Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama removing regulations protecting health care workers part two: discrimination does exist

The rules by the Bush administration to reinforce the freedom of conscience of those working in health care was to reinforce the earlier laws that date back thirty years.

But what has changed is the advent of the various "abortion pills" and of euthanasia.

So it is no longer a matter of a physician or nurse not going into Obstetrics so they won't be forced to do abortions, it is now a matter that can affect every physician, nurse and pharmacist in the country.

There is a second thing that has changed over the past 30 years: In the past, physicians and pharmacists often were independent, running their own practice or pharmacy.

Nowaday, however, they often work for large corporations. It will cost these companies money to hire extra employees when some employees won't cooperate with abortion; of course, like Walmart, they might just say no, but even Walmart was forced to give in after pro abortion pressure groups and the state of Conneticut threatened lawsuits if they did not make abortion pills available in all their pharmacies.


Finally, by removing the regulations, which required the corporations to document that they were following the law protecting the conscience of their employees, it makes it easier to fire the employee. It removes the ability for employees to document that he or she is being fired for refusing to go along with abortions.

There are supposedly "civil rights" laws to protect employees that date back to the 1960's, but those laws didn't do much to protect folks back then, and one doubts they will continue to protect health care personnel now.

As a medical student in the mid 1960's, I was ordered to "assist" on abortions as part of my training. Even though abortions were illegal, one physician in that hospital was doing abortions, often listing them as normal surgery.

I refused to assist him with his abortions, and ended up being ridiculed in front of the other students for the refusal. That didn't bother me as much as you'd think: back then, only 5% of the medical students in my school were women, so we put up with a lot of what is now called "sexual harassment".

But as revenge, the physician sent in a bad evaluation saying I refused to assist in surgery, and that I had failed the course.

When I was informed of this by the Dean of Students, I explained what had happened, and that my objections were based on religious grounds; in the end, they did allow me to pass the course.

But as a result, I did not take an OB/Gyn residency. I had learned my lesson.

However, three years later, right after Roe V Wade passed, my best friend was confronted with a similar threat.

She had deliberately taken a residency at a Catholic hospital because as a pious Hindu, she did not believe in taking life.

Part of the training required them to "rotate" for three months to the local university hospital, supposedly to learn advanced surgical techniques. In reality, the residents were doing lots of abortions, making money for the hospital.

So my friend was ordered to perform abortions. When she refused, she was told to do them or she would lose her residency position (which would mean she would have to return to India).

She appealed on religious grounds, but the head of the University residency program instructed her that abortion was not illegal for Hindus, so she could not claim a religious exemption.

Not knowing the law, and fearing deportation, she complied, fasting and praying on those days to make up for her sin.

Ironically, at the same University, some of her fellow residents were Muslim. They too were threatened with loss of their residency if they would not do abortions.

So all of them said: We are Muslim. We will not do abortions. And if you try to force us, we will all quit.

Since no residency is so large that they can afford to lose several residents at the same time, the Muslim physicians were allowed not to do abortions.

For nurses, the pressure was different. They had no choice. If one of the ladies was sent in to pass a second trimester abortion in her ward, she would simply be fired if she left the job or refused to care for that patient.

But many nurses did object, and some nurses were unionized, and made their objections heard.

So hospitals decided mandatory "retraining", to change the minds of the nurses about abortion. Those that refused to be brainwashed or coerced were reassigned.

But the hassle became so bad that the abortion business quickly moved to private clinics.

Now, fast forward 30 years.

Thirty years ago, the "morning after pill" was thought to be contraceptive, by stopping ovulation.

Newer research shows that it also stops implantation of a fertilized ovum, so it is considered abortifactive, especially if given days after intercourse.

IN the past, the only time physicians used the "morning after pill" was for rape; nowadays, it is being pressed as an ordinary means of contraception and there is a lot of pressure for the pill to be sold "over the counter" without a prescription. This is bad medicine for a lot of reasons (STD risk, the patient may already be pregnant, no counseling)

So fast forward to the year 2000. I was a Federal physician, and a patient presented to the emergency room at 2 am for the "morning after pill".

I refused, not only for moral reasons, but because of good medical reasons (the risk of STD from casual sex). And the next day I was reprimanded for it, and one employee even hinted that I could be fired for it.

I shrugged, and said: Been there, done that..."

And indeed, nothing happened.

Ironically, Federal physicians in the military refused to cooperate when the Clinton administration tried to mandate abortion in military hospitals. And in the US Indian Health Service, many tribes object to abortion except to save the life of the mother, because many (but not all) tribes see abortion as against their traditions, so again, no problem.

But what about modern HMO's?

Again, physicians are hard to replace, but what about pharmacists or nurses who refuse to go along with abortion? They are easier to replace, although many are unionized.

Which brings up another question: Why haven't the Unions supported guidelines to protect their prolife employees?

But the most vulnerable will be those in training, especially for OB/Gyn or midwife training, where pressure groups are trying to mandate abortion training as part of ordinary prenatal care training?

The end result, of course, will be fewer and fewer pro life physicians in Ob/Gyn. And if euthanasia spreads, the pro life physicians and nurses may soon start leaving acute care wards and hospices rather than cooperate with killing their patients.

Obama removing regulations protecting health care workers part one: The spin

The latest news is that President Obama is to remove the recent Bush regulations that protect health care worker's who refuse to cooperate with abortion or other death making.

The Bush regulations require employers to document that they are following earlier laws that allow physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to refuse to perform, advise people to get, or assist with abortions and other "medical proceedures" that go against their religious beliefs.

"This policy of potentially allowing providers to refuse to provide contraception or family planning runs counter to the administration's goal of reducing abortions and unwanted pregnancies," an HHS official said on background. "It also could lead into other areas of medical care."

Orwell would be proud.

Since when is aborting babies early by using an abortion pill "reducing abortions" and since when do we stop "unwanted pregnancies" by eliminating the kid who is "unwanted"?

Not only does the story come out on a busy weekend, when fewer people watch the news, but the coverage of the story has been underwhelming to say the least: Google News only report 389 stories about it, and within hours, the story has disappeared from their major headlines.

But if you run across the stories, you might notice that some of the stories out there are subtly biased to confuse the issue.

For example, if you read the NYTimes story, it's not until paragraph six that you find out that the Bush rules "void state laws" that require hospitals and pharmacists to provide "contraception", including "contraception" for rape victims.

Translation: the Bush rules void state laws requiring Catholic hospitals to give out abortion pills (not to mention that they protect the jobs of Catholic, Christian, and Muslim pharamacists not to give out these pills).

If you look at the "progressive blogs" you will find they all are repeating the same "talking points" almost word for word: i.e. that the Bush rules enable anyone in a hospital to "refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it."

The stuff on blood transfusions and vaccines are put in to ridicule those who are prolife. They use the "blood transfusion" and "vaccine counseling" merely to confuse the issue, since although some Jehovah Witness patients do refuse to receive blood transfusions, I cannot think of any reported case of a Jehovah witness who is a physician refusing to give a patient a blood transfusion.

But it goes beyond that. Notice the part of the quote about refusing to give "information" or "advice"? That part goes far beyond abortion.

You see, a recent California law requires physician to discuss "all options" for end of life care. All you need is to legalize assisted suicide (as nearby Washington and Oregon have done ) and physicians, including those in Catholic hospitals, will be required by law to tell patients that they can kill themselves, and might even be forced to give them a prescription for the pills.

That's what the last part of the Obama official's statement about "other areas of medical care" referred to: euthanasia.

The final spin of the story you'll see is that by removing the Bush rules, we now empowers patients to make choices.

One article even says: "President Barack Obama is moving to tilt the balance of power back to patients in the struggle over whether health care providers must provide controversial services, regardless of whether they violate religious or moral principles. "

Italics mine.

Ah, but who will "force" them to violate their consciences?

You see, as most news articles mention, the Bush rules are merely to remind employers of earlier laws such as the 1964 Civil rights bill that protect the jobs of those working in health care. Employers cannot fire someone because of their religious beliefs: Employers have to accommodate religious beliefs in the workplace...or do they?


Ah, but that is another story...(to be continued in part two).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Perfect Storm of the culture of death...first draft...

President Obama has swiftly reversed the policies of the Bush administration to protect early human life, and there is no reason to think he will stop there.

First, he has reversed the "Mexico City Protocol", which means your tax dollars will not only fund abortions overseas but will allow powerful NGO's to bully Catholic and Islamic governments to legalize abortion and abortifactant contraception.

Second, he has stopped the HHS regulations that require clinics and other health care facilities to document that they are protecting the job rights of those working there who refuse to cooperate with abortion.

This may or may not have any effect, since laws doing this date back thirty years, but with the pro abortion folks promoting the "Freedom of Choice" act, one suspects that these older laws and regulations will be eliminated under the law in the near future.

But the final issue is stem cells.

I've seen several newspaper articles asking why President Obama hasn't yet won't reversed the "anti science" regulations of the Bush administration that prevent your tax dollars from being used for "stem cell research".

Let's just stop here for a few definitions.

Nobody really opposes stem cell research.

The objection is to the killing of embryos to obtain "embryonic stem cells".

For Catholics and other religions, this is murder, but many secular ethical traditions also have objections to the killing of life, even a small early human life, to save life.

But ordinary stem cells? No problem. Docs have been using stem cells for years to treat diseases, and nearly every day another "breakthough" is reported.

In contrast, there are no approved treatments using embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells don't have to come from embryos; they can be found in umbillical cords and cord blood from newborns. Slightly more mature stem cells come from the bone marrow, fat, hair follicles, and skin.

There are several advantages for using adult stem cells.

The first advantage is that they can come from the same patient, so you don't have to worry about DNA matching.

The much heralded "embryonic stem cell experiment" last week, where a newly developed stem cell line was being used experimentally to see if it would heal spinal cords, will require the patients to take immunosuppressive medicines, since the stem cells don't "match" the patient.

The second advantage of adult stem cells is that they can be obtained in large amounts, whereas each embryo only results in a small number of stem cells, which then have to be tissue cultured to grow more.

Why is this important? Well, it has to do with cells becoming "old". Older cells (that is, cells that have divided so many times) tend to mutate or even become cancerous.

But if you start with a lot of stem cells, the individual cells don't have to divide so much to get enough to use.

I should note that at least one company that is experimenting on embryonic stem cells says they have overcome this problem, but only time will tell if this is correct.

But why insist on using the embryonic cells at all?

Well, scientists have long argued that "only" embryonic stem cells arepliable enough to be able to form just about anything your little heart desires.

But that argument is no longer true.

Two physicians who pioneered embryonic stem cell research, one American and one Japanese, developed moral qualms about what they were doing.

So they discovered how to "re-program" the more mature adult stem cells into stem cells that essentially acted the same as embryonic ones.

This means that now scientists can easily get some of the patient's own stem cells, reprogram them to act like embryonic stem cells, and then put them to use.

So, from a physician's standpoint, embryonic stem cell research is not needed.

Of course, some scientists argue "well, yes, but we should do it anyway just to learn how these things work"; but destroying human life just out of curiosity is a lot more evil than doing it with the excuse you want to save a life.

In summary, from a Catholic standpoint, embryonic stem cell research, which requires embryo destruction to obtain cells, destroys innocent human lives.

Even the argument that such murder could potentially save another life would not justify the action.

However, recent discoveries make the use of such embryonic cells unnecessary, and indeed, their use is probably more dangerous than using ordinary stem cells.

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But there is one more ethical problem in the embryonic stem cell research business: the need to make more embryos.

The press frequently talks about "one hundred thousand left over embryos that would die anyway" and most Americans figure that since the embryos would die anyway, why not use them? But most Americans also draw the line at making a new life only to experiment on it or kill it.

That is why even the California stem cell initiative forbids buying embryos.

But recently, one of the California state funded companies doing embryonic stem cell research has started petitioning the state to be allowed to "buy" embryos.

Why? Because the dirty little secret is that all those "left over" embryos in freezers are too old to use, and there aren't that many fresh "left over" embryos.

As the percentage of in vitro fertilization pregnancies that resulted in live births improved, physicians started fertilizing fewer embryos.

As a result, fewer embryos are being fertilized and stored, and as a result, fewer "fresh" embryos are available for stem cell research.

But even those embryos often are not being donated: although polls show most couples would be willing to donate left over embryos, the reality is that few couples actually do so...despite the scientific pro choice rhetoric in most discussions, I suspect many couples see the embryos as a potential child, and have qualms about donating "Junior"...

So where does one go to get fresh embryos?

One buys them...

There is already a big business buying eggs for infertile couples. To get an egg from an American girl, it will cost you ten to twenty thousand dollars; but it only costs one to two thousand if you buy them in Eastern Europe (the "eggs of choice" for upper middle class white infertile couples).

If "embryonic" stem cell research goes full force, as it's supporters want it to, neither of these sources will provide enough eggs, and the cost will be too high.

So look for "egg harvesting" centers in poor countries overseas. Donating eggs is "low risk" in the US, but frought with danger if done by a poor, malnourished woman at a clinic that may not meet US standards in cleanliness or in caring for complications after egg retrieval.

Already, Catholic Bishops in South Africa have condemned clinics that lure local poor women to risk their health to donate such eggs.

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So if adult stem cells are easier to find, cheaper and easier to use, and have less health dangers, why has the press and the progressive community gotten it's knickers in a knot trying to pretend that only embryonic stem cells will cure people?

It has to do with a "culture of death" mindset.

Destroying an embryo to save a life of another person has deep symbolic and psychological implications that hint of omnipotence: Look, I kill and I heal. I have power of life and death.

Taking a piece of fat, making it into a stem cell that heals is psychologically the level of a fat joke on late night TV. It loses the psychological implications of power and turns into an ordinary medical cure.

Another psychological need for destroying embryos to get stem cells is that it helps assuage the terrible guilt over abortion.

Now, when the nightmares that one has killed one's old baby come, to all those nice neat pro choice arguments can go the ones: Well, it was only an embryo, something we kill every day to save people, so what's the big deal.

After all, as the saying goes: Isn't it better to have one man die to save a country?

Isn't it better to allow one embryo to die to save a life?

Caiphas argument is the argument of the culture of death.

And alas, that argument is not limited to killing embryos in our modern "post Christian" world.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Grandmom's advice to the kids

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals