Tuesday, December 23, 2008

this is what I'm talking about.

Anyone similarly concerned about the right of a pharmacist to deny birth control to women based on religious grounds needs to read this article from a recent edition of Newsweek. I had no idea that there was legislation in South Dakota that so blatantly flies in the face of the notion of "conscientious objection".

Here's the deal: In South Dakota, all doctors are legally required to read a script to a woman before performing an abortion on her. This script repeats the usual pro-life rhetoric that abortion = murder, but it also includes blatant lies about how women who seek abortions have higher rates of suicide. (This is simply not true.) So, though a doctor may value honest information, perhaps because their religion requires them to be truthful, they still have to read this script or risk getting fined. This means that religious protection under this new regulation only goes one way (that you enjoy religious freedom unless you are pro-choice, essentially). Those who feel a moral duty against abortion are enjoying an extension of their rights, while those with a moral duty to provide honest and safe medical care to women (including abortions) are seeing their rights disappear.

The last paragraph struck me the hardest:

Almost completely missing from this fascinating legislative discussion of what health workers might be forced to do and say with respect to reproductive rights are the reproductive rights themselves. Whether we like it or not, the right to birth control, emergency contraception and—under most circumstances—abortion is still constitutionally protected. But these are not services a woman can provide for herself, which leaves her with few rights at all when her doctors are empowered by law to misinform her, withhold advice or deny services altogether. Even beyond the problem of subordinating a woman's rights to her doctor, however, there looms a larger question for health-care workers themselves: if they are indeed seeing their rights and freedoms either hugely expanded or severely restricted based solely on which side they've chosen in the culture wars, they might properly wonder whether any of them are truly free at all.
The article is so good. Read it!

{image from Jezebel, originally from the Associated Press}

1 comment:

LMB said...

Thanks for this post.

In a nutshell, conservatives want government policies to have power over individual's decisions, and they see nothing dangerous about this.

In the case of abortion, almost everyone would agree that it is woman's God-given right to give birth. But, to a conservative oppposed to abortion, this right only works one way-- the government to make the decision that she has no right to end the pregnancy. The individual no longer has a choice.

Pro-choice means exactly that-- private, personal, and often painful decisions are left to the individual.

Rights to contraception don't infringe on anyone. No one is required by law to DO anything outside of their normal daily life's routine. Making contraception a special case, and allowing pharmacists to "opt out" of prescribing it, creates a potential blocking of access to medical care. This has questionable legal ramifications. In any case, once again, an individual is no longer free to decide if contraception is for her-- the government becomes involved in infringing on a personal decision.

Decide to tax a business, and there is "too much big government." But, what could be bigger government than making reproductive choices for citizens and institutionalizing the restriction of modern medicine? The conservative logic is not there, and they do not see why liberals find such attitudes threatening. In short: they take away individual freedoms to make basic choices.