That isn't a position I'm writing from right now, but I'm discussing this particular issue because I think it is important. Hillary Clinton (Senator from New York) and Cecile Richards (president of Planned Parenthood) joined forces to write an editorial in the New York Times about a new proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would "require that any health care entity that receives federal financing - whether it's a physician in private practice, a hospital or a state government - certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable".
On the surface, this seems like a fairly benign rule. But as Senator Clinton and Ms. Richards expanded upon the ramifications about the rule, it became more and more apparent that we as Americans should speak out against it. The rule would allow physicians to deny patients contraception; it could be used to deny women patients information about their options or even denied care - and denied a referral to a doctor who wouldn't find the medical services asked for objectionable. Since the rule is also nebulous and unspecific about what, indeed, the employees could deny upon deciding the request was in some way objectionable, Clinton and Richards ask:
Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers to not refill a birth control prescription?
These questions resonate with me, and I would hope they resonate with many others. Yes, those who give medical care should have some protections in place; but those protections should not infringe upon patients' rights. Patient rights only begin where those who have been entrusted with giving them sound medical advice's rights end. And for my own sake, I want a doctor who is compelled - not just by morality, but by the law itself - to give me all of the information, or direct me to someone who will. Because of that, I went to the ACLU's page about the matter and filled out the required fields to send a letter to the HHS. And why I'm going to be calling 1-877-696-6775 on Monday to personally voice my displeasure with this measure. And I hope others will too. We have until September 25. Sorry for the short notice. I'm a bit of a procrastinator...