Biting the Apple of Professional Oppression

Imagine being a post-secondary student for 10 years and accruing a debt of $200,000. Then imagine having to decide whether to continue in the profession you’ve dedicated your life to or leaving it behind to save your conscience.

That is the dilemma many face who are part of the medical profession today.

It’s been ongoing since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton legalized abortion from conception until birth in 1973.

Let’s remember: there’s a shortage of physicians in the US. And that situation is getting worse. America will need to train more physicians. So far, most states protect the rights of medical personnel to not participate in objectionable procedures such as abortion. But in some cases, that is already changing.

The issues are what you might expect: abortion, euthanasia, and transgender drug treatments and surgery.

Some history: In May of 2019, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule stating that health care workers could not be “compelled to participate in abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide procedures.” But the rule was “vague about other services — such as hormonal and surgical treatments for transgender individuals — that some health professionals may also find objectionable on moral grounds.”

Peter Sullivan quotes Roger Severino, senior fellow and director of HHS Accountability Project at the Ethics & Public Policy Center at the time: “This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life.”

The rule affected not only doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, but also pharmacists who didn’t want to dispense contraceptives (many of which are abortifacients) and morning-after pills (also abortifacients).

Now the conflict has expanded from abortion and euthanasia (in the states where it’s legal) to transgender treatments and surgeries.

Severino again, “[HHS Secretary Xavier] Becerra is threatening to put doctors and hospitals that disagree with current transgender ideology out of business, including those with medical, religious, or moral objections to conducting sex-reassignment surgeries on minors.”

So if you believe that it’s wrong to surgically alter someone, a child in this discussion, with an operation from which there is no return, the government wants to put you “out of business.”

As things stand today, many medical professionals of faith, including those we’ve praised and lauded during the COVID pandemic, are employed in a hostile workplace.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden apple, they had no idea how bad their fall would turn out.

Our government has bitten a poison apple, rejecting Hippocrates’ admonition that medical professionals “first, do no harm,” and placing people of conscience between two bad options.

Damaged career or damaged patients? That’s their choice.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Freedom Beyond the Church Doors

In Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Jonas is a young boy who realizes that his father intends to kill his younger brother. Jonas makes this realization even as his father seems oblivious to the results of his own actions.

Lowry paints an “ideal” society where drugs eliminate sexual desires and the social order arranges marriages and provides children to selected parents. The society chooses everyone’s family, everyone’s vocation, and instills everyone’s socially acceptable thoughts into their minds. Almost everyone’s.

The society chooses one person in every generation to receive the truth–to carry it–but never to divulge it. For his generation, that chosen person is Jonah.

But the society had failed to obliterate Jonah’s conscience. Some current societies are trying to do the same thing in a very significant way.

Last year, a Canadian court ruled that a patient’s desire to be euthaniized (a medical suicide) “trumps a doctor’s conscientious objection.”

Wesley J. Smith provides background to the case:

“In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada conjured a right to lethal-injection euthanasia for anyone with a medically diagnosable condition that causes irremediable suffering—as defined by the patient. No matter if palliative interventions could significantly reduce painful symptoms, if the patient would rather die, it’s the patient’s right to be killed. Parliament then kowtowed to the court and legalized euthanasia across Canada. Since each province administers the country’s socialized single-payer health-care system within its bounds, each provincial parliament also passed laws to accommodate euthanasia’s legalization.”

Canada isn’t alone in requiring medical personnel to violate their consciences. Victoria, Australia, requires physicians to perform abortions when requested–or to find someone for the patient who will.

What Canada and Australia have become, America may soon also be. Sam Sawyer, SJ, in response to New York’s recently enacted abortion law:

“The R.H.A. [Reproductive Health Act] does not contain any explicit provision requiring anyone to perform or provide abortions, but neither does it explicitly provide any exemption for conscientious objection by health care professionals regarding abortion.”

So this issue is one that remains for the legislature and/or courts to determine.

The radical nature of New York’s law–removing the requirement that doctor’s perform abortions rather than other medical personnel–and removing all protections from children who survive abortion and are born alive–does not bode well for conscientious objection against taking a life.

In the meantime, because abortion can now occur via prescription medication–because assisted suicide often happens via a lethal prescription–and because some contraceptives act as an abortifacient after conception (they kill embryos instead of preventing them–pharmacists are now at risk of violating their consciences too.

Only six states in the US provide a conscience clause, not requiring the pharmacist to either fill the prescription or help the patient receive the requested service through another outlet.

So it was an answer to prayer last Thursday–the National Day of Prayer–when President Trump announced new federal protections for an array of medical providers:

“We finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students, and faith-based charities.”

As with other such rules, this one is subject to change in the winds of any election.

But for those who support life in the medical field–and those who wish to in the future–the news is only good.

Let’s keep working for life to make this change one that lasts for generations. Otherwise, we risk becoming like the people of Lowry’s The Giver–having our consciences obliterated.

Because as James Madison noted, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”