Withholding medical care over moral objections? Awesome, let’s start by withholding care from bigots!

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President Trump is very concerned about my religious and moral objections to providing appropriate medical care to those who need it.

According to the Washington Post:

Show up at the pharmacy bearing Nazi tattoos? Sorry, can’t fill your prescription for antibiotics.

The Trump administration will create a new conscience and religious freedom division within the Health and Human Services Department to ease the way for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to opt out of providing services that violate their moral or religious beliefs.

Specific details are scheduled to be announced Thursday. But the new policy appears to be broad and aimed at protecting health-care workers who cite those reasons for refusing to take part in abortions, treat transgender patients or participate in other types of care.

Fantastic! I say we start by withholding medical care from bigots, including the president himself.

Conservative groups praised the move Wednesday as upholding providers’ right to religious liberty.

“We think the Trump administration should set an example in enforcing the multiple conscience laws that have been passed since the 1970s to prevent the government from punishing people who have objections to participating in abortions,” said David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council.

Religious liberty? What could be more religious than refusing to care for those who won’t uphold the Ten Commandments — like Trump himself.

Commandment 7-9 are quite explicit:

Thou shall not commit adultery.
Thou shall not steal.
Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Trump has boasted about committing adultery, is known for refusing to pay vendors and began his political career by lying about President Obama’s birth certificate. Surely, by Trump’s reasoning, doctors have every right to refuse to treat him. He’s a religious abomination!

And how about moral beliefs? Bigotry of any kind is immoral. You’re supposed to love thy neighbor as theyself. It stands to reason that doctors, nurses and pharmacists should have the right to withhold medical care, even life saving medical care, from bigots and their families:

Show up at the pharmacy bearing Nazi tattoos? Sorry, can’t fill your prescription for antibiotics.

Bleeding from a gash in your face after a fight at a white supremacist rally? Stitch it up yourself.

Need a liver transplant after years of hard drinking with your Klan buddies. Sucks to be you because we’re not putting bigots on the transplant list.

Wait, what? The new policy is only supposed to allow providers to deny care to gay or transgender people and to those who request birth control or abortion? That’s not what it’s backers claim:

“President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom,” HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan said in a release Wednesday night. “That promise is being kept today. The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free, and OCR’s new division will help make that vision a reality.”

See: rights of conscience and religious freedom. My conscience tells me that bigots are a religious abomination; according to the new policy that’s enough for me to deny care.

Wait, what? That’s a violation of basic medical ethics? Duh! So is refusing to treat gay and transgender people or refusing to prescribe contraception or facilitate abortions. According to the Trump administration, medical ethics are secondary to freedom of conscience.

Let’s take the president at his word: going forward doctors, nurses and pharmacists should refuse to provide medical care for Trump, his family, his administration and his supporters. Who could possibly be more immoral than they are?

  • attitude devant

    Providing care to people you don’t like is lesson number 1 in medical ethics. If someone is sick, you take care of him or her, no matter how evil he or she is (cf, Dick Cheney, discussed below.)

    However, in practice, what I see is that the same people who would say it’s our responsibility to care for convicts and mafiosi think it’s ok to refuse to see a woman bleeding out with a hematometria after abortion, proving once again that women are just lesser beings, undeserving of basic care. I’m just serving notice that I see them and ALL their hypocrisies.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Actually denying care, definitely not. But pointing out to the men (and I do mean men) in power that their little attempt to further oppress women and the poor can be used against them by discussing in theory what could be done? I think that’s not only acceptable but more moral than rolling over and letting them get away with it.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I’m seriously considering joining the Church of Satan and discussing how disturbing it is to my deeply held religious beliefs to have to treat bigots. But I’m not actually in practice right now, so it’d be a bit futile.

  • Caylynn, RD, MPH

    Up here in my province (Ontario), if a physician does not want to provide non-emergency care to a patient, based on religious beliefs or conscience, he or she must refer the patient to another provider who will provide such care (i.e. prescribe birth control pills if a woman wishes them and the physician does not believe in prescribing them). In an emergency situation, physicians must provide care, even if they object based upon their conscience or religious beliefs.

    Full text of the policy can be found here: http://www.cpso.on.ca/Policies-Publications/Policy/Professional-Obligations-and-Human-Rights

  • Casual Verbosity

    This is an interesting issue. In clinical training for psychologists we’re taught to be aware of any issues or groups that we may not be able to give the best care to and to refer them on. However, this is emphasised as putting the client’s well-being first so that they can receive the care they need and deserve, rather than upholding the clinician’s right to judge people.
    As a patient, in non-life-threatening situations I would much prefer a doctor refer me onto someone who is happy to meet my needs, rather than be stuck with a doctor who is unable to disguise their disdain for me and my decisions. I would also anticipate that for vulnerable groups like LGBTQI persons, it would be particularly important to see a doctor who not merely tolerates them, but accepts them with unconditional positive regard.
    That being said, enshrining the right to discriminate against patients in law causes a major issue for serious and potentially life-threatening scenarios. Under such circumstances, there may not be time to call in a doctor who is prepared to administer the life-saving treatment. There is also the added complication in the US of the large number of Catholic hospitals, which already prohibit their doctors from performing certain procedures. This makes the conscientious objector laws incredibly dangerous, unless there is some kind of stipulation that in potentially life-threatening situations, the doctor is obligated to provide the gold-standard treatment, regardless of their personal beliefs. Even still, I imagine such stipulations might leave too much wiggle room for an unethical doctor to delay their decision-making to the point that it’s too late, and then be able to justify the “ambiguity” to a court.
    As it is, we already see some health professionals exercising their right to deny patients adequate care on the basis of their personal beliefs in the form of midwifery. Midwives decide that their personal beliefs in the importance of the birth canal and forgoing pain relief should allow them to decide not only what type of care the patient receives, but what information is passed onto the doctors. This legislation would ultimately formalise and protect the type of mistreatment that midwives already seem licensed to inflict.

  • CSN0116

    So, I was under the impression that OB/GYNs already had the autonomy to choose not to perform abortions? There is a local uber Catholic OB who will not perform abortions or prescribe birth control, though his partner will do BC prescriptions for patients.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Yeah, but this allows them to grandstand on it.

      • LaMont

        Maybe it’s just for private practice, but not for public hospitals/larger institutions? I have no idea. Either way, why go into healthcare if you don’t believe healthcare should be a thing?

        • MaineJen

          EXACTLY. If you’re not prepared to treat the patient in front of you, no matter who they are or what they need (yes, even an abortion), then maybe you don’t get to be a doctor?

          • Roadstergal

            I mean, I’m atheist, so I’m not going to choose to be a nun as a profession… it seems better for everyone involved.

          • LaMont

            omg I just had the best idea for a sitcom 😉

          • Roadstergal

            I’m in!!

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      SO does this mean if someone comes into the hospital and that OB is the one on duty and someone needs an abortion or an ectopic pregnancy removed to save their life and or health and or fertility that the OB can just do whatever the hell they want instead of what is best for the patient.

      Great! (snark) and now with the Catholic church taking over hospitals left and right in the U.S. we can turn into another Ireland with regards to women’s reproductive health. This also affects access to Emergency contraception for rape victim, DNR requests, access to tubal ligation and contraception.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2016/05/07/health-care-denied-at-550-hospitals-because-of-catholic-doctrine/#4b6655b85ad9

      https://thinkprogress.org/a-bishop-in-the-exam-room-when-faith-dictates-health-care-instead-of-science-69cb73f4ab80/

      • Amy

        And meanwhile, Ireland is planning a referendum on going in the other direction and legalizing abortion. (FINALLY)

  • LaMont

    How long before a woman is denied a life-saving hysterectomy or oophorectomy because it goes against god to hamper fertility? Bonus points if it’s objected to for a post-menopausal or sterile woman because of the Sarah, Hannah, etc. Bible stories. smdh

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Well I don’t know but we have already come close (this nun was excommunicated for allowing a life saving abortion at a Catholic hospital in Arizona:

      https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126985072

      “The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.”

      “But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church’s ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.”

      Anybody who thinks it can’t happen here hasn’t been paying attention. A pregnant woman in Florida was arrested for not agreeing to bedrest, another woman was arrested and tried for murder for attempting suicide while pregnant(she spent 3 months in jail and finally got out after pleading guilty to a lesser charge)

      • LaMont

        Wasn’t that jailed woman in Indiana, a few years ago? When Mike Pence said “we would never punish a woman for making that decision” during the VP debate, I wanted Kaine to throw the fact that TWO WOMEN WERE JAILED/CONVICTED IN YOUR STATE UNDER A LAW YOU SIGNED, ASSHOLE right in his face.

      • StephanieJR

        Women have, indeed, been charged with fetal homicide before:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bei_Bei_Shuai
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purvi_Patel

      • Montserrat Blanco

        This simply appals me. I live in Spain, a very catholic country. We have free abortion until 12 weeks and after that in cases of mother’s health danger and fetal problems. It is unheard of a woman whose life is in danger to die because of not performing an abortion or treating an ectopic pregnancy. A friend of mine had an ovary and Fallopian tube removed due to an ectopic pregnancy by a very hard catholic OB. The baby would not have made it anyway and it was necessary to save my firend’s life. We are the country of the Inquisition and we treat ectopic pregnancies on a daily basis without excommunication!

        • swbarnes2

          Sometimes, tube removal is preferred by Catholics over, say, a chemical termination, because they argument is that the primary element of the surgery is to removed the ‘diseased’ tube, and the death of the fetus is secondary, while the primary effect of the chemical abortion is the death of the fetus, and that’s a no-no.

          So you can get the situation where the woman would be better off with a chemical termination over a tube removal, and the fetus is just as dead either way, but the Catholics choose the tube removal.

          • Merrie

            It seems like rules lawyering to me. Same with the idea that artificial birth control is bad but avoiding sex except on days you know you’re not fertile is fine. It seems to come down to whether you are altering the function of the body in a way to prevent reproduction… but it seems to me that God is smart enough to recognize when you’re trying to get around his rules. Also, I think as far as God influences fertility, I would assume He was capable of making birth control fail if He really wanted someone to get pregnant.

          • Roadstergal

            Yes, that’s the bit that trips me up. NFP doesn’t thwart god’s will only if it doesn’t work… yes? If it works at all, then what’s the difference between that and a pill? An omnipotent god shouldn’t see the difference between observed and influenced cycles?

            (I mean, according to (misapplications of) quantum theory, observed and influenced are the same. :p )

      • MaineJen

        The idea of *a priest or nun* having final say over medical decisions is absolutely horrifying. HOW is that a thing.

        • BeatriceC

          I know a couple nuns and one priest with M.D.’s and a dozen or so nuns with R.N.’s. Oddly, those are the most liberal Catholics I know, who rather strongly disagree, in private, if not vocally in public, disagree with a number of healthcare issues the Church has opinions about.

          Granted that’s the exception, so the sentiment remains, and I agree with you.

          • MaineJen

            Yeah, weird how reality seems to have a ‘liberal’ bias.

            I also find it odd…maybe it’s just that I’m not religious at all. But. If you find yourself at such odds with your religion about such fundamental things…why be a part of that religion any more?

          • It’s not incompatible, per se. But the idea that my medical care could be decided by someone whose religion I not only don’t share, but find actively harmful, is incredibly disturbing!

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            And if you are in an accident or unconscious and taken to the nearest hospital and it happens to be a Catholic owned hospital, your options may be limited because of that.

          • Indeed. And that is really terrifying, because it’s not like you get a choice in an emergency.

    • StephanieJR

      The case of Savita Halappanavar is something that should never happen, back then or now.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Savita_Halappanavar

  • Russell Jones

    Trump’s Army doc says he’s 6’3″ and weighs a “mere” 239 lbs.

    lol

    Trump’s left ass cheek alone weighs 239, and he gets noticeably fatter on a near-daily basis. Hopefully they saved President Taft’s bathtub.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Taft hated being president too. He however, was half-way competent.

      • Russell Jones

        Taft slimmed down substantially after leaving the White House, and became positively svelte (by Taft standards, at least) when Harding gave him a job he truly enjoyed, Chief Justice of SCOTUS. Jesus H. Tapdancin’ Christ, here’s hoping THAT bit of history doesn’t repeat.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Strongly doubt it. Taft was a much younger man when he left the executive branch. Plus, Taft was qualified and CJ Roberts is a full 10 years younger than Grandpa Donnie.

          • Merrie

            Don’t you have to be a lawyer first?

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I’m not sure that it’s actually required by law, but certainly by precident (sp?)

          • Close. Precedent.

          • Russell Jones

            Every justice to date was in fact a lawyer (many were judges as well), but the only actual requirements are (1) nomination by POTUS and (2) confirmation by a simple majority of the Senate.

          • Who?

            I doubt the other justices would be too keen on a non-lawyer joining them.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Taft was about 64 when he joined SCOTUS

        • MaineJen

          Trump couldn’t even begin to comprehend the smallest part of what SCOTUS does all day.

          • Russell Jones

            Too right! Then again, he can’t begin to comprehend the smallest part of what POTUS does all day, yet look where he is. 🙁

        • The Vitaphone Queen

          Moar Nickelodeon Magazine flashbacks! YAY!

          This prank DVD cover is from the April 2007 Nick Mag. (I crossed out the Nick logo to make it look more authentic, I guess.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c6ed1792bff2fdef3d8e8b23d0b3e28d90d8f260f9d3412aa11c20d4a2b3f73.jpg

  • carovee

    Oh goody, doctors and nurses at Catholic hospitals can start prescribing birth control left and right. After all, the only guide now is your personal moral compass, right?

    • Roadstergal

      Corporations are people too, my friend!

      • carovee

        SOB.

        *the sound, not the epithet.

  • Montserrat Blanco

    Being able to not treat bigots would be wonderful!

  • mabelcruet

    I’d quite happily be his doctor.

    Bear in mind I’m a pathologist and dissect dead people.

    • attitude devant

      I’d hate to tell you the tenor of the conversations among the cardiologists in our lounge when Dick Cheney was having his heart surgeries. Funny, but I never thought I’d detest anyone more than Dick Cheney, but I’m willing to admit I was wrong.

      • MaineJen

        It’s a weird feeling to hate someone more than the guy who shot his friend in the face (and the FRIEND apologized to HIM for it).

  • jessiebird

    So much for the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan…wasn’t the whole point of that story is that a guy was dying by the side of the road because no one would help him because he was a reviled “other,” until the Samaritan came along and saw that his humanity came first, his associations second. Sigh…

    • swbarnes2

      I thought the modern Christian take on that parable was that the priest and Levite did the right thing, by sending the guy “thoughts and prayers”. The good Samaritan was some kind of SJW

  • Mel

    IMHO, the tip of the cards that Trump has realized that something is wonky enough that he might be losing supporters is when he makes a token effort of make evangelical conservative Christians happy.

    You know, the group he often refers to as “the Christians” – “the Christians still like me, right?” – which is a sign of his life-long, deep connection with his faith. Just like the time at Liberty University that he read the notation “2 Corinthians” as “Two Corinthians” – a totally normal mistake for raised-in-the-faith adults. rolls eyes

    • Roadstergal
    • Dinolindor

      I had someone argue that he said that on purpose, as a rhetorical device, to cut tension in the room. I mean, how can you argue with that? There’s a mountain of evidence that this man does not live according to evangelical values, and yet they are willing to rationalize anything and everything.

      I grew up evangelical. I had been going through a sort of crisis of faith the years leading up to the 2016 election anyway, but the fact that evangelicals came out in higher numbers for Trump than for Romney made the answer crystal clear to me. I’m done, I’m out, eff their noise.

      • Roadstergal

        If there’s anything Trump is good at, it’s subtle jokes and cutting tension. Also, he’s 239lb and will live 200 years.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Snort. Sounds like a fun variation.

  • MaineJen

    I *cannot* with this president any more. I just can’t.

  • Taysha

    I expect the Church of Satan to have some lovely commentary about this.

    • Roadstergal

      I expect some good lawsuits to come and will toss some money their way.

      Also, the FFRF.

      • LaMont

        I donated to the FFRF and now I have a “The only wall we need is between Church and State” bumper sticker on my laptop. They turned me into a “political sticker on the laptop” person!!

    • The Satanic Temple probably will too. That’s the group headed by Lucien Greaves that does most of the religious liberty lawsuits these days.

      • Steph858

        Reminds me of this story a while back:

        https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/satanism-royal-navy

        And yet, when it’s followers of HER religion whose practices/beliefs are being questioned, her tone is very different:

        https://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/ann-widdecombe/727825/Ashers-Baking-Company-Christian-bakers-ruling-saddens-me-Ann-Widdecombe

        Either you support the freedom to practise one’s religion under almost all circumstances, or you think those practices should mostly be confined to the private home and place of worship. Make your mind up!

        ETA: I just picked Ms. Widdecombe because I happened to remember her contradictory stances. I’m sure many, many other politicians have similarly demanded the right to be able to practice one’s religion regardless of the harm and inconvenience such practices may cause others … right up until someone from the ‘wrong’ religion wants the same in return.

        • Oh yes. There’s one politician in Louisiana who sponsored a bill to give money to private religious institutions. It passed because it’s Louisiana. Then a Muslim private school applied for money, and she was appalled. She hadn’t realized that her law allowed “other” religions to get money too!

          She said that. In public. On camera. In the US. She was horrified that a Muslim school would get public money to teach their religion and she thought only Christian schools would be eligible.

          • Steph858

            That’s hilarious! Hypocrisy and double standards are one thing, but that is just outright stupidity. I’m amazed that she never had the following conversation with an adviser (or whoever it is helps politicians translate their ideas into the legalese in which bills are written):

            Politician: And don’t forget to specify that only Christian schools are eligible. We wouldn’t want any of those devil-worshipping heathens getting government money, now, would we?

            Adviser: I’m afraid that would violate the first amendment. We’re already on shaky grounds by effectively excluding Humanists; luckily for us, there aren’t any Humanist schools in Louisiana so if anyone brings that up, we can just pretend that Humanists are welcome to start up their own school and apply for the funding. That ought to stall them, at least till we can come up with some pretext upon which to declare their new school ineligible. But you can’t earmark government funding for a specific religion; it’s all of them or none of them.

            Politician: Hmmm. I’d better think of some criteria which would effectively exclude non-Christians without explicitly doing so before trying to push this bill through …

            PS: What happened next? Did she try to get the bill repealed, or did she just take it on the chin, suck it up and pretend that she’d really been all in favour of any and all religious schools getting the funding in the first place?

          • I think she actually tried to get the bill repealed, but I don’t remember.

  • namaste

    Blessed be the fruit.

    • By their fruit ye shall know them? This bitter fruit is evangelicals’ “gift” to the world, and it shows just how messed up, twisted, and downright evil their worldview and beliefs are.

      • namaste

        Actually I was referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. You know, the idea of women as nothing more than broodmares.

        • namaste

          I meant it sardonically.

        • Oh. I missed that. Sorry. I figured it was sardonic, I just didn’t get it was a reference to that book / TV series.

    • LaMont

      May the Lord open.

      • namaste

        under His eye.