"Moral Refusal" extends to healthcare in general
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Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:14:02 AM EST
In this previous article on Talk2Action I have reported on "moral refusal" clauses in general, and how they are being used increasingly not only to deny birth control to women (even if birth control is prescribed for medical reasons unrelated to contraception such as polycystic ovary disease) but even potentially lifesaving medication like antivirals--simply because those antivirals can be used to treat certain forms of STDs.

"Moral refusal" is now expanding to not only include telling women they cannot be treated for herpesvirus infections (including, notably, chickenpox) or use birth control, but it's now expanding to allow doctors to refuse treatment to entire classes of people--in particular, gay and lesbian individuals--simply because of their sexual orientation.

In a landmark case now in litigation in California, two lesbians are suing a clinic that has used the "moral refusal" clause to refuse to provide insemination services--because the clinic's employees feel lesbians are "living in sin".  If the clinic wins, this could have drastic--potentially deadly--consequences for pretty much all non-dominionists.

Per this article (mirrored via CourtTV here) the "moral refusal" movement in dominionist circles is now targeting reproductive services for gay/les/bi folks:

A lesbian woman will challenge an appeals court ruling that permitted two doctors to claim a religious defense in their refusal to artificially inseminate her.

A California appeals court last week sided with the doctors, Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, saying they can claim religious liberty in refusing to treat a patient who was gay because it was against their Christian beliefs.

Guadalupe Benitez filed a sexual-orientation discrimination suit against the doctors at a San Diego women's clinic after they refused to artificially inseminate her in 2000.

Benitez claims that on her first visit, Brody informed her that while her religious principles precluded her from performing the procedure on a gay woman, another doctor in the clinic would.

Benitez says, however, that after 11 months of costly, painful tests and surgeries, when the time came for the insemination procedure, she was turned down and told that she "would not be treated fairly" or "get timely care" at the clinic because of Dr. Brody's and other staff members' religious beliefs.

The doctors' lawyer, Carlo Coppo, said his clients were committed to fair treatment of Benitez -- from fertilization to pregnancy and birth -- but that aiding the actual act of conception compromised their religious views.

"[Brody] believes that participating in the [fertilization procedure], she is acting as the male," Coppo said. "It is an elective, invasive procedure, and to be there for the moment of conception, she religiously can't participate."

Benitez's attorney, Jennifer Pizer, said the appeals court ruling was troubling because it opened the door to all kinds of discrimination.

"It certainly is a social problem and a legal problem if someone enters a commercial business and can be told they will not receive the same services that another person can," Pizer said.

Both attorneys agree the case is the first of its kind and tests whether a doctor can choose who to treat based on religious beliefs.

Coppo says denying doctors their religious rights is also a form of discrimination, and that the law allows doctors to choose who they treat consistent with their religious convictions as long as they offer alternative means for care.

Pizer says a doctor's religious freedoms should not come at the expense of a patient's care.



If the courts rule in favour of the clinic, this could open the floodgates to dominionist doctors flat out refusing to render any medical treatment--even lifesaving treatment--to people simply because they think they are gay or disagree with "lifestyle" of the person they're treating (even more so than they are open already--Mississippi's law, and proposed laws in two other states, are already so broad as to allow any medical professional to refuse to treat you simply because you may be gay or pagan and they feel treating you would "violate their morals").

I have previously reported here in regards to moral refusal, and had warned specifically that dominionists were working towards a "medical apartheid"--in that dominionists can refuse even lifesaving treatment to someone, simply because they are gay (or need a medical procedure they disagree with, or think someone is otherwise "living in sin").  

Presently California's refusal clause is for abortions only (per this site) and is one of four states that actually require pharmacies to fill prescriptions for birth control; California, however, has had proposals in its legislature to have broad refusal clauses passed.  

The ultimate goal for dominionists--and one they admit in their own churches--is "Convert or die"; that one could be refused even lifesaving medical treatment because a dominionist doctor doesn't agree with treating gays, or pagans, or people living together who are unmarried, etc.  

Ethics laws are not a major protection--technically refusing to render medical aid is an ethics violation per most professional medical groups, but dominionists have simply set up parallel certification boards when medical associations have come out against dominionist practices.  For example, when the American Academy of Pediatrics (the main certification board in the US for pediatricians) issued a formal  ruling condemning "de-gaying" or "reparative" therapy as harmful, dominionist pediatricians set up a "parallel economy" certification board called the American College of Pediatricians and are now pushing to have that recognised by state medical licensing boards as an alternative to the AAP for certification for licensing.  NARTH has been pushed, as well as smaller "psychoanalysis" groups, in similar fashion in states relying on certification from mainstream psychiatric and social work certification groups (nearly all of which have not only condemned it but several consider its practice an ethics violation)--partly so that they can avoid license revocation procedures in states that use the ethics guidelines of mainstream medical professional organisations.




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