Friday, January 15, 2010

No Catholics Need Apply

This is everywhere, of course, as it should be (but a Hat Tip to the reader who emailed me the link!):

One of the most troubling things about modern medicine is that, despite all the good it can do, it embraces some things which are patently, horrifically, ugly and evil. Abortion, ESCR, IVF, and physician-assisted suicide are just a few of those things--yet in Martha Coakley's type of view, anyone who has a problem with these things probably shouldn't be a doctor or nurse.

For Catholics, though, a particular worry is that modern medicine has also embraced the great evil of contraception, declaring it good and normal and necessary for human society. What a horrific lie it is, to convince millions upon millions of healthy woman that their bodies' natural fertility is a terrible disease for which a decades-long prescription to a drug engineered to fight against it is not only necessary, but imperative! Society has bought this lie, hook, line and sinker--there is scarcely even within the Church in America much conversation about the terrible moral evil of contraception, let alone outside of it. I think the uneasy truth for the majority of Americans is that contraception is the Great Enabler--it lets men stay selfish little boys, it lets women pursue the mirage of simultaneous career fulfillment/marriage fulfillment/motherhood fulfillment, and it lets the hawkers and pushers of a thousand useless trinkets relax, secure in the knowledge that more Americans would choose to default on their mortgages than cancel their television subscription services.

But as terrible a lie as contraception is, it is not the worst thing about the emergency contraception Coakley refers to. Emergency contraception, like all other hormone-based contraception, is potentially abortifiacient--if it is taken after conception has occurred, it can interfere with implantation, dooming the developing human to death inside her mother's suddenly inhospitable womb. Modern medicine has dealt with this reality mainly by redefining pregnancy as beginning with implantation--even though there is no innate difference whatsoever between the embryo before implantation and the same embryo later--she is still the same unique individual human being, genetically distinct from her mother and her father though genetically connected to them both.

So the liars who push emergency contraception onto (mainly) young women can say, "Oh, no! This drug won't end a pregnancy if one has started!" because they're defining "pregnancy" and "started" in a radical way that departs from sound biology and sound common sense. And then, using this definition, the anti-life liars can act as though it's only a rather quaint theological objection that keeps Catholic nurses or Catholic doctors from wanting to hand abortifacient drugs to patients who come to the E.R. demanding them. (Oh, and though the scenario of rape is the one invoked in all these moral dilemmas, does anyone doubt that the goal is to force Catholic doctors and nurses to give out emergency and all other contraception and to perform and assist at abortions as part of the necessary qualifications to being a doctor or nurse?)

In Martha Coakley's view, it would be better all around if Catholics just didn't even try to be medical professionals. Better to decimate the ranks of doctors and nurses than to budge an inch on the anti-life agenda; better to put up "No Catholics Need Apply" signs on all the hospital doors in Massachusetts. Those signs are already up in Massachusetts when it comes to adoption services organizations and Justice of the Peace offices anyway, so it's not like adding a few hundred more will make a difference to a state that is slowly being engulfed by its own wicked stupidity.


eulogos said...

Well everywhere doesn't include the SSA server, apparently. Is it a video? We get the same "hate site" message for any video as we do for anything which they have really decided to call a hate site. (Once it was Feminists for Life.)

I will certainly look at it at home. Meanwhile, let me say that I have heard sophisticated argumentation that "the pill" is not abortifacient which didn't rely soly on the "conception =implantation" meme. The argument was at least specious, that is it had an appearance of plausibility. But then in the end it more or less said, and anyway even if in some really rare cases there is an egg sperm meeting, conception does not occur until implantation. Which makes me wonder how convincing the other arguments were to the writers of the article themselves. I was referred to this by someone on Stand Firm and may be able to find it using their search feature. If I do, I will certainly link to it here so people can show how it is wrong.

I worry about my youngest daughter who wants to be a doctor. She is a very compliant sort of person which made her nice to have at home, but which makes her also too pliant to other authorities and to the Zeitgeist. I am hoping as she grows up she will "test all arguments and keep what is good." But that becomes more difficult to do-though not impossible-when you have the weight of the evil of having performed an abortion on your soul. I shudder to think of this.
Susan Peterson

Geoff G. said...

Those signs are already up in Massachusetts when it comes to adoption services organizations and Justice of the Peace offices anyway,

Tell me Erin, do you think that Quakers have the right to serve as infantrymen in the Army and then refuse to actually kill the enemy because it would violate their pacifist religious principles?

Do you think that there's a "No Amish Need Apply" sign posted in front of every trucking firm?

Do you think that's it's horribly unfair that Catholics can't apply for the job of executing criminals and then fail to pull the switch because that violates their beliefs?

No? Then why should Catholic JPs have the ability to pick and choose who they will issue marriage licenses to? If your moral values prevent you from successfully performing the core function of a particular job, then find another job. JPs are officials of the state and have an obligation to uphold the state's laws, whether they approve of them or not.

The funny thing is, Erin seems to recognize that Catholic morals are different from the larger society. But she doesn't think that Catholics should bear any of the burden of those values. She wants all of the credit for living such a fine, upstanding life, but with no self-sacrifice on her part: everyone else must rather adjust themselves to her demands.

And when they don't, then she falsely cloaks herself in the regalia of a martyr and bewails how society is feeding her to the lions.

Tell me Erin, do you think that a Colorado JP whose morality and religion demand that he should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is being oppressed? Do you think Colorado is putting up "No Unitarians need apply" signs in the window?

Of course you don't. Because in your little personal universe, your morality is the only morality that counts.

What staggering self-centeredness and narcissism.

As Erin and others already know, I am very deeply sympathetic to her pro-life views (although I arrive at them from different premises). But a pro-life doctor shouldn't be complaining that she can't get a job working in an abortion clinic without performing abortions.

You want to be a Catholic doctor? There are hundreds of different opportunities that don't involve killing children. Be an oncologist. Be a radiologist. Be a pediatrician. Be a gerontologist. Goodness knows we need those desperately.

(Incidentally, I make no reference to adoption agencies because I agree they should have the right to their own discretion when it comes to placing children, so long as they actually do no harm; it's the performance of the core function that matters, as I said)

Red Cardigan said...

Geoff, I think I need a projection screen to view all that projection.

That said, and leaving aside the JP/adoption/etc. hot buttons (since you clearly think people who disagree with gay marriage must be forced by the state to put up or shut up, so to speak), I'm not talking about anything as idiotic as a Catholic demanding to work in an abortion clinic and not kill babies. I'm saying that Catholics should be able to be ER doctors, hospital nurses, Ob/gyn doctors, and the like and not have to kill babies. Since when is "Must Kill Babies" a requirement to be a doctor?

And what about my rights, as a pro-life woman, to see a pro-life Ob/gyn? During my pregnancies I never went to a pro-abort Ob/gyn because I wanted someone who would treat both me and my unborn baby, not someone who saw my unborn baby as a disposable tissue sample up until birth. Don't pro-life women get to have a say in what doctors we choose, or must all doctors be willing to kill people as a prerequisite to practice medicine?

freddy said...

Gee, Geoff, I really don't get your hysteria and angst regarding Catholics in the medical profession.

Amish truckers and Quaker infantrymen? Really? That's the best and most germane comparison you can come up with?

It would, at a stretch, apply if the medical community didn't already have a long history of the "first, do no harm" philosophy found in the Hippocratic Oath, and if medicine didn't already have a long history of treating both mother and unborn child as persons.

(And if, regarding marriage, this country didn't already have a long history of restrictions and qualifications for who obtained a marriage license. Except Nevada ;))

Forcing someone out of a job in the private sector because official government morality has changed and theirs remains the same sets a dangerous precedent.

Who knows, it might be *your* morality in their sites next.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

There are finer lines that need to be drawn than I see emerging so far in this discussion. As I've said before on other sites, it is outrageous that a perfectly competent nurse should be told that her job is on the line if she declines to participate in an abortion. It seems we all agree that she cannot apply for a job at a clinic where abortion is a major part of the job, and then refuse to do what she was hired to do, but that is not the balance of the workload at most hospitals.

What nobody seems to recognize is that we are going to be living with each other on the same planet for the forseeable future, and no political pendulums are swinging so sharply that we can just wish each other out of existence.

I'd be willing to give up a lot of ground on abortion -- not enough to satisfy Erin, but a lot more than I really want to -- if the Roman Church would abandon its anathema toward something more sensible, like contraception. True enough, women were designed, among other things, for giving birth, and fertility is a beautiful, honorable and rewarding function.

However, human biology developed in a world where infection and accident were likely to kill more than half the babies a woman gave birth to before they were old enough to have babies of their own. Now that we can save so many precious individuals, and each individual is unique, each individual naturally desires to live rather than die, we need to recognize that there is not infinite room for more and more and more babies. As we cut the death rate, we do need to plan sensibly for how many children we are going to raise. My mother spaced out her children perfectly, and loved all of us.

Diversity and pluralism call precisely for a good number of pro-life ob/gyn doctors for women who seek that orientation, a good number of ob/gyn trained in abortion for women who may choose that option, so that a private decision can be made in the course of the doctor-patient relationship, not on a mass production line at a specialized clinic, that contraception be available for those who choose to employ it, and those who find it morally abhorent to have the freedom of speech to say so.

I have doubts about a pharmacy tech refusing to fill a prescription for contraception. I wouldn't support legislation to protect her. She is not being asked to participate directly in an operation she abhors. The customer does have the right to have a lawful prescription filled. Obstructing someone else's exercise of THEIR conscience, and legal rights, is dubious. (There are, after all, other nurses who can be called in for an abortion, but there may be only one pharmacy tech on duty at a time.)

Red Cardigan said...

Siarlys, you do realize that the Church isn't at all an opponent of responsible parenthood, which can include spacing births for legitimate reasons, right? Natural Family Planing is one of the approved natural methods a couple can use to space births for just reasons. The Church does not teach that a wife must have as many children as she can physically bear.

Mother Teresa's nuns have successfully taught NFP to poor women in India, too, and non-religious groups have taught others to use cycle beads for natural fertility awareness. These methods resonate with many third-world women, who lack the resources to use artificial contraception anyway and whose religious and moral beliefs often reject the idea of using pills or other methods to create artificial sterility.

The argument within the Church is not at all about responsible parenthood, which the Church supports wholeheartedly. The argument is that the artificial methods of contraception are against nature, damaging to marriage, demeaning to women, easy for despots to use to control their people (see: China), and ultimately a failure of openness to God's will on the part of those who have recourse to them.

Anonymous said...

The argument has been given before ... 1/3 of those affiliated with a particular system of belief in the world call themselves Christian. Only 25% of the Christian majority (77%) of USA identify themselves with Catholicism, with continuing trend for less affiliation with religions. Though founded on Christian principles compatible with democracy, the majority in USA are not Catholic. As Catholics we cannot dictate policy, nor harass, only show by example and leadership of inherently moral correctness, which is not always evident to others with ongoing divisiveness within the US Church.

As a healthcare provider sanctioned by societal jurisprudence to handle prescription drugs, I am heartened to see more openness about Planned Parenthood, a major facilitator of clinical abortions in our country, with revelations of its founders' political and degenerate agenda, (similar to general knowledge of Auschwitz while Hitler gained power). It seems there is progress toward a.) increasing access to educational resources for teen-agers, though polls indicated increased sexual activity in youth, b.) acceptance by society for support of victims of early sex to continue to grow a developing fetus and improve chosen lifestyle outcomes, and c.) increased awareness and prevention of widespread child and sexual abuse.

Availability of 'morning after' emergency contraception, and birth control pills (BCP) and bringing an unchosen birth into the world--, is weighed against use of clomiphene for those choosing to attempt control of their own fecundity and fertility,

As a pharmacist, I have refused often enough to fill prescriptions presenting as incorrect or accidental overdoses (as written by some with prescribing authority), as well as advised against potential exposure to teratogens, and a Federal Law to not dispense certain kinds of acne drugs that cause birth defects, or drugs that might cause fetal 'demise'. Obviously, some argue a daily BCP leads to fetal demise. BCP cannot prevent infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), genital herpes, syphilis, etc. I'm sure I would never be involved in providing lethal injections used on death row. I cannot reconcile similarity of dispensing BCP or prison death cocktails.

In the hospital, I have often enough assisted in preparation of drugs for safe delivery of a newborn. Of four women laboring in my hospital Sunday, one just turned 15 and the baby at 22 weeks threatening its miscarriage with early labor. Many patients relying on the grace of society for safe delivery in my hospital will not have received prenatal care. I care for babies born with potentially toxic levels of cocaine, opiates, and other drugs, as well as those requiring IV acyclovir for potential exposure in the birthing process with the communicable AIDs virus.

As a healthcare provider in my community sanctioned by society to provide ethical drug delivery, my comment regarding different categories of healthcare worker extends to the Hippocratic Oath, and 'pro-life' stances. There are monsters in every discipline. But, is an oncologist a monster when caring for a woman of childbearing age who after a bout of successful radiation (radiologist) and chemotherapy, offers the option of using BCP? Does the decision involve my sensibilities when realizing this patient's therapy was provided by Medicaid, or is it that the unreleased ova represent potential fetal deformity at fertilization? Pediatricians deal with patients up to age 18 and may have to help parents in prescribing BCP, advise HPV vaccination, discuss maturational development of a pregnant 13 yr old, report abuse, etc. And, as far as I know, sexually-related disease doesn't stop in the sexually active years.

I am glad that the emotionalism imbued in earlier stances depicting early fetal life has made way for seeming objectivity (my perception). Killing babies, as well as endangering lives--is a mental illness in any SOCIETY.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

Natural family planning is a perfectly legitimate option, but at the time I first heard of it, most people considered it a real gamble -- it simply wasn't precise enough. Of course, condoms don't always work either, and there are small percentages of error with contraceptive pills. I would think that if natural family planning can be fairly reliable, then combined with availability of a pill to terminate early a pregnancy which slips by, it would be a good option. I don't share a general antipathy toward pharmacological birth control.

But on the point, "No Catholics need apply," if the law of a state says two people can marry, then a Justice of the Peace is appropriately subject to removal if they refuse to sign the papers. That is the same legal principle as, the mayor of San Francisco may NOT marry two people if state law does not provide for two such people to be married. At any moment in time, the law is the law.

Geoff G. said...

Natural Family Planing is one of the approved natural methods a couple can use to space births for just reasons

Wait, wait...I thought that the whole point of sex was to produce children. Now you're saying that it's OK if a married couple deliberately avoid conception in order to have sex for other reasons?

And how is this different from other forms of birth control again (aside from effectiveness, that is)?

Amish truckers and Quaker infantrymen? Really? That's the best and most germane comparison you can come up with?

Sure. The whole point is that religious objections often collide with particular careers. Therefore, people who have those objections should find careers that don't interfere with their beliefs.

It's a matter of humility more than anything else. Do you demand that the whole world adjust itself to what you believe, or do you adjust your relationship with the world to accommodate your faith?

Living in a fallen world means that you're never going to get the former. And so you're taught to do the latter (or at least you were until religion became a political agenda to be foisted on everyone regardless of faith).

And what about my rights, as a pro-life woman, to see a pro-life Ob/gyn? During my pregnancies I never went to a pro-abort Ob/gyn because I wanted someone who would treat both me and my unborn baby, not someone who saw my unborn baby as a disposable tissue sample up until birth.

Look, pretty much everyone acknowledges that there's a difference between a doctor who provide abortion on demand (truly evil) and one who provides RU486 to a rape victim (still wrong IMO, but understandable) or one who, in the absence of available guidance from the patient, chooses to save her life instead of the baby's (a horrendous judgment call, but still a pro-life one, IMO).

The first type are thankfully rare. I doubt ob/gyns that fall into either of the latter two categories seriously would view your baby as "a disposable tissue sample."

(IOW, now who's projecting?)

Geoff G. said...

Just to clarify on the last point:

Erin, you have an absolute right to receive treatment that is in full accord with your personal beliefs. You also have the right to receive your physician's best efforts to carry it out.

What you do not have is a right to vet your physician's political beliefs, even when those beliefs directly bear on the treatment you are provided.

The fact that you see nothing unusual about vetting your physicians in this way speaks to how used you are to being in a group that constantly gets its own way.

To be honest, since coming out of the closet, I have never once asked any of my doctors about their views on homosexuality. If the doctor is a professional, whether they approve or not is irrelevant. They will do their best efforts, provide their best advice and treat me in accordance with my wishes regardless of whether they are gay themselves or conservative evangelicals.

Red Cardigan said...

With all due respect, Geoff, you have never been pregnant. You have never felt a tiny unborn child moving and kicking, and had to contemplate the possibility that your doctor might see that child not as his second patient, but as essentially a disposable excrescence.

I would never, in the days of my pregnancies, have seen such a doctor. It goes far beyond mere politics.

John Thayer Jensen said...

Geoff G.:

What you do not have is a right to vet your physician's political beliefs, even when those beliefs directly bear on the treatment you are provided.

The fact that you see nothing unusual about vetting your physicians in this way speaks to how used you are to being in a group that constantly gets its own way.

Geoff G. - as I have understood the debate thus far, it isn't a matter of the doctor having or not having certain beliefs. It's a matter of the doctor being required or not being required to act against those beliefs.