
    Randomizer December 19, 2008 at 10:51 am |

    I don’t have the tech skill, nor the domain space, but somebody should start assembling posting a database with the names and contact information of every heath care “professional” that refuses to do their job on supposedly moral grounds.

  35. ACG
    ACG December 19, 2008 at 11:08 am |

    At the university where I work, faculty and staff have access to “Safe Space” stickers for their office doors to let LGBT/other students know that they have a safe, understanding person to talk to if they need it. It also has the advantage of identifying some of the people on campus who aren’t like that.

    I think we need a system like that for pharmacists and doctors. Pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and other health-care providers should put a blue star or something on their door to let women know that they can receive actual care inside. Pharmacists can put it on their nametags so a woman looking for Plan B can know who not to bother with. And establishments that won’t display the blue star can be boycotted into nonexistence.

    Or alternately, they could just, y’know, require health-care providers to provide health care.

  36. ACG
    ACG December 19, 2008 at 11:13 am |

    Randomizer, I was just thinking about that before I read your comment. The flipside of that could be a similar database of providers who are happy to offer any treatment that a woman might need, so that a woman in need of EC or BC or anything else could look online and find someone in their area who will actually help them.

  37. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:17 am |

    Randomizer and ACG: I agree that this is a good idea, but how are we going to know how widespread this is? Doctors are not required to explain these positions to patients. Hence, “your blood pressure is too high for birth control” even when it isn’t.

  38. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 11:20 am |

    How is this even remotely NOT a violation of the Hippocratic oath? And similar oaths by pharmacists and others?

    Even if Obama for some horrifying reason doesn’t rescind these rules, the professional organizations that are charged with maintaining the standards and ethics of the professions they organize and/or license should strongly condemn this and yank the membership of any health care professional who does harm.

    The Title X stuff is incredibly horrifying, as is the potential for harassment of janitors, construction companies, and support personnel. What’s next? Are going to start phoning power company workers and telling them that they can and should cut off the power during surgery because they morally disagree? Christ on a cracker.

  39. Randomizer
    Randomizer December 19, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    ACG I rather like your idea better since it is about positively rewarding good behaviour rather than mimicing the childish behaviour of the god-botherers

    Make no mistake, childish behaviour can be very menacing and violent — “Lord of the Flies” anyone

  40. purpleshoes
    purpleshoes December 19, 2008 at 11:56 am |

    I called, I wrote, it happened, and I was expecting it to happen anyway because no one seems to care about these things outside of the Feminist Blog Ghetto.

    Fine. What we need now is a clear list of questions we can bring to doctor or obgyn visits so that we can, ourselves, screen these people out and refuse care from them. We need to make the list of necessary questions easy to find and widely available. Possibly we need to make this an issue with our insurance providers – if there actually are gynecologists who are covered by our plans who refuse to do anything but try to get you knocked up, they should note that in their directory of in-network providers. We need purse-sized laminated copies to carry with us in case of medical emergencies. It sucks that if you go to the emergency room now not only will you have to figure out your insurance paperwork on the way in but you will also have to screen for pro-lifers refusing to do the job they were hired for. But I’m not going to sacrifice my health to that inconvenience.

    I am not qualified to make this list, because I am not a doctor and have never been pregnant. But we need to find a pro-choice OBGYN who understands this bill who can.

  41. Maria
    Maria December 19, 2008 at 11:57 am |

    Randomizer and ACG – who says we can’t do both. We can make it more extensive than simple will/won’t provide abortion/birth control services/referrals. I am still wanting a good database of providers that are women/lesbian/trans/etc. friendly. Why not start a large database similar to those sites about businesses – allowing people to post reviews, information, etc.?

  42. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 19, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    As a result of this, women and trans people are going to die. Bush is enabling gynocide. POC are going to die (as will, perhaps, certain white ethnic groups, such as Jews – I can imagine some right-wing xtian refusing to treat Jews because we haven’t “accepted Jesus”). Bush is enabling genocide.

    If Obama and the Democratics do not reverse this ruling, then they too will be enabling genocide / gynocide.

    I am so sick over this.

  43. Laurie in Mpls.
    Laurie in Mpls. December 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm |

    Question here, that is probably dumb, but I’m not seeing it spelled out:

    How did this thing get signed into action? Did this have to pass Congress, or is this just something BushCo pulled out of his/its ass? I should probably have more of a clue as to how this process works, but I don’t. Please help.

    Once I know who to lambast, I shall. :)

  44. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 19, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    How is this even remotely NOT a violation of the Hippocratic oath? And similar oaths by pharmacists and others?

    Even if Obama for some horrifying reason doesn’t rescind these rules, the professional organizations that are charged with maintaining the standards and ethics of the professions they organize and/or license should strongly condemn this and yank the membership of any health care professional who does harm.

    Only a very small percentage of physicians take the Hippocratic Oath in its classical form. (Among other things, it instructs physicians not to perform abortions and to provide all medical training for free.) There are other professional codes for physicians and other health care providers, but most of them are aspirational, rather than mandatory.

    The people who do the licensing for health care providers, however, are state licensing board, not professional organizations. Being a member of the AMA or other professional organizations is elective (and requires paying dues), hence not all physicians participate in such things.

    There’s another problem with this rule, though: even though it purports not to sanction malpractice, it effectively does. We’re not just talking about being an nuisance or a barrier to care, we’re talking about being negligent as a matter of law. The issue of “sincerely held religious beliefs” is a vexing one for courts, but I can’t believe this is the sort of thing contemplated by the rule.

  45. Liz Barnes
    Liz Barnes December 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm |

    I live in rural West Virginia and this is really going to hurt women out here where you already have to drive an hour at least in the area I live in to see a prochoice OBGYN. When my husband and I were transplanted here trust me I called and looked all around and could only find one prochoicer in the field. In this area there aren’t many pharmacies either so if one pharmacy won’t fill your Rx likely you are SOL. I truly hate this rule and I hate Bush.

  46. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses December 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm |

    How is this even remotely NOT a violation of the Hippocratic oath? And similar oaths by pharmacists and others?

    The law trumps ethics every time. When a healthcare professional, like a mental health counselor, denies the right to competent services by refusing to refer or imposing their own values on the client during counseling, that goes against the ethical code they must abide by. If there is no law protecting unethical behavior, the counselor might get fired, have their license taken away, face humiliation in the counseling world (since the names of the people who lost their license and the reason why is published), and may face a malpractice lawsuit. But now that there is a law protecting the unethical behavior, clients who are harmed by the counselor’s behavior can’t get justice. Furthermore, the counselor can’t get fired for it. So now a therapist doesn’t have to tell a woman about his/her negative beliefs about abortion, doesn’t have to refer to a counselor who will offer objective services, can still counsel a woman out of getting an abortion because (insert lie about abortion and the women who get them here), and can end up doing more harm than good. All thanks to the HHS rule.

  47. eastsidekate
    eastsidekate December 19, 2008 at 12:47 pm |

    Skimming the document, HHS’ responses to comments were particularly enraging. People brought up the specter of doctors refusing to provide services to certain populations but not others, and HHS blew it off. They also blew off defining pretty much everything else, in order to make this rule as broad as possible. The underlying message was: ‘There are bad people out there that want to limit providers’ rights [to be bigots]. Don’t worry about other implications… we’re talking about good Christian folks who would never been unreasonable.’ :headdesk:

  48. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 12:50 pm |

    It was Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services. His people there drafted it, and he signed it.

  49. h0tr0d
    h0tr0d December 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    This of it this way….if you properly take care of your vagina….this is a non-issue.

  50. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 1:04 pm |

    Hrm…I wonder if there’s a constitutional challenge in here somewhere?

    Granted the federal judiciary now looks like a meeting of the Federalist Society, but they have been rather hard on extensions of agency power outside of definite Congressional intent recently.

    Anyone work in that area of the law know how the courts typically treat HHS regulations and the posture of the rulemaking?

  51. micheyd
    micheyd December 19, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    This of it this way….if you properly take care of your vagina….this is a non-issue.

    Properly taking care of my vagina includes taking birth control, which can now be denied to me for “moral” reasons. So I don’t get your point.

  52. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 19, 2008 at 1:18 pm |

    This of it this way….if you properly take care of your vagina….this is a non-issue.

    Because obviously ectopic pregnancies are the result of not properly tending to one’s vagina.

    Better trolls, please.

  53. Five Links That Are Actually Important, 12/19/08 « Our Descent Into Madness

    [...] See Queen Emily and Jill for more about the horrifying effects of Bush’s new rule. Possibly related posts: [...]

  54. The Vajayjay, the Womb, the AIDS test, the Eternal Battle « Natalia Antonova

    [...] services now, for as long as their decision is based on nebulous “beliefs.” As Jill points out over on Feministe, this is being framed as an abortion issue, but the fact is, that’s total [...]

  55. emily
    emily December 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm |

    I too cannot fathom why someone would be morally opposed to treating a woman having a miscarriage. What is the source for that claim? I am really curious as to what may have been proffered as an explanation.

  56. emily
    emily December 19, 2008 at 4:26 pm |

    Thanks Jill. I just googled it and found this article:

    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/98/10/1774

    (hope the link works)

    The article refers to Catholic hospitals who won’t complete a miscarriage already in progress if there is still a fetal heartbeat. I get it now, that is consistent with the Catholic church’s philosophy on not hastening death even when it’s inevitable (as in the case of assisted suicide.) Still, it freaking sucks. I would never have guessed that there is a chance a Catholic hospital would refuse treatment for a miscarriage and I can only imagine the added trauma for the woman that would result. Like having a miscarriage isn’t bad enough.

  57. The ‘religious conscience’ excuse | Chez Emily - Mots d'une femme transsexuelle

    [...] read Feministe’s excellent article on this and make sure to read the comments… There are some excellent points being made [...]

  58. Stlthy
    Stlthy December 19, 2008 at 8:12 pm |

    Just out of curiosity, what does one do if a pharmacist not only refuses to fill a BC pill script, but pockets it and refuses to give it back? Could you call the police and report a theft? Or something?

  59. Kim
    Kim December 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm |

    While this an appalling situation for human sexuality, will it also apply to treatment of pain? As a chronic pain patient I constantly see pain being treated as a moral issue. It is hard enough now to find a Dr who will work w/ you and not make you feel like a drug seeking junkie. Will pharmacists join the war on drugs?

  60. Some shit just defies belief! | Zo-Babble

    [...] “Sorry, ladies, but your vagina conflicts with my morals.” at Feministe [...]

  61. Dreaming of Butterflies » Blog Archive » What the fuck is wrong with these people

    [...] Washington Post Jill@Feministe [...]

  62. Women, it’s now legal to let you die « The Words on What…

    [...] “moral” reasons. This is not about abortion. And it’s not just about contraceptioneither, as Jill at Feministe touches [...]

  63. Froufrou
    Froufrou December 21, 2008 at 8:58 am |

    how how how is this possible?
    Sorry, I wish I had something more constructive to add but my european brain is just too shocked to actually be able to form a coherent thought right now.
    Is there nothing to be done?

  64. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    All right, are there any doctors or lawyers reading who can provide more detail on the most immediate ramifications? Such as (from an email I just sent to a doctor friend):

    1. So, can rape victims really be denied emergency contraception once this is enforced?

    2. What about ARVs and other AIDS meds? Can these be denied? In particular, can these be refused now *even* within the three hour exposure window in which HIV can be prevented?

    3. Miscarrage treatment? Now doctors have a protected “right” to refuse both treatment *and* referral? Even in an emergency room situation? So, women could ostensibly just be left to die of miscarriages ’cause no one will treat them? And this isn’t to be regulated, so, say, doctors will *also* be able to take advantage of this right on whatever whim suits them? So, any doctor, then, could refuse to treat any patient deemed “unworthy of care” (say, for instance, suspected drug users, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people who may or may not have tried to induce their own abortions… ANYONE?? So then we all put our lives at risk by becoming pregnant then? And we could die so that the doctor can maintain hir right not to perform abortion-like treatment?).

    4. How will this affect chronic pain patients? I mean, we’re already treated like drug-seeking junkies. Can doctors withhold treatment based on their moral objection to potentially addictive drugs?

    5. As for birth control… So, now members of the profession can refuse it *and* not explain their positions? So, for instance, there could be an outpouring of bullshit “medical advice” along the lines of: “you might die of a stroke on birth control becuase of your marginally elevated blood pressure” Is *that*now to be considered *protected speech*?

    6. On that note, what about doctors who are ideologically of the same mind as the fundamentalist “crisis pregnancy center” people? Can they now dispense faux infomation along the lines of “it is possible to contract HIV from a toilet seat”?

    7. Does this extend to “protection” for medical school students? I mean… Will the Christian Right suddenly flock into the field of gynecology because it’s now possible to *become* a gynecologist despite refusal to *engage in any* family planning? Can Scientologists now go into psychiatry?

    8. This cannot be federally regulated (or regulated now by the medical system), so there is really no way that any of us can be fully protected against ending up in life-or-death emergency situations and being left to die so that doctors can protect their precious “consciences”–at least in the interim period before civic groups can begin to establish (incomplete) lists of their own? So, say, I end up in the hospital after major wreck, and LGBTQ literature is found on my person? Can I be left to die because the doctor thinks people like me deserve that anyway?

    9. What about people with congenital defects and other health problems that would make pregnancy potentially very dangerous? They can be denied abortion–AND referral for an abortion–on the grounds of the doctor’s “right” to uphold his/her moral beliefs?? THEN they can be denied miscarriage treatment? Even though trying to carry a pregnancy to term would be very, very dangerous?

    10. Won’t this stuff be far worse for poor, rural communtities who may only have, say, *one* gynecologist within accessible traveling distance?

    Would appreciate any insights…

  65. If you’re going to write anything stupid in the future, don’t come to my class « James McPherson’s Media & Politics Blog

    [...] administration one more thing to work on overturning one day later. Of course assorted feministes, rape victims, those in favor of legalized abortion, those concerned about teen pregnancy or [...]

  66. Rob
    Rob December 21, 2008 at 5:29 pm |

    To expand Kristin’s question, would this also apply to medical equipment such as syringes (if one is required to go through a pharmacist to get them)? Would pharmacists be allowed to refure those because they think the person wanting them is running a needle exchange for drug users, as opposed to needing them due to some chronic condition (like type 1 diabetes)?

  67. Bush: One More Way to Screw Women? Do It! « The Czech

    [...] from Newsweek “Bush-Era Abortion Rules Face Possible Reversal” from Wall Street Journal Feministe discussion: “Sorry, ladies, but your vagina conflicts with my morals.” Possibly related [...]

  68. idyllicmollusk
    idyllicmollusk December 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm |

    Regarding the questions in comments #67 and 69, the law makes it legal for any health worker to refuse any part of any health service if their conscience tells them so. ANY HEALTH SERVICE. If you think I am exaggerating, read the rule yourself at the link provided in the post.

    I wanted to throw 2 things into the discussion.

    1. Several posters have already mentioned this. Though women will get the brunt of this fuckwaddery, LGBT people and POC, women or men, are also lined up to get screwed. There is already a history of LGBT people and heteros mistaken for homes getting discriminated against in health settings because of a health worker’s “moral” objections to their personhood.

    2. The rule is written so ambiguously, so broadly, that it’s true effects are obscured when it is read out of context. But this is about that damn “culture war” we keep hearing about. Effectively, the way the rule is written, it privileges the “morals” of a certain segment of Christians (who happen to be well-represented by politicians currently in power), over the lives of women in general, sexually-active women specifically, and LGBT people. It fits so completely into culture war narrative — that says we need to restrict the rights of women and sexual deviants and promote socially-conservative Christianity in order to win the demographic war against non-white immigrants and Muslims — that it seems hardly a coincidence.

  69. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm |

    In places where condoms are left locked behind the counter (I’ve only seen this at some CVS stores in the DC metro area), will pharmacists be able to withhold these as well?

  70. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    Or, in other words, might condoms count as birth control?

  71. Angela
    Angela December 21, 2008 at 8:45 pm |

    “Refusing to treat a miscarriage, or refusing to end an ectopic pregnancy, can result in serious health complications, including infertility and even death.”

    Jill, where did you get this info from? This is absolutely false. Please note there are some medical facilities (or clinics) that are not set up to perform such emergency procedures and those patients they encounter are re-routed to a much larger facility (trauma centers) who are in a much better position to take care of them. In some of those cases the smaller hospitals cannot afford the heavy insurance premiums that follow hospitals with ERs who are part of any trauma network.

    There are a lot Christians (and other religions) in the medical profession, I count myself among them.

  72. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm |

    “Regarding the questions in comments #67 and 69, the law makes it legal for any health worker to refuse any part of any health service if their conscience tells them so. ANY HEALTH SERVICE. If you think I am exaggerating, read the rule yourself at the link provided in the post.”

    I read it. This was legal before, but now it is being enforced with Federal funding (p. 44, I think). That is, before, it was legal to do this, but you were not guaranteed job protection or good professional standing. Now, you are.

    It seems likely that this is something that will be interpreted broadly and over time. I mean, if a health worker can refuse anything, anything at all, on the grounds of “conscience”… Couldn’t I become a doctor and then refuse to provide some life-saving treatment to a member of the Bush cabinet on account of: “It’s against my conscience to treat war criminals.” It seems like it could be leveled against *anyone* really for any reason at all… And, yeah, of course people like the war criminals in question will always have the resources to get around this, but really… Did they *really* want to make it quite *that* broad?

    Did you mean to say “getting mistaken for homeless”? In any case, the personhood of homeless people should not be a matter up for debate/potential health care exclusion either.

    Almost none of my questions (above) were only about the consequences for women. I also think this will be interpreted very widely, but I’m interested in the specifics of how it is likely to be interpreted right away/in the immediate future/before we know whether or not Obama can succeed in overturning it.

    Anyway… There is no essential category of “woman” that can be separated from PoC or LBGTQ identity. I think this will immediately affect women the most, and among the women most affected will be WoC, queer women, poor women, disabled women, etc.–the people most often discriminated against by the medical system, in other words, will get it much worse.

  73. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 9:10 pm |

    And, yeah, I think we all realize this has to do with the Christian Right.

  74. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 9:15 pm |

    And as Drakyn and Queen Emily have pointed out, this will likely have especially awful effects for trans people. I mean… Yeah, it’s gonna be bad.

    Anyway, so… It appears that Hillary is already working to draft Senate legislation to overturn it so it’ll be ready on day one of Obama’s administration. Good on her for that, I gotta say. I really hope they make a priority of dealing with that very quickly.

    Does anyone know yet if these particular regulations will leave Obama 30 or 60 days to challenge them? Which one is it for this stuff?

  75. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm |

    Also… It seems possible that *not* having a filibuster proof majority at this point might make it even harder to pass…

  76. Angela
    Angela December 21, 2008 at 10:05 pm |

    Kristin, I’m a nurse and I’ll answer you quetions…

    1. No.

    2. Absolutely not! Ties with question #1.

    3. If the woman is bledding out profusely, no one is going to cite any religous or moral beliefs. Our first and foremost priority is to stablize and stop the bleeding before she dies from severe bloodloss. Again, I don’t know what area you live in but all are treated (who come through the ER).

    4. No. More then likely the doctor will ween you from the addictive drug and may put you on something else. Also they will recommend you seek counseling for your addiction.

    5. I’ve never heard that scenario before. I don’t know of any OBGYN doctors who refused to write a prescription for BCPs for their female patients.

    6. No. Consider that doctor a quack and run away as fast you can.

    7. It does not specify. I would be under the impression that one would need to pass their boards first in order to be “protected” under such a measure. Of course, I’d have to examine the proposal further if hospitals who teach are covered as well.

    8. God No! I hope you never ever have a major wreck. Two things worst then surgery is rehab and recovery.

    9. Depends on the defect. Say you have a Splenic artery aneurysm or Renal artery aneurysm, both are rare events. But the mortality rate is high for both mother and fetus because of increased blood flow and intra-abdominal pressure. If you’re not for sure, have your vascular system checked.

    10. The poorer communities would be vastly affected if they didn’t have any healthcare providers at all.

    Always feel free to contact any medical associations or your health care provider to find the answers that you need instead of reading poison-penned garbage from the likes of Rolling Stone, Time, or Newsweek. Those guys get off bashing us every chance they get.

  77. Angela
    Angela December 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm |

    that should say *I’ll answer your questions*

  78. Angela
    Angela December 21, 2008 at 10:19 pm |

    “That is, before, it was legal to do this, but you were not guaranteed job protection or good professional standing. Now, you are.”

    Kristin, this is not true. CVS and Walgreen’s were sued (and lost) because they broke federal law for firing a couple of their pharmacists who had moral objections to filling BCP prescriptions.

  79. Cara
    Cara December 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    It’s false that refusing to treat an ectopic pregnancy can result in death? I’ve read like a million times about women in impoverished countries dying from that condition.

  80. drakyn
    drakyn December 21, 2008 at 11:09 pm |

    Angela, she’s not talking about someone who is addicted to pain pills. She’s talking about people with chronic pain conditions who already have a hard time getting their doctors to proscribe them.
    Also, emergency contraception already gets regularly denied; a former blogger, Biting Beaver, had to have her readers send her money for an abortion after she couldn’t get EC.

    Also, you realize not everyone can get a new doctor whenever they feel like it? Their insurance may not cover any others in driving distance, there may not be any other doctors in driving distance…

    8 refers to what happened to Tyra Hunter; after the EMTs discovered she was trans* they stopped treating her and instead stood around and made fun of her (while those nearby begged for her life). If they did this now, they could say it was against their beliefs to save/touch her. Because under this rule, their beliefs are more important than our treatment.

    9 is referring to the possible situation of someone who cannot carry a fetus to term not being able to get an abortion/sterilized because of the doctors’ beliefs.

    Already many oppressed groups have a hard time getting any/decent care. The only reason I haven’t dealt with it yet is that I haven’t been to a doctor in years, but all of my trans* friends have had multiple horrific experiences with the health care industry. Now, with this bill, they have a whole new excuse to refuse to treat us; anything from refusing to do/help with the various surgeries related to medical transition (remember, this effects more than just the doctors. can the doctors perform SRS without clean tools/facilities or any nurses?) to any health care at all.

  81. Kristin
    Kristin December 21, 2008 at 11:59 pm |

    What Drakyn said.

  82. Kristin
    Kristin December 22, 2008 at 12:24 am |

    Well, and…

    1. Those questions do not all pertain directly to my personal experience.

    AND

    2. I do not need addiction counseling because I am not an addict.

    Now, then. I meant that I was interested in the intelligent analyses of people who (1.) have read the new regulations and (2.) are sympathetic to the concerns raised in Jill’s blog post.

  83. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 22, 2008 at 12:44 am |

    There are a lot Christians (and other religions) in the medical profession, I count myself among them.

    All the more reason for trans/queer people to fear the effects of this law.

    8. God No! I hope you never ever have a major wreck. Two things worst then surgery is rehab and recovery.

    It happened to Tyra Hunter (see Drakyn #83). It happened to Leslie Feinberg, who nearly died of endocarditis b/c emergency room doctors refused to treat hir b/c ze was “a freak”. It happens time and again to trans people, so your response of “God No!” is bullshit. I fully expect that any trip to the ER for me (queer trans woman) will be at a minimum, humiliating to me, and that at least some of the xtians in the ER will be happy to take advantage of this new law when dumping me onto the sidewalk instead of treating, say, my heart attack.

    Moving away from the very kindly Angela, I’ve read that in the 1960s and 1970s, women formed underground abortion clinics (whatever happened to those and why aren’t they still around, I wonder). Maybe it is time for marginalized people to form underground medical clinics, perhaps with the aid of street medics – fuck whether it’s “legal” or not.

  84. drakyn
    drakyn December 22, 2008 at 12:45 am |

    Also, “If the woman is bledding out profusely, no one is going
    to cite any religous or moral beliefs.”
    I would like to live in this world you inhabit. If you have unicorns I
    will definitely be sold; where is it and how can I get there?
    ‘Cause in this world many cops and doctors and EMTs will gladly
    murder people or leave someone to die (especially if you are a woman,
    POC, trans*, PWD, and/or any number of intersecting oppressions).

  85. drakyn
    drakyn December 22, 2008 at 12:45 am |

    and I missed this:
    “5. I’ve never heard that scenario before. I don’t know of any OBGYN
    doctors who refused to write a prescription for BCPs for their female
    patients.”
    WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING???!!!

  86. Angela
    Angela December 22, 2008 at 2:23 am |

    It’s false that refusing to treat an ectopic pregnancy can result in death? I’ve read like a million times about women in impoverished countries dying from that condition.

    Cara, this thread is about our doctors in the US, what’s happening overseas.

  87. Angela
    Angela December 22, 2008 at 3:52 am |

    Drakyn, people who suffer from chronic pain can and do become addicted to pain meds. It is for that very reason we have to ween them off and put them on something else. You must bear this mind, pain medications are very powerful opiates. It is for this reason we must be extremely careful in dispensing them. In the case of receiving EC, it is usually given right after a women has reported a sexual assault. Although, I’m ambivilent about dispensing EC outside of a prescription written by a doctor. I say that because the potental for abuse is hgh.

    Again, living in a rural community with one medical facility, with limited resources, has its drawbacks.

    Regarding question 8, how was I supposed to know Kristen was referring to a trans-gendered person? When emergency personnel arrive at a major accident site, their only priority is to get you stablelize long enough to make it to the ER. They don’t have time to think about your lifestyle.

    Regarding question 9 – read what I wrote back to Kristen.

    As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.

    I do have a question for you? How you can sit and judge the medical profession on baseless scenarios, when you yourself have not seen a doctor in “years”?

  88. lauredhel
    lauredhel December 22, 2008 at 4:14 am |

    “Also, “If the woman is bledding out profusely, no one is going
    to cite any religous or moral beliefs.”

    “I would like to live in this world you inhabit.”

    Really. Here in Australia, which is less in thrall to the Christianist anti-woman brigade than the US is, the Catholics recently threatened to close all of their hospitals in response to a law which would force the hospital to perform an life-saving termination of pregnancy if the life of a woman was immediately at risk such that there was no time for referral or transfer.

    They’re fighting tooth and nail for the right to let women die.

  89. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 22, 2008 at 8:19 am |

    “Please note there are some medical facilities (or clinics) that are not set up to perform such emergency procedures and those patients they encounter are re-routed to a much larger facility (trauma centers) who are in a much better position to take care of them.”

    Assuming the drivers don’t invoked conscience clauses and refuse to drive them to those other facilities because then they’d be helping with an “abortion.”

    “Cara, this thread is about our doctors in the US, what’s happening overseas.”

    They’re not dying because they’re overseas and untreated ectopic pregnancies become magically non-fatal once you’re on US soil. They’re dying because of doctors refusing to treat them until the tube bursts (El Salvador) or because the women can’t get care. So if doctors here start pulling the same shit, we’re going to start seeing the exact same fucking result. Hell, one of those medical reality shows the edutainment channels are always running just had an episode with a medical examiner autopsying an 18-year-old who died of an ectopic pregnancy. The hospital she went to misdiagnosed the initial pain and bleeding as a miscarriage, neglected to do hormone profiles to confirm the diagnosis or a D&C to treat the miscarriage, and sent her home to die in her sleep of a ruptured fallopian tube and the attendant internal bleeding.

    Hell, you’re already in trouble if you’re ectopic and wind up in a Catholic hospital in a lot of places. Instead of administering an abortifacient, they’ll wait until your doomed embryo takes one of your fallopian tubes with it. Apparently it’s more important for you to be right with a religion you may or may not subscribe to than have all your reproductive organs. Not to mention that surgery is way more invasive than chemical treatment, and, if you’re uninsured or poorly insured, about a hundred times more likely to plunge you into inescapable debt.

  90. Holly
    Holly December 22, 2008 at 8:47 am |

    As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.

    Did you just blame mistreatment at the hands of bigoted medical personnel, like the ones who killed Tyra Hunter and almost killed Leslie Feinberg, on “botched surgeries?” You’re so far off-base you’re not even in the outfield. Nobody was even talking about trans-specific medical care here — these stories are about trans folks who were trying to get treatment for other issues — kidney failure, HIV, car accident. Blaming institutionalized and personalized transphobia on “botched surgeries” borders on regurgitating transphobic myths. Watch it, please — this is your official warning.

    Nobody in this thread has been saying that all doctors, nurses, EMTs, or pharmacists are irresponsible or prejudiced, and I certainly won’t deny that some journalists see medical professions as a target they can take down. However, it’s a pretty huge stretch to claiming that NO medical professionals will do something unconscionable like refuse to perform surgery in life-threatening circumstances, refuse to provide treatment to someone dying in an emergency room, or let a woman bleed out on a street instead of getting her to a hospital. All of those things have happened, in this country, in the last 20 years. There are some medical professionals out there who apparently don’t care about their oaths or their office as life-savers, and put their morality first, even in emergency circumstances. Is that really such a surprise? This is like arguing that police officers get a bad rap and are incredible important public servants, so we should stop talking about bad cops who rape their victims in subway stations and bathrooms with plumbing implements. No.

  91. lauredhel
    lauredhel December 22, 2008 at 9:11 am |

    In the case of receiving EC, it is usually given right after a women has reported a sexual assault. Although, I’m ambivilent about dispensing EC outside of a prescription written by a doctor. I say that because the potental for abuse is hgh.

    What the fuck are you talking about? This is so wrong from beginning to end, I don’t know where to start.

  92. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 22, 2008 at 9:57 am |

    “What the fuck are you talking about? This is so wrong from beginning to end, I don’t know where to start.”

    Everybody knows you can get a totally wicked high off BCP and that talking about preventing unwanted pregnancies is just a smokescreen so that we can all get our fix without doctors catching on and weaning us off them.

  93. Kristin
    Kristin December 22, 2008 at 10:41 am |

    preying mantis:

    “Everybody knows you can get a totally wicked high off BCP and that talking about preventing unwanted pregnancies is just a smokescreen so that we can all get our fix without doctors catching on and weaning us off them.”

    *dies laughing* WIN.

  94. Kristin
    Kristin December 22, 2008 at 10:45 am |

    In addition to: What Holly said.

    Angela, my god, they really shouldn’t let people as misinformed as you near a patient. Not ever.

    Abuse of birth control??? What the fuck?

    Notwithstanding my the position stated above: I really, really, really hope to god that you don’t work in a pain management clinic, because, frankly… You have the kind of anti-palliative approach to treatment that leads many people in our community (that is, physically disabled people with chronic pain) to commit suicide because we cannot get the treatments that enable us to function.

  95. Zan
    Zan December 22, 2008 at 11:10 am |

    Wow. The stupid, it burns.

    First off, if you are a chronic pain patient (which I am) and you are on opiate pain meds (which I occassionally am) and you take the meds to control the pain, you are NOT an addict. Yes, the medication is strong and yes, you can (and likely will, if you’re on the meds long-term) develop a physical dependance on the medication. That is NOT the same damned thing as being an addict. Addicts ABUSE drugs, they do not use them in the way they were intended. So, for gods sake, stop confusing the two.

    Chronic pain patients, by and large, are NOT addicts. We need the drugs to function due to, wait for it, PAIN. Hrm…pain meds given to control pain? Wow. Clearly, we’re all addicts. Let’s cut off all our meds and tell us to exercise more! Yeah, that’ll work…when we’re curled into the fetal position on the floor because it hurts too much to fucking breath. Grrr.

    I don’t know what kinda fantasy land some of the posters here are living in. . .medical personnel are human and fallible, just like the rest of us. Sure, most of ‘em will do their jobs, but if you run into one that won’t? Please.

  96. killjoy
    killjoy December 22, 2008 at 11:27 am |

    Drakyn, people who suffer from chronic pain can and do become addicted to pain meds. It is for that very reason we have to ween them off and put them on something else.

    What do you mean by “addiction” here? I think you need to define your terms. Yes, many drugs are physically addictive, but I’m not sure it always follows that the addiction is a problem and the patient must be “weaned”.

    In the case of receiving EC, it is usually given right after a women has reported a sexual assault. Although, I’m ambivilent about dispensing EC outside of a prescription written by a doctor. I say that because the potental for abuse is hgh.

    Abuse? What abuse? It’s available OTC in Canada and I’ve yet to hear of anything awful happening as a result.

    So the odd woman will decide that she’d rather have unprotected sex and take EC every time than use cheaper, more reliable contraceptive methods every time — well, that’s a stupid decision, but it’s her right. Is this actually worse for the woman or for society at large than, say, taking more ibuprofen than the package says you should? Or is this about sexual morality?

    Regarding question 8, how was I supposed to know Kristen was referring to a trans-gendered person? When emergency personnel arrive at a major accident site, their only priority is to get you stablelize long enough to make it to the ER. They don’t have time to think about your lifestyle.

    Evidence?

    As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.

    Are we just supposed to take your word for this? Why, exactly?

  97. piny
    piny December 22, 2008 at 2:23 pm |

    So the odd woman will decide that she’d rather have unprotected sex and take EC every time than use cheaper, more reliable contraceptive methods every time — well, that’s a stupid decision, but it’s her right. Is this actually worse for the woman or for society at large than, say, taking more ibuprofen than the package says you should? Or is this about sexual morality?

    This was actually the solution my gynecologist recommended to me: I test-drove his preferred brand of BC pills, and was instantly plunged into depression that did not change or abate until I stopped taking the pills. I was about to go away on a months-long trip, was not having regular sex (although it was not all that smart to assume that I wouldn’t be having frequent sex, as it turned out), and had no time to test-drive different brands. He told me to use condoms, and prescribed some EC to take if I had a morning after situation.

    I see nothing irresponsible about any of this: I used the available options to prevent pregnancy as carefully as I could, under the medical supervision available to me. EC is not dangerous. It’s useful. The Pill is a basic BC method for many women, and incredibly useful in most circumstances. EC was designed to work when it won’t.

    Why are we debating the likelihood of risk here? These people have been clamoring for the right to deny services because they want to deny services. They claim that they can’t perform their jobs–excuse me, stay employed–without it. Therefore, their old jobs required significant provision of these services, and their new jobs will require significant denial of these services.

  98. drakyn
    drakyn December 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm |

    “As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.”
    These “baseless scenarios” are true stories from friends. Many have nothing to do with surgery (and as far as I know, none have had botched surgeries), most have to do with basic medical care. Like when their GP stands in the doorway so they don’t catch t3h tranz. Or you could look at Robert Eads, who did the documentary Southern Comfort, over 24 doctors refused to treat his ovarian cancer so he died.

    “I do have a question for you? How you can sit and judge the medical profession on baseless scenarios, when you yourself have not seen a doctor in “years”?”
    these are stories from close friends or that are on the public record (Tyra Hunter, Robert Eads, Leslie Feinberg, etc). And I have no insurance, I can’t see a doctor.

    PS: My vegetarianism is a lifestyle; being trans* is most definitely not (just like my being queer).

  99. queen emily
    queen emily December 22, 2008 at 7:24 pm |

    “As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.”

    Hahaha. That’s so awesome. You must be a mind-reader to know what it’s like to be trans, I mean you’re a nurse and everything. Quick, I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10…

    I must have been imagining it when a doctor treated me from 3 feet at the doorway of his *own* office, cos he didn’t want to sit down next to me. The amount of people who won’t even *touch* me to examine me.. Or the ER doctor refusing to give me pain meds when I was crying with pain. Or the doctor whose response to my having three “stroke-like” episodes in five days was to tell me to “rest up” when what I needed was a visit to the neurologist. Or. Or. Or.

    Now I’ve been on hormones for awhile, I have to fight and fight hard for proper medical care. As SOON as they realise I’m trans, they hustle me out of the office as soon as possible. This might have been a result of my imaginary botched surgeries – you know, the ones I haven’t had yet.

  100. queen emily
    queen emily December 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm |

    Sorry, just to clarify, the issue for trans people is not usually our GP, those you can shop around for until you find a doctor who will actually treat you properly. Endocrinologist you have less flexibility with, but they’re usually at least more experienced with trans people so the likelihood of nastyness is probably reduced.

    The issue is when you *don’t* have your regular medical care, when something goes seriously wrong and you have to go to the emergency room. And then sadly it’s just the bloody luck of the draw as to whether you get treated ok, when you don’t have the time or the ability to do trans 101. Like, some doctors will blame *everything* on your hormones (or surgery I’m told if you’ve had it.. hmm that does sound awfully familiar) and you have to explain what precisely they actually do..

  101. Kristin
    Kristin December 22, 2008 at 9:06 pm |

    Queen Emily: In the US, under a number of insurance plans, one has to pay a pretty high fee in order to change the general practitioner (upwards of $90, as far as I know). For trans people who cannot afford this fee, it could, I think, be just as hard to find a decent GP as a specialist.

  102. Kristin
    Kristin December 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm |

    Also, we’re running out of GP’s here because doctors make so much more money as specialists, and so… GP’s are being over-worked and have too many patients and too many appointments (allotted something like 15 minutes each), and… It’s bad.

  103. The new HHS rule « Mom’s Tinfoil Hat
    The new HHS rule « Mom’s Tinfoil Hat December 22, 2008 at 9:56 pm |

    [...] December 23, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized — MomTFH @ 2:56 am There has been a lot of great coverage of the so called “conscience rule” Bush is pushing through at the last [...]

  104. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney December 22, 2008 at 10:09 pm |

    As far as your trans friends having medical horror stories, you can blame that on their botched surgeries. Medical professionals who work in that area of expertise, don’t have moral issues treating trans gendered people.

    Botched surgeries aren’t all that common, more the stuff of urban legend than basic fact. I mean, they do happen – in the same way that botched surgeries of other types happen. Relatively infrequently.

    On the other hand, trans people routinely experience prejudice and are often refused proper treatment by medical specialists and ER personnel. I had a dentist tell me – when I had an abscess and needed emergency treatment right then to take care of it – that he wouldn’t treat me because he thought that novocaine would have a negative interaction with estradiol valerate. I’ve had a clinic either remove itself from the Oregon Health Plan two weeks after I started going, and the PCP I was assigned refused to see me more than twice and wouldn’t supply referrals for anything. She wrote into my records that I’d had DVT, which meant that anyone who saw that would refuse to prescribe estrogen to me (except that I was able to explain that it was a filthy lie).

    And this doesn’t even compare to what happened to Robert Eads and Tyra Hunter.

  105. Millsy
    Millsy December 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm |

    You know what I’d really love to see? A Jehovah’s witness who is a doctor/nurse/health provider who refused to perform or refer someone for a blood transfusion, because JW’s don’t believe in them. Or a christian scientist getting certified in the medical profession and then refusing to provide ANY care except for prayer.
    Somehow I don’t think this would fly.
    But that’s exactly what the federal government allows the “faithful” to do to women.
    No double standard at all…

  106. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney December 22, 2008 at 10:44 pm |

    er, “either remove itself or claim to remove itself in a letter to me.”

    Or as a receptionist told me when i asked what happened, “The doctors didn’t realize what kind of people they’d be sent when they were added to OHP.”

  107. Bush’s Christmas Gift to Women « Kittywampus

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  108. Raise Your Voice to Remove the Global Gag « strength never power

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