Monday, December 29, 2008

Planned Parenthood: Keeping Politics out of the Doctor's Office?

The "Springfield News-Leader" published a "Voice of the Day" letter today offering a slanted view of what a regulation President Bush signed into law will accomplish.

Alison Gee, Southwest Missouri's Planned Parenthood Vice President, described the regulation as "a midnight regulation," though, in an earlier post, I referenced "Baptist Press" (BP) had reported the Health and Human Services Department had been working on the regulation for much of this year and had introduced the proposal in August. After its introduction, a 30 day comment period followed. In fact, the report from BP had stated (or warned) that critics of the measure were charging it was "an eleventh-hour move," so, no surprise Gee erroneously represented it as "a midnight regulation."

It's a topsy turvy world when the ten commandments are meekly removed from a government office because it offended one man but a nationwide effort is made to force doctors, pharmacists and pharmacist assistants to deal in abortion and abortion drugs against their own moral consciences. Or, should I say, there is an outcry against any regulation protecting those doctors, pharmacists and assistants from providing services and prescriptions which are in contradiction of their own moral code? In other words, your right to an abortion trumps the doctor's right to decline giving you one?

This morning, I followed the hot link provided by the News-Leader at the online edition of the paper:

"Join us. Visit www.plannedparenthood.org to learn more."

...What I found at the link, originally, was a replacement of the home page with a blatant call for money. Under a snowy, pine tree laden, peaceful blue, starlit banner, Planned Parenthood invited those who landed there to support "Choice on Earth":


"We have this special page up for just a few short days instead of the regular Planned Parenthood homepage because right now, we have a special opportunity: A long-time supporter will match, dollar for dollar, every online gift that we receive through December 31, 2008, up to a total of $300,000."


That is what I found the first time I clicked on the News-Leader's hot link. When I went back to pick up the link for this blog entry the link had been updated to direct the reader to the Planned Parenthood homepage. At the home page is a prominent "Choice on Earth" fund raiser notice.
Directly below the "Choice on Earth" contribution notice, the reader is invited to:


"Learn more about issues and elections at the website of our advocacy and political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund."


Political arm!??? Wait a minute! Didn't Gee promise in her "Voice of the Day" letter today:

"We will fight this and use all of our power to keep politics out of the doctor's office."


???

Yet, they have a political arm? If their intent is to keep politics out of the doctor's office, why the need for a "political arm?"

Apparently, they just want to keep politics out of the doctor's office if it goes against their own political agenda. You see, it's okay to offend the moral conscience of doctors, pharmacists and their assistants through political activism, just don't offend Planned Parenthood by exercising your own right to be politically active in a cause that counters their own political agenda.

Bully, bully.

Gee wrote:

"President Bush is continuing to take his ideology and politics and smother women's ability to make fully informed decisions about their health care."


The regulation isn't about Bush "smothering" a woman's ability to make fully informed decisions about health care. It is about protecting the rights of doctors and pharmacists not to have to provide a procedure or prescribe drugs which cause a moral dilemma for them, individually. But, those very critics of the regulation have already sought the inclusion of funding for abortion in any national health care coverage plan president elect Barack Obama might seek so, it shouldn't come as a surprise these pro-abortion activists care little about the individual rights of people unless it goes along with their own agenda. (See BP's report on that, here.)

In this case, I see Bush trying to protect peoples' rights and Planned Parenthood trying to force others to provide services for an activity the former oppose on spiritual or moral grounds and, not stopping there, Planned Parenthood won't really be happy until they force every American taxpayer whose moral conscience is in opposition to abortion to financially support any woman's choice to abort.

In fact, the regulation does nothing to smother women's ability "to make fully informed decisions about their health care." Planned Parenthood can still inform women and women will still have a choice as to whether they want to abort a baby or choose another option, such as putting the baby up for adoption.

It's really about money, your money and my money. Planned Parenthood wants you to think without more of your willingly donated money, today, and future mandated tax dollars, their ability to "fully inform" women about their health care will be hindered or "smothered." They want to force all doctors and pharmacists to provide abortions and prescription drugs which some doctors are conflicted about providing. They want providing those services and prescription drugs forced upon those doctors and pharmacists to make the choice of abortion more convenient for women who want them and they want all of us to eventually be forced to foot the bill with our tax dollars.

Should women have the right to have a convenient abortion? Women can certainly get one but, poor things, it might not always be as convenient for them as they might like. They might have to make a day trip. What a pity.

I know people who have to travel to Kansas City or St. Louis to get treatment for certain illnesses so, should the taxpayer be forced to provide money (through the government) to every hospital in the nation so that all treatments and procedures are convenient to every single patient who needs those treatments or procedures that might be currently unavailable in their own cities, at their local hospitals and clinics? Is convenient "availability" what should dictate the expenditure of taxpayer dollars, even at the expense of individual moral conflict?

I have a cousin who is often forced to travel to Little Rock, Arkansas to receive the veteran health care benefits she needs. She can get them, but it's less than convenient for her and she often has to make the trip under physical duress, something which isn't often the case for women choosing abortion.

President Bush signed a regulation to affirm "the right of doctors and other health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion and other medical procedures to which they object," not to deny women access; accessibility to abortions was not affected one whit by this regulation. Abortions are as available to women today as they were the day before Bush signed that bill.

Yes, Alison Gee, let's do ensure we keep politics (and money grubbing) out of the doctor's office.

11 comments:

Busplunge said...

The rule would apply to over 500,000 facilities nationwide and would allow all healthcare workers -- not just doctors and pharmacists but potentially even janitors -- to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable.

google Amish Bus Drivers Rule

tom said...

I hate to point this out but isn't this a dominant movement in the democrat party. For those that do NOT support this type action how can you continue to support and represent a political party that is so far removed from your own beliefs ??

Jackie Melton said...

Jim, I looked at this "amish bus driver rule" story,

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2008/New_Bush_rules_limit_womens_reproductive_1203.html

Here's a line from the article:

"....You limit the ability of these doctors to practice in various states and localities. You just keep reducing, reducing, reducing." "

The regulation does not limit the ability of "these doctors" to practice in various states and localities. It enables a physician who does not want to perform abortions not to do so. In fact, I don't believe physicians were forced to give abortions before Bush signed that bill. So, doctors who don't want to perform abortions were not forced to do so anyway to begin with.

The regulation Bush signed simply AFFIRMED "the right of doctors and other health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion and other medical procedures to which they object."

Another line from the same article:

""That has a disproportionate effect on poor women, on rural women," Harris-Lacewell stated. "Women who have private health insurance, women who have private physicians, tend to have plenty of access to a variety of reproductive rights options. Poor women and women with less access are the ones hit hardest.""

Sorry, those poor women were already disproportionately effected before Bush ever signed that bill. Women who have private health insurance and private physicians tend to have plenty of access to all sorts of health care options, not simply in regards to the availability of non-reproductive options. So, as I asked in my original post, are we going to make sure that every citizen of America has every single health treatment and procedure at their fingertips or will that only pertain to those who want to abort their babies? Is aborting babies more important than other forms of health care? If so, then why is abortion more important than the convenient availability of other health procedures and treatments?

This is a non-issue being trumped up and passed like a political football by abortion advocates to get their donors up in arms so they'll throw a few bucks (or $300,000) their way.

Jolene said...

about the regulation being necessary to protect doctor/nurse/pharmacist's from providing birth control or abortion, or just from providing services they don't believe in? that's already on the books, there was no need for an additional regulation of which there is absolutely no proof it is necessary

the major problem with this regulation is that it allows all associated at any level with a medical institution that receives funding from the gov't to NOT provide information about ANY procedure that they are against, yes, including abortion

the reason that many are considering this a "midnight" regulation which is basically the same thing as an "eleventh hour" regulation (in that it is being pushed through as a president is leaving office) is because that is exactly what it is

while the language has been modified from when it originally came out--which first included wording that would make anything that stops a pregnancy from even starting an abortifacient-this includes birth control methods that do not stop a pregnancy (wherein a fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uteran wall) and includes miscarriages which happen quite regularly in the first trimester of many pregnancies, IUDs and oral birth controls which merely convince your uterus that you are already pregnant (because you cannot get pregnant if you are already pregnant)--the main idea of it has not changed, and the fact that the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION and the American Nurse's assocation have come out against this regulation because it severly limits everyone's ability to receive any LEGAL medical procedure means absolutely nothing to the Bush administration's last ditch effort to limit women's access to reproductive health

reproductive health does not just mean abortion-which by the by represents less than 5% of what Planned Parenthood does--it also means preventitive care like pap-smear's, mammograms, STI testing (for men and women), prostate exams, cervical cancer screening and treatment, pre and post natal care to name a few

Planned Parenthood is also a safety net health care provider for many people that cannot afford insurance or whose insurance copays are too expsensive

yes, pp receives $332m from the government a year, but if you break it down but the 129 affiliates and then by the number of patients seen for NON-abortion services each year, it works out to roughly $4/person, pp does more to prevent abortion and unwanted pregnancy through comprehensive medically accurate sex ed and contraception services than any pregnancy crisis center or abstinence only education program

FOUR DOLLARS! four. that's it. that means each year that pp is reimbursed $4 for each patient who's bill could be hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. many health centers operate year after year at a deficit just to be able to provide basic health care to the communities they're located in

did you know that a basic STI screening can cost over $600? do you have $600? i sure don't

pp is about providing people with the knowledge to make an informed decision about their reproductive health care, giving people the ability to make a choice, this regulation merely takes away that choice--a choice that is deeply personal and has nothing to do with a political agenda

did you know that abstinence only education has been proven to not delay onset of sexual activity? that kids that have participated in an abstinence only program are just as likely to have sex as someone that has had no sex education and that they are more likely to have sex without a condom
would you let your child drive a car, shoot a gun, go swimming, ride a bike without teaching them how to do it safely or providing them with protection?

would you want someone to not tell you about a life-saving procedure because they don't believe in it? or do you want to know that when you go to the doctor they are going to do their best to give you every option regardless of their religious or personal beliefs?

and it is most definitely an issue that any man, woman or child would not or could not have access to basic health care, just because that problem already exists does not ever make it a non-issue

Angel said...

I find it a vastly different thing for a doctor to refuse to perform an abortion and a pharmacist refuse to fill a prescription for the morning after pill or birth control. Doctors have specialties. I wouldn't expect a OB/GYN to perform heart surgery on me. I wouldn't expect a heart doctor to know what is up with my kidneys. But, regardless of what medicine my doctor prescribes ... I expect my pharmacist to fill my birth control prescription (or at least I did when I took birth control). I think it would be quite difficult to try and force a doctor to perform an abortion and it is a totally different thing than expecting a pharmacist to fill a prescription.

tom said...

I believe anyone should be able to refuse service for any reason, no matter what the purpose.

If I walk into a Walgreen's with a prescription and the pharmacist refuses to fill it I will go elsewhere to get it filled. Why is it in society today we believe it to be our right to FORCE others to wait on our every need?

I see this issue as being quite similar to the smoking in restaurants issue. As a patron I don't own the restaurant I'm clearly a customer at my OWN discretion I don't need government or any authority to dictate to anyone that they MUST COMPLY to the directives of myself or my doctor.

If CVS pharmacy will NOT fill your prescription then go to the Wal*Mart pharmacy and have it filled. At NO point will every pharmacist in any community refuse to fill your prescription especially if they are employed by one of the mega conglomerate companies like the ones I have already mentioned.

I can see a pharmacist/owner refusing to fill a prescription for lets say the morning after pill, that should be his/her right. This is NOT a life or death scenario where the doctor can control the outcome of the event.
And in the other scenario a doctor should also be able to refuse to prescribe these medicines as well if there morals are in complete opposition to that type of pill.

Find another doctor that agrees with your mode of thinking instead of trying to FORCE your beliefs on everyone else

Angel said...

"I believe anyone should be able to refuse service for any reason, no matter what the purpose."

I bet racists just love that kind of thinking. Let's not serve food to blacks because we don't want to. We can also stop giving medical care to hispanics. Those pesky mexicans can go back to South America if they want healthcare. Why force anyone to do their jobs and serve anyone else?

Everyone should just get to do whatever they please and who cares if they took a job meant to provide services. That makes a lot of sense. Cab drivers can refuse service to those they don't like for whatever reason they don't like. Nurses can refuse care to sick people. Restaurants can just turn people away for no other than reason than they don't like someone's shoes.

Wow ... it could get really interesting. Stupid ... but interesting.

tom said...

and in return blacks can have a restaurant and refuse service to whites. equal opportunity.

If what you have written would come to a realization there would be no viable businesses remaining open, which is why when people jump off the deep end with irrational thinking the ideas can be blown out of the water.

We discriminate on a daily basis in the manner of where we eat, who we date, what color car we buy, which neighborhood we live in. The list is endless and yet everyone can see a doctor, buy medical insurance, purchase auto insurance, get a physical, have our medical prescriptions filled, the list is endless and yet the world continues to revolve and we continue to live.

I'm shouldn't be amazed that when an issue like this comes up someone always bring up the racist issue and then proceeds to define racism as a Caucasian person as being the one promoting the action

Cab drivers especially those of Arabic decent already have been given the right to discriminate against people carrying alcohol into the cab. This has happened in numerous border cities in the northern states and southern Canada.

Momma Twoop said...

Jolene said: "that's already on the books, there was no need for an additional regulation of which there is absolutely no proof it is necessary"

It obviously is needed in light of the fact that many healthcare providers are pressured to engage in procedures which go against their moral or relgious convictions.

Jolene said: "the major problem with this regulation is that it allows all associated at any level with a medical institution that receives funding from the gov't to NOT provide information about ANY procedure that they are against, yes, including abortion"

That is wholly INCORRECT. This regulation does not allow anyone to withhold any information about any procedure. Have you read the regulations themselves? If not, I would urge you to do so.

These regulations merely AFFIRMS existing regulations and protections provided to those who refuse to engage in certain medical procedures because of moral or religious objections, and, conversely, those who DO perform certain medical procedures others might have moral or religious objections to. It sets forth which agency shall handle complaints regarding discrimination/intimidation complaints, and enacts a system for compliance filings.

Jolene said, "...first included wording that would make anything that stops a pregnancy from even starting an abortifacient-this includes birth control methods that do not stop a pregnancy (wherein a fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uteran wall) and includes miscarriages which happen quite regularly in the first trimester of many pregnancies, IUDs and oral birth controls which merely convince your uterus that you are already pregnant..."

This, too, is wholly incorrect. Opponents of this regulation demanded that the Dept. of Health and Human Services define abortion because, they said, it would be "too confusing" not to know EXACTLY what that word meant. In a further attempt to obfuscate, opponents pointed out, as you did, some birth control measures allowed an egg to be fertilized, implying that this should also be labled abortion and, if not, nothing should be labeled abortion.

The regulations state, "...the Department intends that common sense interpretations apply." If everyone would do that instead of trying to contort the meaning of every little word in an attempt to squash this needed protection, no one would be upset, and Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates would not so easily and successfully engage in scaremongering.

Anonymous said...

"It obviously is needed in light of the fact that many healthcare providers are pressured to engage in procedures which go against their moral or relgious convictions."

I'm from Missouri, show me. Who are the healthcare providers who are pressured to engage in procedures...?

Momma Twoop said...

I'm from Missouri, show me. Who are the healthcare providers who are pressured to engage in procedures...?

One commenter asserted that there was "no proof" this legislation was needed without "showing" anything substantive in support of that statement.

My response to the contrary was gathered in, and supported by, reading the summaries of public comments made during the public comment phase of deliberations for this regulation. The Dept. of Health and Human Services' website, which contains summaries of comments made, states,

Several other Comments,
however, reported widespread lack of knowledge regarding these laws and inconsistent application of them. These Comments generally supported the regulation as a necessary and useful mechanism to support statutory protection. In addition, numerous Comments reported what they believed to be individual instances of violation of conscience, including health
care providers suffering loss of employment, adverse actions during
medical training, and discrimination in residency placement, among other consequences, due to their assertion of their conscience rights. Some Commenters also reported pressure to perform certain procedures from State authorities, professional organizations, or employers that
appeared to the Commenters to be inconsistent with federal conscience protections.


http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-30134.htm

It was also pointed out that some commenters during the public comment phase wanted HHS to specifically exclude the act of transferring an employee after refusal to perform a service as a form of discrimination, which leads one to wonder if, perhaps, this is common practice in some healthcare institutions in the US. Why seek such an exemption if it isn't?

Further, some of the existing protections and non-discrimination policies which this regulation affirms and seeks to enforce have been in place for three decades, with others being implemented along the way. Clearly, there has been a continuing need for protection for heatlhcare workers who want to assert their right to refuse to participate in services they find religiously or morally abhorrent for quite a long while, right up to the present.