Arkansas Passes Law Allowing Doctors To Refuse Service Due To Moral/Religious Objections

thebobmaster

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Well, this is fantastic. The governor of Arkansas has signed a bill into law that states, starting this summer, doctors can refuse to provide "non-emergency services" based on their own moral/religious beliefs. I don't have a lot to add to it other than pointing out that technically, birth control and HRT are not emergency services, so this is bill would allow doctors to refuse to provide prescriptions for birth control pills, or refuse to use HRT for transgender people who really need it for mental health reasons.
 
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TheMysteriousGX

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Hey, they can get some Curse of Cain action and start denying service to black people again.

Christ, "moral" objections. What a shit show.
 
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Thaluikhain

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In a just world, this would be the first conversation under the new law:

"I'm sorry, Governor, but I can't prescribe you Viagra because I believe that erectile dysfunction is God's way of telling you that it's time to keep it in your pants."
Yeah, they never think about how such laws could affect them. Admittedly, this is because the laws aren't going cause them problems, and there'd be strife for people trying to apply them back to conservatives.
 

Kae

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Yeah, I read about it about all I can say is that people out there saying trans people are asking for too much and being too loud and annoying and like "Forcing their ideologies unto us", while shit like this is going on, while it is 100% provable that we do not have equal right and in some parts of the world we're losing rights is highly hypocritical.

All I can say is that it fucking sucks, I personally live in one of the least LGBT friendly states in México, it's not as bad as Arkansas but it does mean that I have to be constantly alert that shit like this won't be tried and it's frankly exhausting, which isn't great considering the process of transitioning is already stressful as hell and expensive as hell and takes a really fucking long ass time, so yeah if trans people seem angry it's probably for a very good reason.
 

Agema

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Well, this is fantastic. The governor of Arkansas has signed a bill into law that states, starting this summer, doctors can refuse to provide "non-emergency services" based on their own moral/religious beliefs. I don't have a lot to add to it other than pointing out that technically, birth control and HRT are not emergency services, so this is bill would allow doctors to refuse to provide prescriptions for birth control pills, or refuse to use HRT for transgender people who really need it for mental health reasons.
Declaration of Geneva

AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:

I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

UNLESS I'M IN ARKANSAS in which case fuck you, patient.
 

Revnak

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Declaration of Geneva

AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:

I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

UNLESS I'M IN ARKANSAS in which case fuck you, patient.
I’m choosing to believe this means that Arkansas has technically committed a war crime.
 

tstorm823

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Well, this is fantastic.
I agree.
In a just world, this would be the first conversation under the new law:

"I'm sorry, Governor, but I can't prescribe you Viagra because I believe that erectile dysfunction is God's way of telling you that it's time to keep it in your pants."
I agree with this too, though. I don't think doctors should have any obligation to prescribe Viagra.
Hey, they can get some Curse of Cain action and start denying service to black people again.
There is difference that cannot be overstated between refusing to do a specific thing for people and refusing to do a thing for specific people. The whole cake shop controversy was the gray area in that one specific case between a person not making a wedding cake for a gay couple vs a person not making a gay wedding cake. If Masterpiece Cake shop had refused to sell a standard cake to a gay customer, they would have lost that case very, very quickly. That didn't happen because the request was a custom, artistic gay wedding cake, and it was a refusal to do that service, not to refuse that customer, though again there is a gray area in that case.

That gray area doesn't exist here. If a doctor isn't interested in giving anyone a specific service, they shouldn't. If you find a doctor giving out condoms and viagra to men but refusing to sell birth control to women, go ahead and sue the crap out of them, but if someone genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients, how can you want them to be forced to prescribe it?

Edit: I will concede this law may be useless, as I don't know of any doctor being forced to give medical care against moral objections, but that's different than the law being wrong.
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
WITH HEALTH AND WELL-BEING being defined by whatever Agema thinks it should.
 

Adam Jensen

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This is some medieval shit. Or in modern times, something you'd expect from Sharia law countries. Doctors are supposed to act in accordance with science. Their personal religious beliefs should never be a factor.

This pretty much confirms that Republicans are not much different than Islamic extremists. They just believe in a different deity from a different book of fairy tales, and are simply not in a position to impose all of their monstrous beliefs on the population, yet. But it's a fuckin' death cult.
 
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Gordon_4

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That gray area doesn't exist here. If a doctor isn't interested in giving anyone a specific service, they shouldn't. If you find a doctor giving out condoms and viagra to men but refusing to sell birth control to women, go ahead and sue the crap out of them, but if someone genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients, how can you want them to be forced to prescribe it?
A doctor who refuses to prescribe birth control to an adult woman will need to justify it medically; for example a woman who cannot use the pill or the implant because she has epilepsy and either method interacts badly with the medication she takes for that condition. That is a reasonable justification based on medical science and patient welfare. Refusing an otherwise healthy adult woman the pill or the implant because of God's will - in public practicing at least - will get you sanctioned.

So, its not enough that a doctor believes it to be harmful, they need to be able to prove it.
 

McElroy

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I agree with this too, though. I don't think doctors should have any obligation to prescribe Viagra.
I'd agree but only if Viagra wasn't a prescription drug (over the counter in the UK, apparently). It's a pill for erectile dysfunction. Usually there are ways to improve potency without Viagra, but those take time. There is no way a doctor can come to the conclusion that someone "should" have no boners when there is an inexpensive and safe fix for that (that the patient pays themselves anyway).

However, doctors are allowed to speak their mind. Their obligation is to medicina, but a comment about how people should be losing weight and stopping smoking instead of taking pills isn't wrong but another part of the job.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Doesn't the Hippocratic Oath override a doctor's "moral objections" in the first place?
 

TheMysteriousGX

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The Hippocratic Oath isn't legally binding, and morons think "first, do no harm" applies to souls.
 

Thaluikhain

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It's time Arkansas doctors started dabbling in the ironically less harmful Satanism.
In Australia, we've got a Church of Satanism, and every someone tries a law like this they make a big fuss about how they get to benefit. Last time it was about religious instructions in schools, I think the government, at least initially, just said "Yeah, no" and refused to take them seriously, don't know how that turned out.
 

Silvanus

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That gray area doesn't exist here. If a doctor isn't interested in giving anyone a specific service, they shouldn't. If you find a doctor giving out condoms and viagra to men but refusing to sell birth control to women, go ahead and sue the crap out of them, but if someone genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients, how can you want them to be forced to prescribe it?
Very easily. It's their job. If they had a moral objection to doing their job, they shouldn't have applied. They shouldn't get to apply, take the job, and then pick-and-choose which bits of their job they actually want to do.
 
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Seanchaidh

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but if someone genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients, how can you want them to be forced to prescribe it?
???

If a doctor genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients, then they should have a medical reason for thinking that in which case their objection is neither moral nor religious but medical, meaning that the law is irrelevant. If a doctor genuinely believes birth control to be bad for their patients for some non-medical reason, then withholding medical care on the basis of that belief constitutes a dereliction of duty.
 

Gethsemani

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A few years back a Swedish midwife student demanded that she not be forced to participate in abortions (something they are responsible for or help doctor's perform depending on circumstances) nor have to counsel pregnant women about them. The National Board of Health and Welfare's response, being the governing body that would issue her midwife license, can be summed up as: Lol nope.

A response that was echoed by everything from the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (the union that unionizes midwives) to the Government, Parliament and an overwhelming majority of Swedish healthcare staff of all professions asked to weigh in on the matter. The woman in question, with a lot of funding from fundamentalist Christians, took the case to court by claiming her freedom of religion was being infringed. The court's verdict can be summed up as: Don't pick a job which clashes with your religious beliefs.

As a licensed healthcare professional I find it extremely important that my patients know that I am both legally and ethically committed to giving them the best possible care available regardless of who they are and that neither I nor my colleagues of all professions will refuse them treatment or care based on arbitrary, non-medical reasons. For the sake of the people of Arkansas, I'm hoping that their physicians will raise hell about this law that clashes with medical ethics.