Big article out today about doctors refusing care to women based on their personal belief systems. The article has, at one point, a headline which reads:

"An ethical dilemma"

In this portion of the article we meet Sandy Christiansen, M.D., an ob/gyn in Frederick, Maryland. She says that providing services that are legal, like abortion referrals, EC and even birth control cause an "ethics problem" for her. She says that, "Doctors are people, too," she adds. "We have to be able to leave the hospital and live with ourselves. If you feel in your heart an action would cause harm to somebody — born or unborn — it's legitimate to decline to participate."

Here's what I have to say to that. If you feel that you're a "christian" doctor, then you need to advertise yourself as such. You need to tell your patients up front that if they come to you they had better be on the same moral footing as you, believe the same things as you and be living the perfect little Christian life that you seem to be saying you're living.

When you simply hang out a shingle that says OB/GYN on it and allow any woman to make an appointment, regardless of what her beliefs might be, she has the right to expect she will receive access to all legal medical options allowed her in this country, including the ones that don't jive with your self-righteous mind-set. You want to ride the high moral tide? Great! Then your ad in the yellow pages better read something like this:

"Christian OB/GYN. Will not give patients access to most modern procedures. Believes self to be above reproach and has developed a God complex that allows self to make moral judgements of others that will govern the standard of care they receive. Those of questionable moral fiber need not call for appointments. This includes, but is not limited to: lesbians, single mothers, sexually active teenagers, rape victims, victims of incest, women with piercings in places I may find disgusting, women with oddly colored hair, and women of other religions. We are taking new patients. Mary, Mother of Christ always welcome. Mary Magdalene need not apply."

There's a difference between ethics and morality. The ethics of a given profession are there to ensure that those of us who rely on the people practicing that profession get a high standard of care. Morals are the code each individual person lives by. If you can't seperate the two then you need to build yourself a time machine and haul your June Cleaver ass back to the 1950's.

I believe in a higher power. I also believe that when people like this pass into the next life they will find a seriously pissed of version of said higher power waiting for them with one question: "What exactly was it that you thought you were doing?" It gives me some measure of comfort knowing that for every tiny minded individual like this one there is a higher force waiting to judge them....and the retribution will be Divine.


Miz UV said...

Excellent post. Most professionals will pass along the name of another when a situation occurs that they'd rather not participate in -- and I can understand that, but they shouldn't be offering ANY kind of unsolicited moral judgment whatsoever. "I'm sorry, but we don't offer that service here. I have the names of some referrals if you'd like." It should be a totally businesslike thing, such as when a real estate attorney gives the name of a divorce lawyer to a client.

Suzanne said...

This is great. As always, you are so thoughtful and rational.

Suzanne said...

I just read the rest of that article (which I think is in Self magazine?) and it is absolutely chilling.

(Oh, and that previous comment was me, logged in improperly...)

Whiskeymarie said...

Am I wrong to want a world where people keep their religion to themselves and don't try to shove it down my throat?

I don't think you can enter into a profession that requires you to take an oath to help others, then pick and choose how and under what circumstances you will treat people.

Do your job the right way or find a new career, I say.

Man, this stuff gets me fired up- good post!

ian said...

Not giving someone the best medical care she can is unethical.

But she's welcome to consider her patients immoral. Just so long as she bitches about it to herself.

They ought to yank her license away. And then horsewhip her for good measure.



jessabean said...

I completely agree that either she shouldn't be practicing in the first place, or doctors who want to follow certain religious doctrines should advertise up front. I do NOT want to waste my time going to a doctor and then just getting a referral to go to another one when I need something "icky" like birth control.

They should just work in Christian hospitals or pharmacies and put their policies up on a sign. Like Ian, I prefer them not to practice at all, though, if they want to be like that.

Gunfighter said...

She isn't a Christian... she is a pseudosanctimonious cow, attempting to hide her prejudices in religion, so they will be more palettable to some.