Health care workers and choice

As a former OB nurse, I found this very distressing..


  1. This is outrageous. I’m sending the link to everyone I know.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Thanks Mary. It is disturbing. I am baffled that this president is so narrowly focused and careless in his decisions. It is just unbelieveable.

  3. Jeanne A says:

    I hope and pray this doesn’t happen. But what a witness could if thousands and thousands of Christian nurses refused and the shortage of nurses became even more acute.

    I’m going to forward this to my sister who just became a PA.

  4. Thank you for spreading the word!

  5. Thank you so much for linking to this article.

    I lived in the UK for four years, and while the universal healthcare plan is a saviour to many a single mother, it also takes money from the citizen to perform millions of abortions. Wait till that one hits the fan here. It’s not going to be pretty

    God bless Mary! Still loving your blog – after more than two years. Can’t wait to read your book. Congrats, friend!

  6. rowdykatie says:
  7. Mary, thanks for the information. I’m going to post about it too. Rowdykatie, I find the article to be out of date, rather it needs to be updated.

  8. Just to present some more info – you can decide, of course…

    The article you link to is not accurate. The law that Obama is trying to rescind is a NEW one – enacted on the last day of the Bush administration, that greatly expanded on the existing “conscience clause”.

    Under the new law, health care providers can refuse to provide services or advice, or EVEN INFORMATION to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling, if they are morally against it.

    Denying a patient information is much more serious that a refusal to participate in a procedure.

    I support a health-care provider’s right to choose not to participate in a procedure to which they morally object (the existing “conscience clause”). I would not support their right to withhold information about that procedure. The health care worker’s religious beliefs should not trump the patient’s beliefs.

    Anyway, here’s a news article that presents a pretty balanced view (IMO):

  9. Rowdy Katy and Habesha Child. I sighted accurate articles, but I appreciate any further reading about this very concerning issue:

    #1 He is wanting to RESCIND the Conscience clause. Not rewrite it. It is not part of FOCA, as far as I can tell. We have 30 days to respond to this order to rescind. Rescind means to “take back” “to cancel”. Go here:

    #2 A doctor can chose how he practices medicine….and that includes prescribing pain medication. If said doctor is suspicious that you are abusing pain meds, he can deny your prescription for them. It is his/her choice. If that doc will not prescribe the morning after pill to you, AGAIN that is his/her choice. You then, have the choice to walk out the door and find a doctor who will. THAT IS YOUR CHOICE. If you are ignorant enough to seek the morning after pill in CATHOLIC hospital, well then, I am not sure what to say to you. Maybe, duh? The law that Bush placed protects employees from being harrassed at work or fired for refusing to do something that is against their religious or moral belief. My understanding is that it also prevents the government from refusing funds to a hospital or provider if certain procedures are not in place… turn if an employer persecutes a person for refusing care based on their convictions, the government CAN withhold funds from the entity for harrassing the employee.

    If Obama has his way, the government will be making your medical decisions for you, not the doctor. This is his idea of health reform…making it affordable to everyone, but screwing it up so badly that you will wait months for an appointment or a test that you need and Uncle Sam will be calling the shots.

    Thanks Mary!

  10. As a nurse I think Jody is smack dab on the money. At least for now, you are a consumer of health care. It is up to you to be an informed consumer. BUYER BE WARE. You have the choice to go to doctors or hospitals and you can choose different ones. Anybody who blindly takes medical advice as gospel truth…well…IMHO you have surrendered your right to whine when things go wrong. CHOOSE WISELY PEOPLE! Find doctors, nurses, and hospitals that are in line with your beliefs.

    I personally think abortion should be legal up to age 16 or not at all. I mean let’s face it 16 is a pretty generous age for when a person might actually be able to get a job and support themselves. That is really “viability”. The term as it is used now cracks me up since everyday our science improves and preemie babies that formerly couldn’t survive do. It is not a magic number that means some set in stone developmental stage. Of course abortion has never been about “logic” it is simply about convenience. You can make all the “end justifies the means” arguments you want but face the reality– before an abortion there are two genetically distinct life forms and after there is only one.

    You of course may disagree with me. Should I decide for you? Why should you decide for me then? I think abortion is a great evil that causes permanent harm to society. But hey, if you want one, and can find someone to do it…be my guest, we all get judged in the end. However, don’t you DARE use my money or expect me to participate. I have just as much right to “choose” as you do. Before I ever work under orders to violate my conscience I will surrender my license so fast it may spontaneously combust.

  11. Actually, he’s only removing the part of the rule Bush signed into office in August and became active the day Obama took office. The clause as it was when Bush left office stands in effect.

    “‘We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to providing abortions,’ according to an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The official declined to be identified because the policy change had not been announced. ‘We want to ensure that current law protects them. But we do not want to impose new limitations on services that would allow providers to refuse to provide to women and their families services like family planning and contraception that would actually help prevent the need for an abortion in the first place.'”

  12. We all have to be able to make some choices for ourselves!

  13. Thanks for the good link. I’m a family practice doctor who loves doing OB, and this really worried me, too. I actually blogged about it a few days ago – and also about the Freedom of Choice Act, which thankfully has not yet been passed, but I am afraid will get passed sometime soon. Although this is worrisome, that bill would be an even bigger loss in the fight for life.

    Check it out <a href=””here.

  14. It’s misleading to say that someone who chooses to go to a Catholic center is just being foolish — it presumes that there are other health care facilities around, which may not be the case. However, what this law does is remove the protection that an employee has for refusing treatment: basically, it removes the protection that the employee could be fired for not providing care. If the facility decides that it won’t provide contraceptives/abortions just as a matter of policy, then they don’t, and their employees are not bound to provide that care.

    However, if your employer doesn’t support their employee not giving care, the employer can terminate the employee, with cause. I think this is completely fair: one of the big issues with giving employees a protected status for refusing care is that in underserved areas, access to abortion/contraception is effectively removed, because a local provider can choose not to do this, and their employer can not replace them.

    The issue of refusing care does little to diminish the …well, desire to have an abortion. But it does limit access to poor (as women with higher incomes can always seek another provider.) In my opinion, the way to reduce abortions is to reduce the want for abortion, and this requires an inquiry as to why people do this in the first place. Some key reasons are economic factors, and general support (like family, or childcare.) Because these reasons aren’t typically addressed (especially under Bush, who cut care for mothers) it’s difficult to really achieve a true reduction in abortions overall.

    this is a contentious topic, but I’d hope that people really reflect on why a woman would choose abortion (and “slut-shaming” is incredibly wrong-sighted) and then think about what policies are enacted that actually address these reasons.

    There are a some articles speak to some of these concerns: (shakespeare’s sister)

  15. edited:

    the first link is from a birthmom who gave her child up for adoption after a rape. I think it’s a really powerful story about the ideas of what we expect women to feel about abortion/adoption (rather than the loss of a child, overall.) There’s strong language (as an advisory) but no graphic content.

  16. hi — i’m not sure if my first comment is still being moderated, or if it were omitted, but having the second without the first is a little confusing. I understand if you don’t want to post my comment, but I’d appreciate it if the second were removed if the first one will not be included. Thanks

  17. (in which we beat a dead horse):

    Also, as it stands, the Conscience Clause is not restricted to issues of contraception/abortion. This is just the common situation when the topic is discussed. However, a provider can use the Clause to refuse ANY care based on moral beliefs — this means that a provider can refuse care not based on the procedure, but on the -person- receiving the procedure. This has already been seen where fertility providers have refused to do fertility treatments on lesbian couples, but there’s a broader implication:

    Consider if a Catholic wanted to refuse care to a Protestant, or if a person who felt that women should not work outside of the home refused to do a pre-hire job physical. Or the converse of contraceptive care: if a person felt a moral conviction against overpopulation, and refused to give care to a pregnant woman. Or refused to do fertility treatments on a mixed-race couple, because they felt these unions were wrong.

    And even when considering specific procedures instead of people, the Clause has a broad reach: consider the Jehovah’s Witness that doesn’t refuse general care, but who could refuse to give the blood transfusion when the pregnant woman needs the emergency C-section. There have already been instances where the pharmacist refuses to give out the anti-virals for the HIV patient, because of views about homosexuality, or medicine for the person with an STD (even though even if a person is sexually abstinent until marriage, there are still people who are the victims of sexual assault, or other situations.)

    So as it stands, the a child born with HIV, once an adult, could see his access to medicine and treatment limited because his health care provider believes that HIV is mainly carried by homosexuals and that this goes against God’s plan, so she won’t fill the perscription. Now consider if the doctor for one of the few places that child can be treated also refuses care, not because of the illness, but because of the person.

    So while on it’s face, it may seem like it’s upholding the right of the individual, there is a real issue with the door that’s been opened with this kind of legal protection.

    And going back to switching providers, besides the issue of time/access, there’s also the issue of ability: there have been pharmacists who have not only refused to fill the Plan B prescription, but who have also refused to give it back so the patient could find another provider — these acts were not forbidden under the Clause.) So it permits the health care provider to not only act in accordance to her conscience, but to enforce her conscience upon you, so that you are forced to act in the way she would have done. (In my opinion, this is what you do to children, not to adults.)

    Although the Clause was intended (IMO) to address issues of sex and fertility, the actual scope is far broader, and should be struck down if only for that reason.

    There are some instances (but I don’t know much about them) where there is a more narrow crafting of what can be declined and when. I’m staunchly Pro-Choice, but I can fully support a provider abstaining from performing abortions if he considers them to be murder. But I don’t support the doctor in emergency care refusing to dispense Plan B: this person should not be in emergency care. Nor do I support the pharmacist who refuses to fill any prescription: this is an issue between the doctor and the patient, and the pharmacist should not have the protected latitude to override this relationship, especially in such a broad-based manner.