Friday, December 19, 2008

Bush's "Right of Conscience" Rule: Why it's a Mistake

In typically sneaky George Bush fashion, he has issued a last-minute rule, to be published today in the Federal Register, which will take effect the day before he leaves office. It's a rule that guarantees "doctors, hospitals, and even receptionists and volunteers in medical experiments the right to refuse to participate in medical care they find morally objectionable."

This is an obvious attempt to shield those who do not believe in abortions from performing or participating in one. And being an abortion opponent, I empathise. But this ruling has a much wider-sweeping range of possibilities than the short-sighted George Bush has ever considered.

What if an emergency room doctor refuses to treat a potential murderer or other criminal that he finds "morally objectionable"? And what if that doctor turns out to be wrong and an innocent person dies? What if he's right: Does that make it ethically OK to leave someone bleeding to death in your emergency room?

What if a receptionist refuses to announce a patient because she knows he's gay? Or living 'in sin' with someone? Or merely of a different faith than hers?

This will put the medical community in terrible conflict. As we know, you aren't supposed to ask personal questions during an interview. But how else are you to discover if your new receptionist believes that all Catholics are "of the Devil"? Under this new rule, you need to know before you hire her, obviously.

And what will need to be revealed to volunteers in medical studies? Will every study now have to have moral arguments published by opposing analysts, so that the volunteers remain fully informed and can exercise their right to choose? What if halfway through the study they suddenly change their minds due to a change in conscience? Will all their data be destroyed? Will this ultimately invalidate or prolong studies, thus adding to costs?

Will all pharmacists be able to refuse to sell someone condoms if they think that they're using them for the wrong purpose? Will they be able to refuse to dispense medications which can heal or ameliorate sexual diseases because they think that those diseases are a judgement from God?

As usual, George Bush has leaped before he looked. Let's hope that Barack Obama will be able to quickly reverse this rule once he assumes office.


mal said...

As a rule, I am a conservative but I will confess that Junior is living proof that the apple can fall far from the tree.

Trying to create law by Presidential Fiat? One more step towards the Imperial Presidency

The Lazy Iguana said...

I disagree. He did think about this one.

That is why he is waiting till the last day of his term to do this. If he just wanted to suck up he would have done it long ago.

Clearly - this is an abortion / stem cell thing. No doubt.

Of course - doctors have ALWAYS been able to do this. Think about it. Say I am not in favor of abortions. Well - I can be a proctologist and not an OB/GYN! There. Now I specialized in an area of the body that will never be involved in abortion.

And what if I might abject to what some people do with their ass?

Then I can specialize in feet. Or skin. Or eyes. Or become an E.N.T. doctor. How about a heart surgeon? And so on.

There are many body parts that have nothing to do with reproduction.

If I object to stem cells, then nobody says I must research stem cells! I can research something else!

This is just a last minute suck up to the hard right. And of course Obama will have to reverse it. And when he does it gives the hard right something else to bitch about.

And they will. SEE!! I TOLD YOU!! Obama wants to KILL ALL THE CHILDREN!!! Why you may be FORCED to get an abortion now!!! Because we all know liberals HATE CHILDREN!!!

What do you want to bet that an overweight almost deaf radio personality will speak those exact words? I got $20 that says he will.

And millions of mindless morons will buy it. Because those who listen to such crap are likely to use that crap as their only source of information.

Anyhow it was not just done without any thought. Plenty of thought was put into it. It will be a symbolic move to the hard core base. Because for the most part, the hard core base only cares about two issues. And this is one of them.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Every US citizen should really read Obama's books because they outline his basic approach to many key issues, this one included.

His chapter on faith is top reading.

Ed Abbey said...

Excellent points and why our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves right now.

The Doozie said...

The verbage says "medical care" so how would that enable them to discriminate against the person? They can't discriminate against the person, just the procedure or treatment the person wants.

Scott said...

Just when you think that he can't get any crazier, he does this. Great post.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Mal, The Imperial Presidency is exactly what he's been aiming for, as he chips away at the Constitution one step at a time. The other nail in the Constitution's coffin was his override of Congress' decision to NOT bail out the auto companies.

Funeral services will be held at 11.

Lazy, I don't know. I have never seen Bush think that much, and I would hesitate to accuse him of that now. Perhaps others in his admin may have, and just didn't care about the implications, but I doubt that Bush did.

True that doctors could, to some extent, specialize in practices that exempt them from participating in something that they don't want to do. So yes, he was just trying to suck up to the anti-abortionists.

As for liberals hating children, I want to point out a couple things. I don't believe killing babies is particularly loving. (Let's not get into an abortion debate here, because we've discussed it at other times and this post isn't about abortion. I'm just stating an alternative view.)

And although the libs are more than happy to dole out money to the needy so that their kids are fed and clothed, they stop almost any discipline in the schools so that many (or even most) kids grow up overindulged and undereducated, with little to no self control. Their life skills suck, frankly, unless parents intervene.

People often mistake indulgence for love. You want an abortion? Well you can ask louder and cry harder than the baby inside you, so you win.

You want to be a wild child with minimal education? You object to discipline in school? Poor baby. Now go memorize the phrase "Do you want fries with that?"

Do liberals love children? Some do, some don't.

But I've ALWAYS said that everyone loves in degrees. Some love more than others. And so I think 'love' is a varying concept and perhaps the Greeks had it right - there are at LEAST three different types of love, and we should have names for them all. We should also have designations for DEGREES of love.

And it is loving to care about someone's future, isn't it?

Daniel, YOu know, that's one book I haven't read yet. I'll have to hunt it down.

Ed, So true.

EVERYONE More in an hour or less...

Saur♥Kraut said...

Doozie, The catch is the "morally objectionable" phrase. You see, if someone finds it morally objectionable to help/heal a person that they believe to be morally objectionable, then under this new rule they can refuse treatment.

Scott, Bush cannot leave fast enough.

The Lazy Iguana said...

See I do think Bush thinks. Maybe not very hard. And maybe he leaves a lot of things for others to think about and just rubber stamps policy.

We will never know, because after Nixon NOBODY wants to have tape recorders around. And really can you blame them? I would have tossed those tapes into the White House fire place.

But I think that when it comes to stuff like this, it is all Bush.

Now if you want to talk about who loves kids, I do not know anyone who is out there forcing women into abortion clinics. They may not block doors, but they are not out there stuffing pregnant women into car trunks then taking them to abortion clinics.

And since I am pretty sure that it is not only Republicans cranking out kids, not everyone who leans left is a frequent customer at abortion clinics. And I am so sure that there are no conservatives getting un-pregnant. Oh no. That never happens!

Back in the days when abortion was illegal, those who could afford to take a "family vacation" overseas never returned home with an un-pregnant daughter, then went right back to church and just never spoke of it.

But the way society is today - the values society has decided to accept - having kids is a big problem. Liberals were not the only ones to decide that the dollar should be worshiped. Liberals did not decide that your net worth represents your value as a human being.

So what do you do when you can not afford to have a child, and you get knocked up? Quit school? OK - then what? Get a minimum wage job that will not pay all the bills or provide insurance so you have to be on the dole for life?

And then lets say you do not have good family support. Daycare is expensive. If you can not get a job that pays the bills and daycare, then why work? You could not afford to work in this situation. So you are on the dole.

But being on the dole is bad. Those programs need to be cut back! I do not want to pay so that some lazy people can just sit around collecting checks and not working!

So there is adoption. Well great. There is a demand for babies - assuming they are white and more importantly healthy.

But do we want public health so that women can get pre-natal care?

Oh hell no! Socialized medicine just does not work!

Anyway it works both ways. But if you just want to look at the money - which is really what we value more than anything else as a society - abortions are a whole lot cheaper than other options.

And that is a fact. Even if welfare will only be given for the first three years. Or just the first year. Or just until birth. There is still a cheaper option for those who just want to look at what at what things cost.

But that is a whole other subject really.

QUASAR9 said...

So Saurly,
but how when or where is one
be one a consultant, doctor, surgeon, nurse or other specialist know which disease treatment to specialise in?

QUASAR9 said...

I mean just because you can pay, does not mean your dentist can fix your mouth, or your heart surgeon 'guarantee' you a transplant.

QUASAR9 said...

I guess I have no objection to someone refusing to treat me, but I would hope the local health service provides sufficient choice for me to receive life saving treatment after a car crash - maybe

Saur♥Kraut said...

Quasar, In essence, isn't refusing to treat someone playing God? Is it right to give such healthcare providers the potential choice to allow someone to die simply because they don't like them?

One would hope that in a large hospital, there would always be healthcare professionals of varying beliefs, but what about small ones where there might be only one doctor on call? They do exist. Or what if an ambulance takes a dying patient to a small one, gets refused, and the patient dies on their way to another hospital? That scenario has happened already, due to our health insurance problems.

Imagine what can happen if the doctor refuses to treat due to his finding the patient (or the patient's circumstances) morally objectionable?

Lazy, No doubt abortions are cheaper than some other options. In addition, since abortions were instituted, the crime rate has dropped and a direct correlation has been shown. This is why even most Republicans don't want to deal with abortion any more - only people who are morally convicted about them care.

Anonymous said...

Hi Saur,
I get ya, but yes
ultimately doctors play god everyday

After all you cannot force any doctor to treat you. You cannot force any doctor to 'cure' you, any more than you can force a mechanic or a garage to fix your car. Ultinately one would hope when one needs medical attention, one should have 'access' to the best care there is. Unfortunately that always raises the concern of cost


Jamie Dawn said...

I've respected Bush throughout his presidency, although I've disagreed with him on several things.
I don't know what the Obama presidency will hold, but I expect there will be a lot of things he does that I do not agree with.
Bush obviously expects abortions to rise in number with an Obama presidency, so he's trying to help those who find it morally objectionable. Like you said though, this law could have a much wider range of consequences.

The Lazy Iguana said...

A drop in crime rate? Let me guess - potential future criminals are getting aborted?

I do not think there is any relation to abortions and crime. To illustrate my point in a very humorous manner I will refer you to an open letter written to the Kansas School Board by the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."

And then, of course, there is a graph showing that indeed as the number of pirates decreased, average global temperatures did rise. Thereby "proving" something. I am not sure what.

OH YEA! A statistical correlation that the lack of pirates (mostly in the Caribbean) is a root cause of global warning. There is even a game where you, as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, have to convert people into Pastafarians by touching them with your Noodly Appendage, which then turns the converted into pirates. ARRR!

The point being that you can "prove" almost anything you want to with bad science and unrelated statistics.

Like crime rates and abortion. Or gas prices and soda consumption. Or beer consumption and global stability. And so on.

But getting back to the main point here - the danger is NOT in the doctors. As I said, doctors do not have to get involved in services they do not want to provide. They can just pawn patients off to someone else. It happens all the time.

For example, the time I had to have wisdom teeth extracted. I went to a dentist who took an x-ray and said "you need your wisdom teeth extracted". But did he do it? Oh hell no. I had to go to another tooth doctor who did that sort of thing.

NOBODY puts a gun to the head of a doctor and says "you must provide abortion services". Although some would put a gun to their head and say "you better not provide abortion services".

The danger in this directive is in the pharmacy. Lets say woman X gets a prescription for emergency contraception. The morning after pill. And the pharmacist objects - and refuses to fill it.

Well now what?

And THAT is where the danger to this measure lies.

By the way - you never EVER hear orthodox Jews complaining that they are subject to "pork fumes" from the BBQ place down the street. Ever notice that? I do not know what it has to do with anything, but I brought it up anyway.

daveawayfromhome said...

Liberals do many of the destructive things they do out of a desire to help kids, and while they may be wrong, they are not unloving. While some conservative arguements are made "with love", certainly not all of them are. How exactly is slashing school lunch budgets "loving". Or eliminating pre-school education funding? Or voting against health care for children? The abortion debate has never been, on the conservative side at least, about love. It's been about righteousness and morality, perhaps, but not love. Mostly, though, it's been about money. Choosing lower taxes over children is hardly what one would describe as love.

I'll take wrong-headed attempts to do good over righteous attemps to legislate morality any day, especially when that morality convieniently saves a buck (for use in making more bullets, say).

The Zombieslayer said...

Obama will.

Like stem cell research, for example. Bush Sr made it illegal. Clinton had an Executive Order to legalize it as soon as he got into office. Then GWB had an Executive Order to make it illegal again. Obama will have an Executive Order to make it legal again.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Stem cell research is a good idea, holding back scinece with Bronze Age thinking is stupid at best and criminal at worst.

Dr. Deb said...

Off subject: Just wanted to wish you a Happy Holiday and New Year.

You may now go back to your regular blogprogramming.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'll bet that sneaky George Bush wore a black cape and a black villain mustache while he was delivering this evil stuff to the Federal Register. He probably kicked a pussycat and tripped an old lady on the way.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Don't forget all the skulls of dead Arab children he'd have hanging around his neck...

Tea and Margaritas in My Garden said...

May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and the best New Year!!


The Lazy Iguana said...

You need to let me know when you are are in the Miami area. Really. You do.

I have a POWER CATAMARAN now. The shitty ass Welcraft I had - the power cat is 10,000,000,000% better.

You bring yourself. Ill bring the beer. Everything will be OK.

Stop with the lame ass excuses. Lame ass excuses are LAME!!!! We can go fishing. You will probably not catch lack shit but you might catch a months worth of food. You never know.

So....what say you???? And no bullshit!!!! Either you are in or you are out!!!

Choose wisely.

Emil said...

No comments, just a simple Christman wish. Merry Christman to you and your loved ones.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Merry Christmas Saur and in relation to yuor post on the birth of baby jesus, you do know the census wasn't held then?


Fred said...

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, Saur, and Happy New Year!