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Back April 23rd, 2004 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
Conscientious objection could be permitted in MI health care


A new law passed by the Michigan Legislature allows health care providers to refuse to treat people on 'moral grounds'. From LSJ:

If you walk into a doctor's office or a hospital, do you want the people there focused on your physical condition, or your moral worthiness as a patient?

Under a package of bills backed by a group of legislative Republicans, a citizen's morality could become a legal reason to refuse medical care.

This "Conscientious Objector Policy Act" would allow health workers to shun you in non-lifethreatening situations, if your care conflicted with their "sincerely held religious or moral beliefs."

Sponsors, including mid-Michigan Reps. Scott Hummel and Mickey Mortimer, don't seem to understand government isn't a church and government policy isn't a matter of faith.

The state, for secular reasons, issues medical licenses. No citizen or hospital or insurer has an absolute constitutional right to such licenses. If we did, anyone could claim to be a doctor and be so licensed.

People do have an absolute constitutional right to their religious views. Government cannot deny them. Neither, though, can government enforce those views on others.

Yet that is just what this legislation would do. Medical professionals would use their morality as a test for your care. A doctor or pharmacist could put up a sign saying "Sinners not accepted."

If protecting the health of others somehow conflicts with a person's morals, we suggest a simple solution: Don't practice medicine in Michigan.

This isn't a joke, folks, it's a nasty idea, supported by the Republican Right (who else?) that is sneaking into state houses across the US.

Here's the Michigan bill.

And here's some things that the Michigan Free Press is saying about it:

House votes to protect conscience rights in health care
April 21, 2004, 6:27 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Health care providers and insurers couldn't be fired or sued for refusing to perform a procedure, fill a prescription or cover treatment for something they object to for moral, ethical or religious reasons under bills approved Wednesday by the state House.

The Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the four-bill package as dozens of Catholics looked on from the balcony. The Michigan Catholic Conference, which pushed for the bills, hosted a legislative day for Catholics on Wednesday at the state Capitol.


Rep. Jack Minore, D-Flint, said the bill would prevent patients' health care needs from being considered before anything else.

"I think it's a terrible slippery slope upon which we embark," he said before voting against the bill.

Republican Rep. Randy Richardville of Monroe, who introduced the main bill of the package, said the legislation is intended to protect religious, moral and ethical freedoms of health care providers.

"Nothing in this bill, not a thing, denies a patient from receiving medical care," he said. "This simply means a medical professional cannot violate their religious obligations."

Paul A. Long, vice president for public policy for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the bills promote the constitutional right to religious freedom.

"Individual and institutional health care providers can and should maintain their mission and their services without compromising faith-based teaching," he said in a written statement.

Is this happening in your state? Better check! This truly is a slippery slope- and we could all end up sliding down it, no matter what our faith.


ADDENDUM: Here's another article on this matter from the First Amendment Center who also see this as a church/state problem. This is an extensive website that explores and reports on the slow erosion of our basic freedoms.

Back April 23rd, 2004 Forward