Should Health Workers be able to Refuse Performing Procedures on Moral Grounds

Before leaving office, former President George W. Bush signed an executive order that expanded the rights of doctors, healthcare workers, and pharmacists to refuse to provide patients with various services and treatments, based on their own moral and religious beliefs. This involved procedures such as abortion and artificial insemination and medications such as birth control pills and the so-called “morning after” pill. The uproar from women’s groups began almost immediately. However, much to their approval, President Obama recently reversed this order.

Obama apparently agreed with those who claimed that this was an attempt by Bush to usurp women’s rights to make their own reproductive decisions. They say this deniedthem the services and medications they wanted and needed. But was this really the case? I say they were making a fallacious argument. In reality, no one was denying them squat. Just because a woman can’t force a given doctor to perform an abortion and a given pharmacist to fill a prescription for birth control pills doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be able to get them. There are plenty of doctors and pharmacists who would be more than willing to oblige.

Also, this was not a matter of picking on women, as many of them would have us believe. This order also allowed medical professionals to refuse to prescribe or fill prescriptions for men’s erectile dysfunction therapies such as Viagra and Cialis, for example.

If I were a doctor, I would demand the right to not violate my moral standards, and getting it would not result in my discriminating against either gender. If afforded that right, I would not prescribe birth control to anyone (male or female) who was not married. Why do single people need birth control anyway? In addition, I would not do abortions except in cases of rape, non-consensual incest, or when the life or health of the mother would be in danger without one.

I would only do artificial insemination procedures for married couples and only when they could not have a child any other way – and the sperm would have to come from the husband, not some stranger. Also, I would prescribe stuff like Viagra or Cialis only for married men.

Those who criticize Bush’s order are being disingenuous and hypocritical. Most of them talk the talk about choice but it’s obviously a one-way street for them. They strongly defend a woman’s right to choose but do not want to afford doctors and other medical workers the same. If we’re going to have true choice in this country, then it has to work both ways.

And what about those who are always screaming about religious freedom and the separation of church and state? They are also being hypocritical when they criticize this order. Forcing people to do something that goes against their religion is a blatant imposition on their religious freedom. And when the government is doing the forcing, it’s a clear violation of the First Amendment. I guess, to some people, it’s okay for the government to bully religion, as long it never works the other way around.