I was watching a segment on CNN this past weekend about the dilemmas of doctors who have moral, ethical or religious objections to certain medical procedures (abortion being the most obvious) and how they deal with the consequences of their objections. And there ARE consequences.
One doctor said that as an intern two decades ago, she was denied opportunities that other interns were given, based on the fact that the other interns 'earned' the opportunities because they performed many abortions and she did not. They were therefore rewarded with increased opportunities than the doctors who did not perform abortions.
This doctor (an OB/GYN) to this day has not performed an abortion, nor will she provide referrals for one. A woman would simply need to see a different doctor for the procedure (or the referral).
A new federal law is on the books, looking to protect doctors like this from being excluded from 'rewards' or perks (and to protect them against any kind of discrimination) because of their religious or moral objections. Supporters want to get the law passed under the current Administration, as they believe it will be harder to get passed once the new Obama Administration comes into place on January 20th, 2009.
Critics of the law argue that this new law is too expansive and the long arm of this particular law is far too long. They argue that anyone in a medical setting will be allowed to use this law to the point that it's true meaning will be diluted. An example (my own hypothesis) would be that a custodian would not clean the hospital room of a patient who had an abortion, based on his/her objections to abortion in general and would be protected under the law. Critics of the law fear that areas like fertility treatments and stem cell research will be negatively affected.
Others claim that these doctors are trying to "play God" and have a duty to provide any service, as long as it is legal and the patient is fully aware of his or her situation.
But supporters of the law say that it is needed. That too many doctors are pressured by the business practices of clinics and other partners, to provide services that they are not ethically comfortable with doing. And a doctor should not have to leave his or her beliefs at home and provide services that they have a moral objection to, especially when so many doctors and clinics are ready and willing to provide the services in question.
On it's face value, a somewhat similar issue has occasionally surfaced in pharmacies, where pharmacists have refused to dispense birth control pills or the morning after pill, although from a legal standpoint (and this law in particular), these are entirely different areas.
Tell Us -
What do you think of this law? Should doctors be protected from having to provide services they have a moral or religious objection to? Or should they focus on the needs and wants of the patient, and not their own personal opinion regarding the service requested?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.