This is an excerpt from an article that was posted over at RichardDawkins.net:
A Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting health-care workers who object to abortion, and to birth-control methods they consider tantamount to abortion, has escalated a bitter debate over the balance between religious freedom and patients' rights.
The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive.
Conservative groups, abortion opponents and some members of Congress are welcoming the initiative as necessary to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers who, they say, are increasingly facing discrimination because of their beliefs or are being coerced into delivering services they find repugnant.
"They are manipulating the system by manipulating the definition of the word 'abortion,' " said Susan F. Wood, a professor at George Washington University who resigned from the Food and Drug Administration over the delays in approving the nonprescription sale of Plan B. "It's another example of this administration's disregard for science and medicine in how agencies make decisions."
The draft states that numerous cases have been reported of health-care workers being "required to violate their consciences by providing or assisting in the provision of controversial medicine or procedures." It adds that many states have recently passed laws requiring health plans to pay for contraception, pharmacists to fill prescriptions for birth control, and hospitals to offer Plan B to women who have been raped.
"In general, the Department is concerned that the development of an environment in the health care industry that is intolerant of certain religious beliefs, ethnic and cultural traditions, and moral convictions may discourage individuals from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds from entering health care professions," the document states.
The most controversial section defines abortion as "any of the various procedures -- including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action -- that results in the termination of life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation."
That definition would include most forms of hormonal birth control and the IUD, which most major medical groups believe do not constitute abortion because they primarily affect ovulation or fertilization and not an embryo once it has implanted in the womb.
"You could imagine a group of people with less than honorable intentions seeking to get hired at a family planning clinic with the specific objective of obstructing access. Under this regulation, there is little you could do about it," said Jill Morrison of the National Women's Law Center.
I don't know about you, but this makes me furious.
It is one thing to oppose abortion, but to redefine it to include forms of birth control is outrageous. This is just another example of the Christian right wanting to push their ideology on everyone. Ultimately I'm sure they hope to monitor every individual's sex life, since this is what this amounts to.
These people want to tell me what kind of sex life I should have.
If someone has an issue giving birth control prescriptions, then they need to just suck it up, or ask a co-worker to do it. But refusing to serve people is discriminatory and dangerous.
I'm sure that vegetarians or members of PETA don't apply at KFC and then refuse to serve meat to the customers. It's just completely idiotic!
There was also a really interesting comment on the article at RichardDawkins.net that talked about a friend being uncomfortable performing male circumcisions because she is opposed to them. At first my instinct was to think, she shouldn't have to do them!
Of course, this was my first instinct because I am opposed to male circumcision. But I realize now that this is very much the same situation, and just because this woman doesn't like it, doesn't mean she should impede the procedure in anyway.
If she disapproves she should transfer to another department, or she can spend her time fighting for her cause when she is off-duty. This is the same thing I think these people should do who have a problem with filling a woman's prescription for the pill.
Even though you may not like something, it is the law and you were hired to perform your job. If you don't like your job, then quit. If you don't like the law, then fight to change it, but do this on your own time.