The next battle in the never-ending culture wars is already upon us:
More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients’ rights.
About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and “morning-after” pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.
Because many legislatures have just convened, advocates on both sides are predicting that the number debating such proposals will increase. At least 18 states are already considering 36 bills.
“It’s already a very hot issue,” said Edward R. Martin Jr. of the Americans United for Life, who is advising legislators around the country pushing such bills. “I think it’s going to get even hotter, for lots of reasons and in lots of places.”
There is little room for nuance in my opinion on this. If your religious beliefs interfere with your job providing any and all desired or required care for a patient, you have several options- change your job, change your religion, suck it up and hope yours is a forgiving God.
Denying people care because it upsets your sensibilities should not be allowed, and those who choose to do so should not be protected by legislation, they should have their licenses revoked. People who refuse to provide mainstream and accepted medical treatment to patients because of their own religious beliefs should no longer be considered doctors- they can hang a plaque outside their door that says the following:
“Joe Schmoe- Unlicensed Faith Healer.”