Kansas has that wonderful governor Sam Brownback, our very own Talibani. I'm sure that he will be glad to sign a bill just passed in the Kansas Senate:
A bill giving more legal protection to Kansas health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions was on its way Wednesday to Gov. Sam Brownback, despite concerns it would limit access to birth control and allow some professionals to block life-saving care.A long time ago I read a novel in which a woman was allowed to die of cancer without treatment (not even pain killers) because she was pregnant. It was a frightening read for a young goddess because it hammered home the principle of women's unimportance as people in themselves. But when I had finished the book I could tell myself that it was just fiction.
The Senate approved the “conscience” measure, 23-16. The House passed the bill last month, and Brownback is expected to sign it. The new law would take effect July 1.
Abortion opponents argued that the legislation merely updates decades-old state laws preventing doctors and hospitals from being forced to participate in abortions or sterilizations. They said changes are needed because women seeking abortions can now use drugs to induce them, and health care professionals who oppose abortion shouldn’t face the threat of losing their jobs or being sued if they follow their consciences.
“This is about respecting the rights to conscience and others’ beliefs,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, who opposes abortion. “Let’s protect people’s beliefs.”
The measure extends “conscience” protections to clinics, doctor’s offices and other facilities other than hospitals. People are protected not only from being forced to participate in abortions but from referring patients for abortion services or participating in the prescription or administration of any drug that terminates a pregnancy.
The legal protections extend to any individual or institution that “reasonably believes” that the use of a drug terminates a pregnancy. Some critics said that provision will allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse to prescribe or dispense birth control.
They also said it could allow a doctor to refuse to provide chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient because it might end her pregnancy.
Now? Not so sure anymore, though I hope that this law will not be applied to pregnant women with cancer.
But this is the part which smells truly off:
Furthermore, critics said, patients wouldn’t know about a provider’s moral objections until the provider refused to provide treatment or dispense a drug – and the provider wouldn’t have to refer the patient elsewhere.If this is the case then patients would essentially be trapped. It's like not listing the additives in some food item in the stores. At a minimum, all providers should be required to list their beliefs openly so that prospective patients can find a provider they are comfortable with.
This is not about protecting the providers' beliefs. This is about forcing those beliefs on patients who may not hold the same beliefs.
How come do we get these kinds of laws only about abortions? Logic requires that they should apply to all ethical and religious dilemmas in health care. Thus, physicians who are Jehovah's Witnesses should be able to refuse to provide blood transfusions or stay silent about their advisability without anything bad happening to them. And so on.