Lawsuits Against Theocratic Health Care Rule Filed

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In December, the Bush Administration issued a new health care rule that allows the religious views and morals of health care workers to trump those of patients. As the Los Angeles Times explained:

The Bush administration announced its "conscience protection" rule for the healthcare industry Thursday, giving doctors, hospitals, and even receptionists and volunteers in medical experiments the right to refuse to participate in medical care they find morally objectionable.

Now the Washington Post reports that several groups, including Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU, have filed legal challenges to the new regulation in federal court.

For example, this rule would allow conscience-stricken pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for things like the Plan B emergency contraceptive or even normal birth control pills. According to the Post:

The regulation empowers federal officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not abide by existing federal laws requiring them to accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in any care they consider objectionable on ethical, moral or religious grounds…

"The regulation is important, because we increasingly are seeing discrimination against health-care personnel who hold religious beliefs having to do with abortion and contraception," said David Stevens, chief executive of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. "Unless these conscience rights are protected, people are going to be driven out of health care." 

Driven out of health care? No one has a "right" to work as a pharmacist, nurse, doctor or receptionist at a hospital. Surely a pharmacy, fertility clinic, or stem cell lab has the right to fire or refuse to hire people whose consciences won't let them fulfill their job duties. And just why do the relgious views of health care workers get to trump those of patients? President-elect Obama has objected to this new regulation and he should strike it down as soon as possible. 

Some of my earlier reporting on this issue at Reason.com can be found here and here

Disclosure: Yes, despite many disagreements with its policies, I remain a card carryiing member of the ACLU

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  1. Ronald Bailey is right. Those healthcare workers should be forced to provide healthcare for all instead of picking and chosing who they care for. Usually by who can pay the most but sometimes for what Ronald notes in this story.

    This is another industry that needs the help of nationalization to fix it.

  2. ‘No one has a “right” to work as a pharmacist, nurse, doctor or receptionist at a hospital.’

    And no-one has the ‘right’ to suck off the federal teat. To the contrary, if the 10th Amendment were fully enforced, most of those clamoring to do so would be sent away empty.

    Just as employees have to abide by the rules fixed by their employers, so do employers have to abide by the rules set by those who give them money.

    If taxpayers are to be forced to subsidize medical care, at least let’s draw the line at forcing them to subsidize employers who throw the religious convictions of many of these taxpayers into the trash can (along with the bodies of aborted babies).

  3. Disclosure: Yes, despite many disagreements with its policies, I remain a card carryiing member of the ACLU.

    Maybe the ACLU can do the same for healthcare that they did for speech.

  4. Does this apply to Minneapolis cab drivers too?

  5. Finally, Ron Bailey sees things my way.

  6. Wait… what? I think I might be missing something here.

    Why should a doctor who thinks abortion is murder be forced to provide a patient with an abortion?

    Also, you’re right; nobody has a “right” to work as a pharmacist, but, likewise, nobody has a “right” to demand anything from a private pharmacy. If the pharmacy doesn’t mind, why should we?

    I would welcome a few responses on this; I honestly think I might be missing something.

  7. Uh, Max, taxpayers are footing the bill for some of the people getting the prescriptions or the abortion. Not paying the salaries of those performing the abortion or filling the prescription (at least not usually).

    This is fucking simple shit. If I hire Max to hand out pills for me, and a customer comes in and asks for fetus-destroying pills, and Max refuses, I fire his ass yesterday.

    That is all.

  8. ‘If I hire Max to hand out pills for me, and a customer comes in and asks for fetus-destroying pills, and Max refuses, I fire his ass yesterday.’

    If you took money from the taxpayers on the condition that you *wouldn’t* fire me, then firing me would be equivalent to fraud on the taxpayers. You got money from them on false pretenses.

  9. Why should a doctor who thinks abortion is murder be forced to provide a patient with an abortion?

    To bring freedom to all.

  10. How about this? The government stops giving money to hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies. The hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies act in accordance with whatever values they feel necessary…and patients do the same. Everyone maintains their liberty in this situation. No one has a right to health care, medicine, or their job. If CVS wants to distribute Plan B and Eckerd’s doesn’t, go to CVS. If Dr. Jones refuses to provide abortions and Dr. Smith will perform them, so be it. The market solves the problem.

    I don’t think either one could be construed as violating the hypocratic oath…unless the fetus is considered a patient. Hmm. I don’t think we want this thread to go there, but somehow I think it is inevitable. Oh happy day!

  11. Most of these issues can be readily resolved if it were all private. Only when government steps in you get these problems.

  12. Michael Solano is missing nothing here – Ron Bailey is a tyrant. As Bailey notes, pharmacies have a right to fire employees who refuse to fill prescriptions. However, in a libertarian world, the pharmacist employee also has the right to refuse service to some customers, and it is the responsibility of the employer to fire the employee; and the government does have the power to replace the employer and make the decision for him.

    There is a large portion of the libertarian movement that consists of atheist tyrants who wish to impose their philosophy of atheist theocracy on theists, just as there is a large portion of the Republican party that wishes to impose their religion on everyone else.

    If you want liberty, you also must allow others to enjoy liberty, too. Unfortunately, people are tyrants by nature.

  13. Considering how tightly government-regulated and government-controlled the medical system is, and considering also how access to medical care is constricted not merely by ability to pay but also by ability to get access to a doctor or pharmacist (with the supply of such professionals kept artificially low by government regulations meant to restrict access into the business), I do think that requiring doctors and pharmacists to subsume their own prejudices to the needs of their patients is the lesser of two evils.

    It’s similar to utilities: we don’t really have a “free market” in them, so if I want electricity, running water or even a luxury like cable TV, I have no choice but to get it from the one supplier with government permission to be my local provider. So if they tried to say they’ll charge me extra, or not provide service to me at all, because they don’t like redheads or atheists or unmarried couples living together or whatever, I’d agree with a law telling them “Bullshit, you can’t do that.”

    If, however, I were perfectly free to go to another provider, or even start a provider business like my own, that would be another matter.

    Medicine is similar: access to medical providers isn’t provided by a free market, but by a government-restricted one. So the government has already passed stupid laws saying that if I want a birth-control pill or other medications, I can’t simply find a store that sells it at a price I can afford; I must first find a government-certified gatekeeper who will charge me a huge sum of money in exchange for a little piece of paper granting me permission to buy the pill. Those relative few people granted “gatekeeper” status have already been given unreasonable levels of government authority over me; letting them furthermore add any additional roadblocks that strike their fancy is a bad idea.

  14. ‘Uh, Max, taxpayers are footing the bill for some of the people getting the prescriptions or the abortion.’

    Subject to certain limitations, like these regulations. Like, ‘you can only purchase these subsidized services from providers who *want* to provide it.’

    That’s not quite as good as refusing to subsidize abortions altogether (as demanded by the Libertarian Party Platform), and it falls short of restoring legal protection to unborn human beings, but it’s a start.

  15. If taxpayers are to be forced to subsidize medical care, at least let’s draw the line at forcing them to subsidize employers who throw the religious convictions of many of these taxpayers into the trash can (along with the bodies of aborted babies).

    Why not? Opponents of the Iraq war still have to pay for it, as pacifists in general have to pay for the military, opponents of the war on drugs for the DEA… there are nearly endless numbers of programs that I have various objections to paying for, from moral to practical, and yet, by law, I am required to.

    I see no reason to give pro-lifers a special exemption in all of this. If they don’t like paying for abortions, they should contact their congressman, and if they’re position doesn’t have enough support, tough nuts. They can sit in the back of the bus with the nuke protestors.

  16. The employees should be free to exercise their religion, the eomployers should be free to fire them if it conflicts with their business model.

    If enough employees feel this way, they can start the Christian Pharmacy and refuse to provide whatever they want.

  17. TallDave, if they had a union this could be worked out in negotiations.

  18. I’m just thinking aloud here, but wouldn’t a compromise (although not particularly libertarian) be to use the physician licensing process in most states to construct a list of doctors willing to perform services that may be objected to? If the ACLU’s issue is an information problem (people seeking services not knowing who to go to), that seems like the next most rational option.

  19. ‘I see no reason to give pro-lifers a special exemption in all of this. If they don’t like paying for abortions, they should contact their congressman’

    They did. They got some useful laws passed. Bush (bless his heart) has belatedly issued regulations implementing these laws. Now, thanks to Congressional laws as implemented by these regulations, taxpayers who oppose abortions will still be forced to subsidize abortion in some cases, but at least they won’t be forced to subsidize the *firing* of prolife doctors, nurses, receptionists, etc.

    Since I have decided to be optimistic to the point of naivite about President-elect Obama, I am going to assume that he will give concrete evidence of his professed respect for the convictions of pro-lifers and will decide that pro-lifers don’t have to subsidize the firing of fellow pro-lifers.

  20. I see no reason to give pro-lifers a special exemption in all of this.

    As I’ve said before, many people view religious belief as a magical policy trump card, allowing certain special groups to do things that others may not.

    It’s amusing to hear it from otherwise libertarian “no special rights for groups” folks. Wait, did I say amusing? I meant “hypocritical”.

  21. Considering how tightly government-regulated and government-controlled the medical system…

    You’ve made this argument many times, but I just do not see where illegitimate regulations should lead to further restrictions on freedom.

    Why should a doctor who thinks abortion is murder be forced to provide a patient with an abortion?

    No one is saying that doctor should be forced (except Jennifer); we’re saying the employer should be allowed to fire the employee for failing to do his job.

    And no, Ron Bailey is not an atheist tyrant: he objects to forcing employers to keep employees who refuse to do their job.

    If a Hindu takes a job at a beef slaughterhouse, he should be allowed to use the government to keep his job when he objects so slaughtering beef!

  22. It’s always interesting to see situational libertarianism rear its head on this site.

    No one has a “right” to health care because it would force a free individual to provide his/her labor to the patient, except if they are dealing with those horrible Christians. Then it’s ok.

    Christians bad, atheists good…Christians bad, atheists good (my apologies to Orwell).

  23. As I’ve said before, many people view religious belief as a magical policy trump card, allowing certain special groups to do things that others may not.

    I don’t see why religious belief should be singled out for disqualification as a means for resisting government coercion, though. I don’t care if the doctor’s objections are from his religion, from personal opinion, from some dream he had, whatever… if they don’t want to do it, then I’ll take my business elsewhere, so long as I know whom to take it to.

  24. a government-certified gatekeeper

    You know what other industries have these so-called “gatekeepers”?

    1. Hairdressers
    2. Interior Decorators
    3. Plumbers
    4. Contractors in general

    On and on…by this logic, we should be able to force a plumber to take a job he does not want to do because he’s licensed by the government.

  25. Christians bad, atheists good…Christians bad, atheists good (my apologies to Orwell).

    Jay, what on Earth are you talking about? The complicating factor is *subsidy*, which makes it partly the Fed’s business what’s going on. If there were no money flowing into pharmacists/doctor’s offices from tax coffers, the Federal Government would have nothing legitimate to say on whether a person can or cannot fire a doctor for not doing a part of his or her job; it would be handled by whatever local employment law existed.

    FWIW, in most states (at-will states) the moral objectionist would be out out on his ass. He’s of course free to open his own practice and not offer this or that objectionable procedure.

  26. Bailey, like so many of the hypocritical authors around here, believes in choice as long as it fits what they want. When it comes down to it, Bailey and most of you aren’t any different than the liberal entitlement crowd. Why? Because you say there’s no “right” to be a pharmacist; I say there’s no right to going to the pharmacy. If you want to guarantee that you have access to drugs then go into the pharmaceutical business and make them.

    The “this is a heavily subsidized and controlled” industry doesn’t cut it for a libertarian because if the industry were to be as free as you wanted, the only justification for your whining and crying would we gone.

  27. I don’t see why religious belief should be singled out for disqualification as a means for resisting government coercion, though.

    No, it just shouldn’t grant *special privileges*. If a guy refuses to do his job because he has secular scruples, he should receive the exact same treatment under the law as a refusenik with religious scruples.

  28. Hopefully, Obama will have this rescinded halfway though the inauguration speech, and everyone who tried to take advantage of it during the last week will be fired as soon as the ink is dry.

    Otherwise, I want equal treatment. My religion says that doing work is morally wrong.

  29. This is what happens in an over-legislated society. More regulations keep getting piled on top of other regulations.

    If I understand Jennifer’s point I agree whole-heartedly. All drugs should be over-the-counter without need for a presciption. And retailers should be able to determine want products they wish to carry. Did I get that right?

  30. This argument that anybody who receives “X amount of dollars” is suddenly subject to the entire body of the public’s whims is going to lead to the nationalization of industry.

    Any statist, given the intellectual ammunition of “any industry that receives subsidy subjects itself to Federal Control”, will use that ammunition to find a way in which every industry receives subsidy and is therefore eligible for soul-crushing regulations.

  31. If a guy refuses to do his job because he has secular scruples, he should receive the exact same treatment under the law as a refusenik with religious scruples.

    No argument there, just what’s the problem in the situation in question? Find somebody else with fewer scruples, and let the market sort it out.

  32. Ron is not an atheist tyrant, he is a tyrannical atheist utilitarian anti-disestablishmentarian bisexual frotteurist.

    Know your reason columnists, people.

  33. and just to finish my gripe about Bailey…I really don’t understand why about half of the authors around here even call themselves libertarians. Bailey only cares when somebody talks about God in public or has “theocratic” healthcare; KMW, like so many so-called “libertarians,” believes we don’t and shouldn’t have privacy; and KH only cares about being able to sell her various body parts and services wherever she wants.

    I am not convinced that any of these people or that most of you regular readers have any idea of the actual coherent classical liberal/libertarian philosophy. You just have this jackass instinct that “I’m entitled to do whatever I want” — which sounds a lot like welfarism when it comes down to it.

  34. TDR – where is Bailey hypocritical? AFAICT, you and he agree.

  35. ‘If a Hindu takes a job at a beef slaughterhouse, he should be allowed to use the government to keep his job when he objects so slaughtering beef!’

    To complete the analogy with the U.S. medical system, let us say that the Hindu is working in a restaurant as a cook or waiter, that the restaurant industry has a vegetarian tradition going back thousands of years, that this tradition predates the founding of the Hindu religion, that cooks and waiters have traditionally been required to take a vegetarian oath before starting work, that recently the restaurant industry went into the beef business, that there are plenty of cooks and waiters willing to prepare and serve beef if the Hindu doesn’t want to, that the government is giving taxpayer money to restaurant customers to help them buy meals, that a substantial proportion of the taxpayers who pay for this government program are Hindu, that Congress has passed various laws to protect Hindu taxpayers against having to subsidize beef, and that the President has just issued regulations to implement those laws more strictly by forbidding the use of tax money to subsidize the firing of Hindu waiters and cooks.

  36. You know what other industries have these so-called “gatekeepers”?

    1. Hairdressers
    2. Interior Decorators
    3. Plumbers
    4. Contractors in general

    On and on…by this logic, we should be able to force a plumber to take a job he does not want to do because he’s licensed by the government.

    When the PEA (Plumbing Enforcement Agency) requires that only persons with years of post-graduate education and a valid PEA ID number can authorize sales of plumbing equipment, I’ll find your analogy remotely relevant.

    Joe the Plumber is well known to be an unlicensed plumber. Exactly how many years would someone spend in prison if they set up a business as an unlicensed pharmacist? They tend to call those ‘drug dealers’ and I hear that they’re frowned upon.

  37. . . . and that there are plenty of non-beef related restaurant services available, and that it was the promise of making these services available to the people which prompted the government subsidy program in the first place.

  38. God damn it. The only reason this is an issue is because of the already existing government intervention into health care.

    Otherwise, people would be free to get whatever health services they wanted, and those providing the services would be free to provide them on their own terms.

    As it stands, however, the entire health care industry is practically an extension of the government through special interest groups. And if the government is providing some kind of service, it better be equal for all. Much like how public schools should not be segregated.

    What a headache…

  39. …just what’s the problem in the situation in question? Find somebody else with fewer scruples, and let the market sort it out.

    The problem is that the gov is preventing an employer from firing a person who has more scruples in order to hire one who has fewer.

    The underlying problem is that you can’t honestly believe this policy move isn’t motivated by anything other than religious hatred of birth control.

  40. ‘And if the government is providing some kind of service, it better be equal for all. Much like how public schools should not be segregated.’

    An excellent principle!

    Requiring traditional religionists to abandon their religion as a condition of working in government-subsidized enterprises is like segregation. It isn’t even ‘separate but equal,’ since the government isn’t supporting a parellel system of health-care providers which are bound by the Hippocratic Oath.

    Imagine a rule in the public schools that no student, whether black or white, can wear a Black Power T-shirt. That’s what the pro-aborts are basically calling for. All employees must assist in abortions, whether they support abortion or oppose it.

  41. In a truly free market if the pharmacist was also the owner he could deny medicine to anyone for any reason, because he bought the medicine and can sell it to whomever he chooses. There are other pharmacies a person can go to get the medicine filled. If a number of pharmacies developed the same reason for not selling a certain type of drug, other entrepreneurs would buy and sell the drug if they can make a profit. The only thing that could prevent anyone from getting what they want is the government. I suppose you could say that a situation could come about where nobody is willing to make or sell the drug, but this is difficult to imagine if there is a demand for the drug.

  42. I work for the Post Office, but I firmly believe that the US Post Office should be abolished. Can I get some immunity from being fired? I mean, just because I refuse to deliver mail doesn’t make me a bad letter carrier.

  43. “The only thing that could prevent anyone from getting what they want is the government”

    Legally, that is.

  44. Why not? Opponents of the Iraq war still have to pay for it, as pacifists in general have to pay for the military, opponents of the war on drugs for the DEA… there are nearly endless numbers of programs that I have various objections to paying for, from moral to practical, and yet, by law, I am required to.

    Exactly, and this is wrong! Why should you now support doing the precise same thing to somebody else???

  45. Mike Farmer and the like are missing the point. This isn’t about a pharmacy that wants to allow its workers to preach on the job. That’s still OK. There are catholic hospitals where abortions are restricted to emergency situations.

    These regulations, by contrast, are about prohibiting pharmacies from employing who they want to employ. Repeat after me, Mr. Farmer: In a “truly free market” the government doesn’t mandate employment.

  46. ‘just because I refuse to deliver mail doesn’t make me a bad letter carrier.’

    Ooh, nice try!

    But most of the work of U.S. health-care workers does *not* involve abortion or birth control. It involves such peripheral stuff as medical check-ups, advice on diet, prescribing medicine for non-pregnancy-related ailments (or pregnancy-related ailments of women who intend to *have* their babies, not destroy them), surgery, and so forth.

    So the question becomes whether doctors and nurses should be prevented from helping diabetics, cancer patients, AIDS sufferers, etc., etc., simply because they don’t believe in killing babies or underwriting the Sexual Revolution.

    “Sorry, Mrs. Baker, but your doctor can’t help you with your pancreatic cancer. He was fired because of his attitude toward abortion and birth control.”

  47. ‘Repeat after me, Mr. Farmer: In a “truly free market” the government doesn’t mandate employment.’

    In a truly free market, pharmacies don’t run to the government with their hands out for taxpayer money.

  48. No one is saying that doctor should be forced (except Jennifer); we’re saying the employer should be allowed to fire the employee for failing to do his job.

    Right. I’m down with that. But if the employer doesn’t care, I see no problem with the employee discriminating for any reason whatsoever (including religion). Of course, I’ll mark his pharmacy (or whatever it is) down as a place never to go again, and possibly, if I’m drunk, to throw eggs at.

  49. In a truly free market, pharmacies don’t run to the government with their hands out for taxpayer money.

    Ah, but two wrongs don’t make a right, or so my mother always told me.

  50. the christians refusing to provide healthcare should be flogged until they do provide it. if they do not renounce their silly superstitions should have their heads cut off.

    there is a massive gap between christian women and moslim women in abortion access as can be seen all around the world. if a doctor is not being proportional in abortions he should be punished until he begins serving the world community.

  51. It happens every day in America. Any woman can wander into any hospital and demand an elective abortion. The hospital immediately complies and government jack-booted thugs drag some poor endocrinologist away from his diabetes patients and force him to give her an abortion, his hands shaking in fear of their guns aimed at his face and blinking back the tears for the poor baby he’s sending to Jesus. Every day, people!

  52. What TAO said at 11:43.

    Epsiarch: I am NOT an anti-disestablishmentarian! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. Mad Max, TAO, etc,… if the doctor in question a ‘Christian Scientist’, is it reasonable for him to refuse to provide antiobiotics, surgery or prescriptions and referrals for those?

  54. President-elect Obama has objected to this new regulation and he should strike it down as soon as possible.

    Jan 21 would be a good day for that. I hear he’ll be pretty busy on the 20th.

  55. Ah, the poor Christian Scientists! Always dragged in as a last resort to refute religious-freedom arguments! The Christian Scientists are almost as useful (and almost as universally invoked) as practitioners of human sacrifice.

    ‘Dude, like, if you recognize religious freedom in *this* case, then, like, what about someone who, like, believes in *human sacrifice*!’

    Of course, there’s already a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (passed by Congress, with copies passed in many states) declaring the true rule: That if there’s a compelling interest in overriding someone’s religious beliefs, and if that compelling interest cannot be addressed through less restrictive means, then it’s OK to override the religious conscience of the individual.

    So much for your human-sacrifice enthusiast. There’s a compelling governmental interest in repressing murder, and that interest cannot be met by anything less than punishing the practitioners of human sacrifice.

    Likewise with the Christian Scientists and their belief that medical science is a huge fraud because disease is all mental or spiritual. There’s a compelling government interest in limiting medical licenses to those who believe there is such a thing as disease (defined medically), and there’s no lesser means available for enforcing that interest than limiting medical license (and medical employment, in the case of government-run medical clinics) to those who share that acknowledgement.

    That is not exactly the same as the government requiring a hospital to fire an endocrinologist because he won’t perform abortions (or birth control).

    This answer won’t satisfy those who are emotionally convinced that all religious beliefs are equally irrational, but it is enough for sensible people.

  56. This argument that anybody who receives “X amount of dollars” is suddenly subject to the entire body of the public’s whims is going to lead to the nationalization of industry.

    yes! now you are getting the idea.

    it is for the good of all and you know it.

  57. if the doctor in question a ‘Christian Scientist’, is it reasonable for him to refuse to provide antiobiotics, surgery or prescriptions and referrals for those?

    I think it is profoundly unreasonable to be a Christian Scientist in general.

    However, that really is not the point. The point is, is that the Bush Administration is trying to force employers to keep employees who refuse to do their duties. I oppose that.

    Alternatively, I oppose forcing, via the law, a pharmacy to dispense pills it does not want to dispense. I find the argument that pills are so necessary and the medical industry is so controlled already that we should compel pharmacies further unpersuasive, if for no other reason then that line of reasoning leads to a line-drawing exercise to determine whether an industry is already so controlled that it deserves no liberty at all.

  58. keep guantanamo open for the christians.

  59. i thought angry optimist was understanding it but he is not or just being intentionally difficult. i know how joe feels now.

  60. Mad Max, TAO, etc,… if the doctor in question a ‘Christian Scientist’, is it reasonable for him to refuse to provide antiobiotics, surgery or prescriptions and referrals for those?

    That’s not even the question. If the Christian Scientist refuses to provide/prescribe antibiotics, medication or surgery, and these are services that his/her employer regularly provides, advertises and encourages its employees to use when appropriate, is it reasonable for the employer to fire the doctor and hire someone who won’t turn away customers?

    If someone has a genuine moral conflict that would prevent them from doing part of the job they were hired for, they should go to their boss and tell them, and either negotiate an arrangement where they’re not forced to choose between doing their job or following their religion, or find a new job that they can perform without sacrificing their conscience.

  61. Max, you start sounding pretty stupid when you foam at the mouth. The difference between a Christian Scientist and human sacrifice enthusiast is one willfully kills another human being and the other one doesn’t.

    This answer won’t satisfy those who are emotionally convinced that all religious beliefs are equally irrational, but it is enough for sensible people.

    Awesome, so you got any other religions that aren’t as rational as yours?

    And for the sakes of honesty and any new readers here, please stop trying to frame your argument as a strictly libertarian point of view. Have the conviction enough to state why you so vehmently support this legislation, its not because you are libertarian, its because you are our resident mega pro-lifer.

  62. the entire health care industry is practically an extension of the government through special interest groups.

    That is patently ridiculous.

    I find this type of argument to run parallel with paleo versions of the immigration argument and the gay-marriage argument:

    1. “Because the welfare state exists, we must restrict the liberty of immigrants to move here”

    2. “Because the government is involved, we must restrict the licensing of marriages to straights”

    3. “Because the government is involved in the pharmaceutical industry, then we must compel businesses to engage in business in which they have no desire to so engage”.

    I don’t buy any of it.

  63. Everyone here advocating for top-down government compulsion of pharmacists and doctors should realize that this will just further incentivize the government to regulate and “manage” other industries to the point where they can justify using compulsion on those industries as well.

    I readily grant that Big Pharma has a powerful lobby, but it is solely the fault of the legislators that medicine is so regulated. The legislators do not *have* to listen to Big Pharma.

  64. Everyone here advocating for top-down government compulsion of pharmacists and doctors should realize that this will just further incentivize the government to regulate and “manage” other industries to the point where they can justify using compulsion on those industries as well.

    perfect!

  65. Alternatively, I oppose forcing, via the law, a pharmacy to dispense pills it does not want to dispense. I find the argument that pills are so necessary and the medical industry is so controlled already that we should compel pharmacies further unpersuasive, if for no other reason then that line of reasoning leads to a line-drawing exercise to determine whether an industry is already so controlled that it deserves no liberty at all.

    I agree with that on principle. But I do disagree with the conclusion. Because the government and regulation do have so many fingers in every aspect of life in industry, we are invariably forced to “draw those lines”. I happen to think that since that intrusions into the medical field are so wide and are made ‘supposedly’ for the protection of the patient, its not unreasonable IMHO to expect religion to be kept out as much as possible.

    But I’m going to say, that were the medical profession not so regulated and if the barriers to entry were not so high, I would support complete and unlimited freedom for every practioner.

    In the meanwhile the conflicts can be resolved on a case by case basis, for example Plan B is controversial? Allow it to be sold anywhere, allow it to be sold in every corner store and gas station, and I will immediately turn to support any pharmacist or store owner who refuses to carry it on religious or any other grounds, just like I don’t expect pharmacist to be forced to stock condoms if they don’t want to.

  66. Mad Max,

    If you don’t want to distribute the pill, don’t work for a pharmacy that makes you do it. BTW, since the invention of the pill pharmacists have been handing them out. If you don’t like it, start your own pharmacy.

  67. And the above is kinda off topic, since the proposed legislation has to deal with the freedom of hiring and firing employees, which I don’t think can be overridden by religious convictions, pro-life or not.

  68. Max,

    You and sensible parted ways a long, long time ago. Don’t invoke it as a justification for your sick obsessions. You overplayed your hand, yet again:

    simply because they don’t believe in killing babies or underwriting the Sexual Revolution

    Everybody understands that it’s not abortion or birth control you object to, it’s fucking. You don’t like fucking. You want to keep fucking to a minimum with the looming fear of pregnancy. You’re sick in the brain, Origen. Go use one of your faith-based MRI machines; maybe they can catch the tumor before it’s too late.

    (Don’t worry everybody, I’m done feeding the Catholo-troll. The rest of you guys can keeping playing if you like, he has limitless reserves of delusion.)

  69. “Mike Farmer and the like are missing the point. This isn’t about a pharmacy that wants to allow its workers to preach on the job. That’s still OK. There are catholic hospitals where abortions are restricted to emergency situations.

    These regulations, by contrast, are about prohibiting pharmacies from employing who they want to employ. Repeat after me, Mr. Farmer: In a “truly free market” the government doesn’t mandate employment.”

    Yes, I was making a point about regulations becoming convoluted which causes a disconnect between cause and effect. In a truly free market, the pharmacist could fire an employee for refusing to sell medicine, and in a truly free market, government doesn’t mandate employment.

    I agree — I reapeat — I agree.

  70. Repeat after me, Mr. Farmer: In a “truly free market” the government doesn’t mandate employment.”

    the free market is the problem. it is oppressive.

  71. “the free market is the problem. it is oppressive.”

    I love satire.

  72. I happen to think that since that intrusions into the medical field are so wide and are made ‘supposedly’ for the protection of the patient, its not unreasonable IMHO to expect religion to be kept out as much as possible.

    I just cannot agree. A Catholic hospital is better than no hospital. A Christian doctor is better than no doctor. Forcing either of these institutions to do things that anathema to their moral codes will result in less medical care overall (as doctors leave the field and smaller clinics and things close).

  73. Jennifer,

    The solution to tyranny isnt more tyranny.

    Fight the right battle.

  74. So … this all boils down to “since we have socialism, we should enact even more socialism, because that way (in some twisted sense), it would be libertarian!”

    Sad.

    So Susie’s desire for Plan B prescriptions trumps Billy’s desire to protect, what he believes to be, another individuals life. Interesting …

    And then forcing Billy to work against his conscience is considered, in TofuSushi’s words, “Freedom for all.”

    Well … except for Billy.

    Libertarians for Obama, libertarians for using government force to require an individual to work against his/her conscience …

    I guess it’s safe to say, libertarianism is dead.

  75. Jennifer, The solution to tyranny isnt more tyranny. Fight the right battle.

    Use the right analogy. The choice here isn’t between “tyranny” vs. “no tyranny” but a choice between the lesser of two tyrannies. The debate centers around which is the lesser of two evils. For example, in a strictly libertarian sense, it’s tyrannical to force the electric company to give me the same rates as everyone else, even if the company really, really disapproves of selling electricity to immoral people like me.

    But it’s even more tyrannical to say I have to go without electricity because the guy authorized by the government to sell me some doesn’t approve of me for whatever reason.

    So yes, fight the good fight to get unnecessary government meddling out of medicine. In the meantime, try to mitigate the damages from the government meddling we already have.

  76. So yes, fight the good fight to get unnecessary government meddling out of medicine. In the meantime, try to mitigate the damages from the government meddling we already have.

    Wrong! Stop wasting the meantime on meaningless side fights. Fight the good fight, a outrance!

  77. A Catholic hospital is better than no hospital. A Christian doctor is better than no doctor. Forcing either of these institutions to do things that anathema to their moral codes will result in less medical care overall(as doctors leave the field and smaller clinics and things close).

    Admitedly the issue is fairly hazy in my mind. I do think you’re describing a fairly unlikely, worst, case, scenario though. I don’t think a Catholic hospital will close down just because they are forced to distribute plan B or perform an emergency abortion. (Do Catholic hospitals perform medically necessarily abortions now?)

    And while I do think that a very very small percentage of doctors would be at risk of leaving or not entering the field, I think the number is far too tiny to be the basis for a larger policy.

    That obviously doesn’t address the individual autonomy issues issues, but at the same time he/she knows ahead of time the restrictions and regulated placed on the field even before they ever enter the profession. They already accept and boatload of other regulations and intrusions.

  78. Do Catholic hospitals perform medically necessarily abortions now?

    Yes.

  79. Jennifer –

    You electricity analogy does not pass muster. For one, there is more than one provider of RU-486 and abortions in any area. Assuming you can find the unlikely scenario that there is but one provider, I guarantee that there is another provider not that far (“next town over”). Finally, an electricity provider cutting you off would drive you from your property and your home. It would be akin to cutting off water.

  80. On a more conceptual level, Jennifer, how many regulations, how many federal dollars, and of what specific nature does the industry have to have in order for it to qualify for forced labor?

  81. All this hoopla focuses on the rights of good christians. This would also protect a scientologist who refuses to dispense psychiatric medications. Jains hold all life to be sacred. So no anitbiotics – since they kill living bacteria. Some medications are mad with the assistance of pigs – at one time synthetic insulin was. So could Jews and Muslims refuse to dispense it?

  82. Ah, but two wrongs don’t make a right, or so my mother always told me.

    No, but one wrong may necessitate another.

    I think we should have a competition to see how many unrelated situations can be explained adequately through recourse to analogy with Gaza.

  83. If I were a doctor who had been hired by a Catholic hospital, and I later underwent a conversion to militant atheism, and I now asserted a moral objection to the hospital’s policy of not providing birth control or abortions, could I then begin providing such goods and services over my employer’s objections, safe in the knowledge that this law would prohibit them from firing me?

  84. Perhaps I should say, “a doctor or pharmacist who had been hired by a Catholic hospital”.

  85. “If I were a doctor who had been hired by a Catholic hospital, and I later underwent a conversion to militant atheism, and I now asserted a moral objection to the hospital’s policy of not providing birth control or abortions, could I then begin providing such goods and services over my employer’s objections, safe in the knowledge that this law would prohibit them from firing me?”

    No, silly. This is an anti-abortion, theocratic measure. Anything that isn’t Christian in nature isn’t covered.

    By the way, here’s a story about the licensed nurse practitioner who refused to dispense the drug as ordered: She was fired and nobody cared. She went to church and prayed. Then she started selling real estate. End of story. It’s your basic, “inefficient worker who refuses to perform job moves on to different career.” No biggie.

    But now the government wants to carve out a special Christianity exception to getting fired for not doing your job. Brilliant.

  86. The choice here [is] between the lesser of two evils.

    Which will always amount to some sort of evil. Obama vs. McCain? I voted for neither, and shame on you if you voted for either.

    For example, in a strictly libertarian sense, it’s tyrannical to force the electric company to give me the same rates as everyone else, even if the company really, really disapproves of selling electricity to immoral people like me.

    But it’s even more tyrannical to say I have to go without electricity because the guy authorized by the government to sell me some doesn’t approve of me for whatever reason.

    More tyrannical? What you mean to say is — one tyranny works in your favor, and one works to the opposite end. You prefer the government regulation that hurts someone else to the government regulation that hurts you. That’s completely evil.

    So yes, fight the good fight to get unnecessary government meddling out of medicine. In the meantime, try to mitigate the damages from the government meddling we already have.

    I’m reading up on my 18th Century American History at the moment, and this sentiment outlines precisely the difference between demanding England treat us better and knowing, unequivocally, that she never would.

    Viva la revolucion!

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  87. ‘Awesome, so you got any other religions that aren’t as rational as yours?’

    Yes, secularism.

    ‘I’m done feeding the Catholo-troll.’

    Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to that promise. Or remind you of it too often.

  88. “secularlism” isn’t a religion.

    Cute snark, but try not to be a tool while you do it, k?

  89. ‘Everybody understands that it’s not abortion or birth control you object to, it’s fucking. You don’t like fucking. You want to keep fucking to a minimum with the looming fear of pregnancy.’

    Yes, that must be it. And that’s why Catholics have traditionally had such large familes, because they kept sex to a minimum out of fear of pregnancy. I see it all now.

  90. In a few years, it won’t matter. We’ll have single payer and none of us will get adequate medical care or medications. Problem solved!

  91. LMNOP,

    Whenever an atheist or secularist does something stupid, you can rely on some commenter to say, “well, since he’s being irrational, he’s obviously religious.”

    Since secularists and atheists do stupid and irrational things on a regular basis, that means they’re *very* religious indeed.

  92. No, SugarFree, Mad Max doesn’t like it when people have consequence-free sex for entertainment or fun. They must have TEH BABIES and be slaves to their reproductive systems.

    I’m sure he advocates for keeping your inflamed tonsils, appendix and impacted wisdom teeth too…because pain is just God’s special way of saying he loves you and wants you to be tough.

  93. Did someobody post a link to this discussion on WhackoNetDaily (wnd.com) or what?

    Where the fuck did all the christofascists come from?

    A business owner has a right to say what they will and will not say, or what procedures they will or will not perform. Don’t like it? Work somewhere else!

  94. ‘I’m sure he advocates for keeping your inflamed tonsils, appendix and impacted wisdom teeth too…because pain is just God’s special way of saying he loves you and wants you to be tough.’

    Thanks, TAO! Without you, I wouldn’t know I believed that!

  95. ‘A business owner has a right to say what they will and will not say, or what procedures they will or will not perform. Don’t like it? Work somewhere else!’

    This presupposes taht the consumer has a right to decide which businesses will get his or her patronage. But if the business in question wants to knock the consumer.citizen over the head and take his or her money – or have the government do that job on the business’s behalf – then, guess what? The consumer/citizen has just become an interested party when it comes to the spending of his/her money.

  96. MM – the business cannot, by definition, knock the “consumer citizen” over the head. Only the government can do that. And if you’re advocating that Pharma be punished because they exercise their right to free speech, well, take that up with SCOTUS.

    Thanks, TAO! Without you, I wouldn’t know I believed that!

    Hey, I can dispense wisdom just like God, except I have the added bonus of being real.

  97. I think this law goes to far, but we must give protection to owners of such facilities to refuse services. I have heard many authoritarians who want to force the OWNERS of pharmacies ect… to give such services.

  98. No one is being forced to provide abortions or contraception. Just like no one is being forced to be an attorney, a banker, a grocer, etc. You sign up for a job, and your employer fires you if you aren’t willing to do your job – a pretty simply equation.

    The laws as it stands permits employers and independent practitioners to operate abortion free and contraception free clinics or pharmacies. If you have objections to these procedures and drugs, you should work for these employers rather than for a hospital that does offer these things. As noted, it’s quite simple. And there really is absolutely no other field in which this “but I don’t believe in XYZ” b.s. could legally immunize you from being fired for not doing your job. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you have a serious persecution complex and probably need psychological help.

  99. On and on…by this logic, we should be able to force a plumber to take a job he does not want to do because he’s licensed by the government.

    I believe the point that Mr. Bailey is trying to make is that people should be allowed to be FIRED for refusing to do a job, not that they should be forced to do the job. If a pharmacist doesn’t feel comfortable distributing plan b, he can get another job, or work for a pharmacy that has no such requirements. One can imagine an entirely parallel network of pharamcies springing up, wiht big crosses on their signs where you have to prove you’re married to get BC pills.

  100. Tacos mmm…I wasn’t disagreeing with Ron Bailey. I was disagreeing with Jennifer and others who think that the high level of entry, coupled with licensing, justifies government forcing members of the medical industry to perform labor and sell products it has no desire to sell.

  101. ‘the business cannot, by definition, knock the “consumer citizen” over the head.’

    I also mentioned the possibility of the business invoking the government’s aid in knocking the taxpayer over the head and taking his/her money.

    Again, the regulations we are discussing apply to *taxpayer-funded* medical care. Employers ought to be free to hire and fire whosoever they wish, but if they insist on lining up at the federal trough, then before they can dip their snouts in and gobble up the taxpayer-financed goodies, they can legitimately be required to conform to such regulations as the representatives of the taxpayers may choose to promulgate. If these regulations interfere with the prerogatives of employers, then maybe they should have thought of that before demanding taxpayer subsidies.

    “Oh, no, when I called for access to the pockets of taxpayers, I never imagined that the Congressmen and Presidents elected by those same taxpayers might impose conditions on accessing their pockets!”

  102. if they insist on lining up at the federal trough, then before they can dip their snouts in and gobble up the taxpayer-financed goodies, they can legitimately be required to conform to such regulations

    Thanks for that No Shit Sherlock statement of the day.

    That says nothing about why you support this ADDITIONAL regulation, MM. One can consistently say that corporations who take government money should follow government regs and oppose this new reg.

    You just don’t seem to have a problem with additional statism, is all, because it conforms to your personal preferences.

  103. Mad Max,

    That logic could apply to anything. Do you use Federal roads? Surrender your firearms, sucka!

    Just because they receive federal help or use federal services doesn’t mean they should be arbitrarily denied the right to fire employees.

  104. Regardless, I eagerly anticipate the day when student loans subject me to government slavery. Or, oooh, I know, how about we allow the government to nationalize farms because of the farm subsidies?

    Jeez, people, get real.

  105. ‘You just don’t seem to have a problem with additional statism, is all, because it conforms to your personal preferences.’

    If by ‘additional statism’ you mean the government protecting the right to life of all human beings, even if they’re still in the womb, even if they’re ‘unwanted,’ etc., then I plead guilty. Is that what you meant?

    But we haven’t even gotten to that point. We’re debating whether taxpayers should be forced to subsidize abortions – which, according to the libertarians, is anathema.

    But we’re not even discussing that. We’re talking about whether, even if the taxpayers are forced to subsidize abortions, they should be forced to subsidize the *firing* of doctors, nurses, etc. just because they won’t do abortions – even though there are (alas) plenty of doctors and nurses who are willing to perform abortions.

    No, the humiliation of prolife taxpayers must be complete – not only must they pay for abortions, they must also pay for hospitals and clinics to fire prolife staff. Even if these prolife staff are perfectly qualified, and willing, to do such traditional medical procedures as help cancer patients, assist in surgery, etc. etc.

  106. No, additional statism that says “Employers cannot fire employees who do not do their jobs.”

    And all that you said up there is an argument for getting rid of the government subsidies, and I am with you on that. However, no amount of regulation should be a justification for further restriction on liberty.

    Oh yeah, and:

    they should be forced to subsidize the *firing* of doctors, nurses

    WTF? So, you think that by ADDING regulations, that this would somehow stop forcing people from subsidizing…firings? How do you even subsidize firing?

    You need to clean up your arguments.

  107. But we’re not even discussing that. We’re talking about whether, even if the taxpayers are forced to subsidize abortions, they should be forced to subsidize the *firing* of doctors, nurses, etc. just because they won’t do abortions – even though there are (alas) plenty of doctors and nurses who are willing to perform abortions.

    No, the humiliation of prolife taxpayers must be complete – not only must they pay for abortions, they must also pay for hospitals and clinics to fire prolife staff. Even if these prolife staff are perfectly qualified, and willing, to do such traditional medical procedures as help cancer patients, assist in surgery, etc. etc.

    I’m sorry, but did you say subsidize the “firing” of someone. I have good news for you: as long as we steer clear of additional regulations on who we can and cannot fire, firing people is pretty cheap, and no one is subsidizing it. We’re instead subsidizing the provision of care, including, it seems, contraceptives and abortions. Whether a hospital or pharmacy can fire someone is a different question and policy issue. It’s truly a departure to the realm of absurdity to start talking about subsidizing the non-employment of people.

  108. Looks like the angry optomist beat me to the point re: subsidizing firing people.

  109. He also seems to think that the legislation mandates firing pro-life doctors, instead of simply keeping the option open for employers who feel that the problem is insurmountable. What’s the matter, don’t you trust the market to provide jobs for these talented Christian doctors?

  110. Regardless, I eagerly anticipate the day when student loans subject me to government slavery.

    Isn’t this, in fact, one of the plans on Change.Gov? ๐Ÿ™‚

    A bit more seriously, the Solomon Amendment (schools – high schools and colleges – that receive fed funds can’t restrict military recruiters) is imo on a similar slippery slope that you poo-poo.

  111. ‘We’re instead subsidizing the provision of care, including, it seems, contraceptives and abortions.’

    In accordance with strict libertarian principles, I’m sure.

    ‘He also seems to think that the legislation mandates firing pro-life doctors, instead of simply keeping the option open for employers who feel that the problem is insurmountable.’

    Are the taxpayers allowed to have the option of deciding whether to give their money to hospitals and clinics which fire pro-life staff?

    If not, then the voluntarism is hard to see.

    Not to mention that lots of this is being funded with deficit spending, meaning that the *unborn* are being forced to subsidize institutions which are willing to kill them.

  112. Are the taxpayers allowed to have the option of deciding whether to give their money to hospitals and clinics which fire pro-life staff?

    If not, then the voluntarism is hard to see.

    Mad Max, this is the nature of all federal spending. Every penny. No, you don’t determine how the money is spent, and it’s often spent on social, military, or medical programs you don’t approve of. That’s certainly not ideal, which is why pretty much everyone here would support reducing federal spending and taxation.

    But none of this means that it’s OK to start restricting other freedoms. And please spare me the uborn bit. Aborted fetuses don’t have to pay for anything — because they’re dead. Try to be a little bit consistent here. Just a little bit.

  113. Ach, that was an html tag disaster. Read as:

    Are the taxpayers allowed to have the option of deciding whether to give their money to hospitals and clinics which fire pro-life staff?

    If not, then the voluntarism is hard to see.

    Mad Max, this is the nature of all federal spending. Every penny. No, you don’t determine how the money is spent, and it’s often spent on social, military, or medical programs you don’t approve of. That’s certainly not ideal, which is why pretty much everyone here would support reducing federal spending and taxation.

    But none of this means that it’s OK to start restricting other freedoms. And please spare me the uborn bit. Aborted fetuses don’t have to pay for anything — because they’re dead. Try to be a little bit consistent here. Just a little bit.

  114. Failed again. I guess that’s what the preview button is for. Damn it.

  115. So under this rule an emergency clinic can’t refuse to hire a Jehovah’s Witness even though their refusal to provide blood transfusions would doubtless result in many deaths? And they can’t be fired for refusing necessary life saving care? WTF?!

  116. Chris S,

    Italics or no, your reasoning leaves something to be desired.

    ‘Aborted fetuses don’t have to pay for anything — because they’re dead. Try to be a little bit consistent here. Just a little bit.’

    To be sure, I would rather be taxed without my consent than killed. Sadly, both of the major parties want to deprive the unborn of the right to life *and* the right of no taxation without representation.

    The children whose mothers choose not to abort them have to pick up the slack for the children who get killed in the womb. Still, the unborn who survive are still expected to pick up the tab for a government which at best doesn’t care whether they live or die, and at worst would be willing to cheer on their murderers and provide them the full support of the state.

    When future generations realize this, how willing will they be to pick up the tab for the excess spending of past generations?

    I know *I’d* be pissed to be forced to give up my earnings to pay off debts incurred by a government which denied my very right to life. It would be like telling a black person that he had to pay the debts of a Grand Knight of the Ku Klux Klan.

  117. The children whose mothers choose not to abort them have to pick up the slack for the children who get killed in the womb.

    Like those welfare mothers who “pick up the tab” of those who abort innocent babies by paying more in taxes? Except the taxes they pay are less if they are 1)married, 2) have dependents? I’m not sure what this argument is.

    Besides, pro-choice people subsidize pro-life hospitals where they don’t provide procedures that the pro-choice people want. We all subsidize things we don’t like, but you’re certainly not bringing up that argument.

    Isn’t this all about being allowed to fire someone who doesn’t do the job they were specifically hired for?

    No one is answering the excellent comments above that are saying: If you are hired somewhere and expected to perform a certain procedure, then you can be fired for not doing so.

  118. No one is answering the excellent comments above that are saying: *if* you take money from the taxpayers and are expected to meet certain standards in exchange for doing so (like not firing employees for being black, or female, of pro-life), then if you violate these standards you are defrauding the taxpayers.

  119. No one is being fired for being pro-life. They’re being fired for not doing what they were hired to do. Being black or female doesn’t make you unable to do your job (unless, for the latter, it involves extremely heavy lifting). If you were hired somewhere with the understanding that you are to pass out certain pills, then you should be fired if you do not do so. If you want to be a pharmacist and think this is unfair, then you should work for a pharmacy that doesn’t pass out those pills or open your own which does not. As someone else pointed out, if you work at a place that doesn’t pass out certain pills or perform certain procedures and then claim you shouldn’t be fired for being barred from performing them–well isn’t that the same case?

    Your argument that taxpayer money is involved swings both ways and you might as well be the tails side to Jennifer’s heads.

    So again, if a religious hospital which accepts taxpayer money doesn’t perform those procedures and someone who is pro-choice works there, then the hospital is violating those same standards if they fire that person for performing those procedures.

    You seem to think all taxpayers are pro-life and as such using their money for pharmacies and hospitals that engage in pro-choice endeavors is defrauding them. Well, it is the same when the opposite occurs with pro-choice taxpayers and pro-life hospitals and pharmacies. So what you’re saying is if a pro-choice pharmacy or hospital can’t stop an employee from not doing his job due to his pro-life beliefs, then a pro-life pharmacy or hospital can’t stop an employee from not doing his job due to his pro-choice beliefs.

    Inaction and action are the difference, but both encompass the morals of each individual or institution.

  120. As someone else pointed out, if you work at a place that doesn’t pass out certain pills or perform certain procedures and then claim you shouldn’t be fired for being barred from performing them–well isn’t that the same case?

    I should clarify this, if you work somewhere that is pro-life and then perform abortions or pass out embryo-killers, then you shouldn’t be fire under your same logic.

  121. ‘You seem to think all taxpayers are pro-life’

    No, I think that *at least one* taxpayer is pro-life.

    Taking money from one person and using that money for purposes which that person is conscientiously convinced is wrong is a very drastic step. The 10th Amendment should prevent the federal government from taking that step in all but the clearest cases when the public welfare is involved. Regrettably (as you can find chronicled in the pages of *Reason*), the 10th Amendment doesn’t have much of an influence on Congress and the courts nowadays.

    Making up for this lack of regard for Constitutional principle, Congress has passed laws providing some limitations on the use of taxpayer funds where abortion is concerned. President Bush (doing what he should have done back in 2001, if he was *serious* about the prolife beliefs which he professed so loudly) has issued regulations implementing these Congressional enactments.

    What would be a comparable protection for pro-abortion taxpayers? They are always free to pay for abortions with their own funds – the law limits the ways their money can be used *involuntarily,* to be sure, but it doesn’t stop them from paying for the (regrettably) legal procedure of abortion.

  122. Taking money from one person and using that money for purposes which that person is conscientiously convinced is wrong is a very drastic step.

    Then regardless of what you wrote additionally past this–if a pro-choice taxpayer’s dollars are used to fund a hospital or pharmacy where abortions are not performed or the Pill or RU-486 are not used, then their money is also used “for purposes which that person is conscientiously convinced is wrong”.

    Everyone’s money is being used “involuntarily”. You think because taxpayer money is involved it should protect your beliefs and not someone else’s. Again, the slippery slope that has been referred to earlier.

    Government funding is tricky but it is given to both sides. Both sides fund procedures/pills or the lack thereof and both sides don’t like whichever is not in accordance with their beliefs.

    What you’re saying is that I as a taxpayer should fund places where I can’t get an abortion or RU-486, but you as a taxpayer shouldn’t fund places where you can get an abortion or RU-486.

  123. the christians refusing to provide basic healthcare to women seekijng abortions need to be made to publically renounce their stupid superstitions. if they don’t they should be publically executed, which is a much kinder end than the way they want unwanted children to be treated.

  124. I disappeared for a few weeks–when did all these trolls get here?

  125. We already have more than enough Socialism in health care. This is going the wrong direction, let’s get the government OUT of health care.

  126. nobody u know,

    ‘ublically executed, which is a much kinder end than the way they want unwanted children to be treated.’

    This may be some kind of postmodern irony thing, but in case you’re serious, it’s not *my* side of the abortion dispute which wants unwanted children to be executed.

  127. ‘if a pro-choice taxpayer’s dollars are used to fund a hospital or pharmacy where abortions are not performed or the Pill or RU-486 are not used, then their money is also used “for purposes which that person is conscientiously convinced is wrong”.’

    That depends on whether the person is conscientiously opposed to cancer treatment, surgery, and the rest of it. Or whether their support for cancer treatment, etc. is less important to them than socializing abortion and birth control.

  128. Now you’re flailing. If someone’s taxpayer dollars are going to a facility that one believes should or should not provide certain medicines or procedures and that is not being done then it is “defrauding taxpayers” in your words. In the eyes of a pro-choice taxpayer, if one’s tax dollars are going toward a hospital, it should be for the medicines and procedures one approves of and believes a hospital should provide. You have no argument here. Please concede you have lost or try to make your case again without failing.

    The whole point of this article of most of the comments here is that we should not be socializing the hiring and firing process.

    The whole fact that taxpayer money is being used in the first place is wrong but to see it can be used for thee and not for me, which is what you’re saying, is also wrong. You’re the one making the argument for more government intervention, not less. You really don’t have a leg to stand on here.

  129. The whole fact that taxpayer money is being used in the first place is wrong but to say it can be used for thee and not for me, which is what you’re saying, is also wrong.

  130. ‘You’re the one making the argument for more government intervention, not less.’

    No, I’m the one saying if we’re in a hole the least we can do is stop digging. Government intervention in the health-care field has already become excessive (not that I reject *all* intervention, just a lesser degree than the feds and the states have been into during the last few decades).

    You’re the one who pretends to deplore the hole we’re in, but insists that the digging continue, for the benefit of your side of the culture war.

    Granted that the taxpayers are subsiziding the health-care industry, it doesn’t logically follow that the taxpayers must also subsidize the firing of perfectly qualified doctors and nurses whose only offense is taking the Hippocratic Oath seriously.

    ‘Please concede you have lost’

    You ought to be more confident in the strengh of you own position, without feeling obliged to rely on your opponent’s sense of chivalry.

  131. (Federal funds to hospitals already comes with strings attached relating to the hospitals’ employment practices – for example, they can’t discriminate against black doctors and nurses. This form of meddling has been going on since the 1960s. It’s a logical inference from the purpose of the subsidy. That purpose is healing of bodily infirmities, and it would defeat the purpose of the subsidy for the subsidized hospitals to discriminate against the staff for reasons unrelated to their skill in healing bodily infirmities. Being black is unrelated to this skill, as is stubborn insistence on obeying the Hippocratic Oath.)

  132. (If anything, adherence to the Hippocratic Oath makes a health-care professional *more* qualified, not less. Certainly not a basis for being fired.)

  133. Then we can all concede that funds should not be going to hospitals. If funds do go to a hospital and that hospital does perform abortions and the person hired is made aware they are to perform those procedures then they should be fired when they do not. If funds do go to a hospital and that hospital does not perform abortions and the person hired is made aware they are not to perform that procedure then they should be fire when they do. Easy as that.

    You can’t even address the issue at hand, falling back on your aborto-troll, government-intervention-loving tactics.

  134. This debate is much more about the culture wars than the need for any particular medical care. An individual doctor or pharmacist can object in most instances: (1) without prohibiting the entire hospital or pharmacy from providing that service; or (2)significantly impacting the overall availability of that service in the local area. So long as a person still has access to the service, why should anyone insist upon the government forcing doctors or pharmacists to provide it over their religious objections?

    Besides, do you really want a pro-life doctor performing an abortion? What if he tries to save the baby? Or a pharmacist who objects to providing the pill? What if she gives you a placebo? Personally, I am not interested in turning my medical care into an opportunity for civil disobedience.

    Maybe for our next act of dumb government compulsion we can draft Quakers and force them to fight on the front lines.

  135. “And just why do the relgious views of health care workers get to trump those of patients?”

    The patient is requesting the health care worker perform a an action and an individual has a right and a duty to be the final arbiter of the moral and ethical correctness of his actions. Why Bailey thinks that being a health care worker limits that responsibility, especially when the service in question is elective and non-vital, is a mystery.

    While a private employer has right to set the policies about what procedures and products the health care institution is willing to offer, a Prsident has a right to set the policies of federal facilities. The question gets complicated when you have quasi-private instutions which primarily work for the government.

    Bailey throws around loaded words like “theocratic” and “religious” to imply that the reasons for a health care worker objecting to these procedures are irrational and therefore easily dismissed. It is a rhetorically dishonest argument.

    If a patient comes into a plastic surgeons office and requests a female “circumcision” does the surgeom have a right to refuse to do that kind of operation for ethical reasons, or just out of aethetic objections?

  136. The patient is requesting the health care worker perform a an action and an individual has a right and a duty to be the final arbiter of the moral and ethical correctness of his actions. Why Bailey thinks that being a health care worker limits that responsibility, especially when the service in question is elective and non-vital, is a mystery.

    Bailey doesn’t think that. Bailey thinks that if a CVS pharmacist refuses to fill some legal prescriptions for personal or ethical reasons, CVS should have the right to fire the pharmacist. Bush’s regulation would prevent that.

    Read what he actually wrote:
    Surely a pharmacy, fertility clinic, or stem cell lab has the right to fire or refuse to hire people whose consciences won’t let them fulfill their job duties.

    If the pharmacist owned the pharmacy, then they could do whatever they wanted, they would just lose the business.

  137. Taking money from one person and using that money for purposes which that person is conscientiously convinced is wrong is a very drastic step

    It’s not drastic in the least. The government takes money from pacifists and uses it to fund the military. It takes money from vegans and PETA supporters and uses it to fund the USDA. It takes money from members of Greenpeace and uses it to refurbish the nuclear stockpile.

    There are a lot more people out there than just pro-lifers who oppose various things that the government spends money on.

  138. Tacos, if Bailey does not belive that then why does he lead the post with this?

    “In December, the Bush Administration issued a new health care rule that allows the religious views and morals of health care workers to trump those of patients. ”

    The logical implication of is that sentence is the regulation violates the rights of the patient, not the rights of the employer. By extension, any health care provider that refuses to acquiesce to a patients wishes is also violating the patient’s rights.

    If Bailey did not mean that, then he is guilty of sloppy, hyperbolic writing.

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