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Old 01-30-2006, 04:25 PM   #1
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of Pharmacists and Fundamentalists, or, the War on Science

[q]Health Workers' Choice Debated
Proposals Back Right Not to Treat

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 30, 2006; Page A01

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients' rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and "morning-after" pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.

Because many legislatures have just convened, advocates on both sides are predicting that the number debating such proposals will increase. At least 18 states are already considering 36 bills.

"It's already a very hot issue," said Edward R. Martin Jr. of the Americans United for Life, who is advising legislators around the country pushing such bills. "I think it's going to get even hotter, for lots of reasons and in lots of places."

The flurry of political activity is being welcomed by conservative groups that consider it crucial to prevent health workers from being coerced into participating in care they find morally repugnant -- protecting their "right of conscience" or "right of refusal."

"This goes to the core of what it means to be an American," said David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. "Conscience is the most sacred of all property. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care workers should not be forced to violate their consciences."

The swell of propositions is raising alarm among advocates for abortion rights, family planning, AIDS prevention, the right to die, gays and lesbians, and others who see the push as the latest manifestation of the growing political power of social conservatives.

"This is a very significant threat to patients' rights in the United States," said Lois Uttley of the MergerWatch project, who is helping organize a conference in New York to plot a counterstrategy. "We need to protect the patient's right to use their own religious or ethical values to make medical decisions."

Both sides agree that the struggle between personal beliefs and professional medical responsibilities is likely to escalate as more states consider approving physician-assisted suicide, as embryonic stem cell research speeds forward and as other advances open more ethical fault lines.

"We are moving into a brave new world of cloning, cyborgs, sex selection, genetic testing of embryos," Stevens said. "The list of difficult ethical issues involving nurses, physicians, research scientists, pharmacists and other health care workers is just continuing to increase."

Most states have long had laws to protect doctors and nurses who do not want to perform abortions from being fired, disciplined or sued, or from facing other legal action. Conflicts over other health care workers emerged after the morning-after pill was approved and pharmacists began refusing to fill prescriptions for it. As a result, some lost their jobs, were reprimanded or were sanctioned by state licensing boards.

That prompted a number of states to consider laws last year that would explicitly protect pharmacists or, alternately, require them to fill such prescriptions.

The issue is gaining new prominence this year because of a confluence of factors. They include the heightened attention to pharmacists amid a host of controversial medical issues, such as the possible over-the-counter sale of the Plan B morning-after pill, embryonic research and testing, and debates over physician-assisted suicide and end-of-life care after the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case.

"There's an awful lot of dry kindling in the room," Martin said.

At least seven states are considering laws that would specifically protect pharmacists or pharmacies.

"Every other day, I hear from pharmacists who are being threatened or told they have to sign something that says they are willing to go along with government mandates," said Francis J. Manion of the American Center for Law & Justice, which is fighting an Illinois regulation implemented last year requiring pharmacies to fill all prescriptions, which led to a number of pharmacists being fired. "The right to not be required to do something that violates your core beliefs is fundamental in our society."

Opponents say such laws endanger patients by denying them access to legal drugs, particularly morning-after pills, which must be taken quickly. They say women often must go from pharmacy to pharmacy to get those prescriptions filled.

"Women all over the country are being turned away from obtaining valid and legal prescriptions," said Jackie Payne of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "These kinds of laws would only make the situation worse. It's shameful." Planned Parenthood is supporting efforts in at least six states to pass laws requiring pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.

At least nine states are considering "right of refusal" bills that are far broader. Some would protect virtually any worker involved in health care; others would extend protection to hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. Some would protect only workers who refuse to provide certain health services, but many would be far more expansive.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...012900869.html
[/q]



so what could this mean? could an Opus Dei member legally refuse to prescribe brith control? could Tom Cruise refuse to prescribe prozac? could Sen. Brownback refuse to sell me condoms? could the Concerned Women for America be too overcome with concern to sell Viagra to a single person, hetero or homo?

have people of strong religious faith lost their respect for the neutrality of the public sphere? has faith morphed into something that's all about ME and MY FAITH and MY RIGHT NOT TO BE OFFENDED and not about respect for others and their health care needs? are we seeing lines drawn between those of faith and those of any sort of faith (or non-faith) that deviates from that individual's strict understanding of what is and what isn't acceptable? are we seeing the government enable individuals to submit all parts of their lives, even the jobs they were hired to do, to their particular dogma? do we now think that the freedom of religion enables now the freedom to deny life and health to others? are we seeing the acceptance of a new breed of doctors and pharmacists, people who are able to reject modern and mainstream drugs and treatments at the expense of their patients (and who might be more accurately labled "faith healers")?
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:28 PM   #2
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Re: of Pharmacists and Fundamentalists, or, the War on Science

double post.
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:32 PM   #3
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if people do not want to sell birth control

they should not work where it is sold


If a Muslim or a Mormon's religious beliefs forbid alcohol use,
they should not be allowed to refuse to sell it
if they work at a place where it is sold.
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
have people of strong religious faith lost their respect for the neutrality of the public sphere? has faith morphed into something that's all about ME and MY FAITH and MY RIGHT NOT TO BE OFFENDED and not about respect for others and their health care needs?
"There is no God, but my God."

American Taliban
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:40 PM   #5
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While I disagree with the majority of this "shielding law," I do think some of it has validity regarding physician assisted suicide. I don't see this issue being an example of faith intruding, but more of a physicians desire not to compromise his own medical ethics. A physician ought to have the right not actively play a role in a patient's death.
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
While I disagree with the majority of this "shielding law," I do think some of it has validity regarding physician assisted suicide. I don't see this issue being an example of faith intruding, but more of a physicians desire not to compromise his own medical ethics. A physician ought to have the right not actively play a role in a patient's death.


on this issue i agree with you.

however, PAS is only legal (sort of) in Oregon, and is clearly not considered mainstream medicine in the way that Prozac, Viagra, and contraception are.
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
While I disagree with the majority of this "shielding law," I do think some of it has validity regarding physician assisted suicide. I don't see this issue being an example of faith intruding, but more of a physicians desire not to compromise his own medical ethics. A physician ought to have the right not actively play a role in a patient's death.


have you really looked into this ?
or are you just letting your "beliefs" lead you to a conclusion



these end of life situations are hardly killing someone

they are reserved for patients that 3? different doctors have determined are at the end of their life, terminal, they also get psych counseling, and have less than six? months to live in chronic, debilitating pain

all people die, do you want doctors to abandon them
once they have no chance of recovery?
any further assistance is just easing their way to death, is it not?
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Old 01-30-2006, 05:07 PM   #8
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i don't know irvine. jesus healed a blind guy AND resurrected a dude that was DEAD without so much as even using an acetomeniphine gelcap. far be it from me to go against god's will.
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Old 01-30-2006, 05:14 PM   #9
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from the article

Quote:
Doctors opposed to fetal tissue research, for example, could refuse to notify parents that their child was due for a chicken pox inoculation because the vaccine was originally produced using fetal tissue cell cultures, said R. Alto Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin.

"That physician would be immunized from medical malpractice claims and state disciplinary action," Charo said.

Advocates for end-of-life care are alarmed that the laws would allow health care workers and institutions to disregard terminally ill patients' decisions to refuse resuscitation, feeding tubes and other invasive measures.

"Patients have a right to say no to CPR, to being put on a ventilator, to getting feeding tubes," said Kathryn Tucker of Compassion and Choice, which advocates better end-of-life care and physician-assisted suicide.

Others worry that health care workers could refuse to provide sex education because they believe in abstinence instead, or deny care to gays and lesbians.
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Old 01-30-2006, 05:16 PM   #10
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it's disturbing, deep. there's no two ways around it.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


all people die, do you want doctors to abandon them
once they have no chance of recovery?
any further assistance is just easing their way to death, is it not?
I have no problems with DNR orders, comfort measures only, etc. I'm not at all suggesting that physicians abandon their patients during these times. In contrast, this is when the most time needs to be spent with them. It is only when a phyisician actively plays a role in the death of the patient that it becomes unethical. It inherently goes against the oath physicians take "to do no harm."
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:08 PM   #12
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I had one opinion before I actually did some research on this and listened to people involved with the program.

Based on your posts I believe you do not understand how the Patient Assisted Suicide program works.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:11 PM   #13
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I cannot imagine a law in the world that would REQUIRE a doctor to participate in PAS (or for that matter perform an abortion), which I understand would be an active participation as opposed to a passive participation of allowing the patient to refuse care.
I cannot imagine any physician being liable in not performing PAS. His/her only requirement would be to step aside and let another physician take over if the patient so desires it. No compromise of personal medical ethics.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
I cannot imagine a law in the world that would REQUIRE a doctor to participate in PAS (or for that matter perform an abortion),


they are red herrings- false arguments

this is about a Pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
I had one opinion before I actually did some research on this and listened to people involved with the program.

Based on your posts I believe you do not understand how the Patient Assisted Suicide program works.

My idea is a physician actively providing means to a patient to commit suicide whether it be a lethal dose of medication or by saying, if you do such and such a thing, you will die. Active being the key portion. I am a few years removed from Biomedical ethics class, so things could have changed.

I'm interested in knowing more about it though.
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