Monday, February 18, 2008

PA considers permitting healthcare interference

Yet again, some Pennsylvania lawmakers are out to bring Puritanism back into fashion. Senator John Eichelberger (R-Altoona) has introduced PA Senate Bill 1255 which would not only allow a Health Care Practitioner (HCP) to refuse to treat patients on religious grounds, it would indemnify them from civil, criminal and/or administrative liability for refusing reproductive care. The so-called Conscientious Objection Act is the antithesis of health care. It not only allows the HCP to impose his or her personal religious views on a patient, it changes the terms of employment (they can blatantly disregard hospital or practice policy) and even allows the HCP actively & intentionally harm a patient without impunity.

Ironically, Pennsylvania is an "at will" state meaning that unless you have an employment contract that specifies what reasons you can and can't be fired, your employment can be terminated for any reason except if the negative employment action is a violation of federal EEOC laws. In other words, in PA, someone can be fired because their boss doesn't like the color of their shoes, but a HCP would not be able to be fired (or sued for malpractice) for refusing to terminate an ectopic pregnancy because the HCP's religion doesn't approve of unmarried women having sex.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you don't want to be in a position to do something inconsistent with your personal moral and/or religious convictions, don't go out of your way to obtain employment at a facility in which your responsibilities would include involvement in "immoral" or otherwise unconscionable acts.


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