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Doctors lord it over patients

vastleft's picture

An article titled "Doctors' beliefs can hinder patient care: New laws shore up providers’ right to refuse treatment based on values" tells the chilling tale of one Lori Boyer who drove to the nearest emergency room after she was raped by an acquaintance.

Bruised and in pain, she grimaced through the pelvic exam. Now, as Boyer watched Martin Gish, M.D., jot some final notes into her chart, she thought of something the rape counselor had mentioned earlier.

"I'll need the morning-after pill," she told him.

Dr. Gish looked up. He was a trim, middle-aged man with graying hair and, Boyer thought, an aloof manner. "No," Boyer says he replied abruptly. "I can't do that." He turned back to his writing.

Boyer stared in disbelief. No? She tried vainly to hold back tears as she reasoned with the doctor: She was midcycle, putting her in danger of getting pregnant. Emergency contraception is most effective within a short time frame, ideally 72 hours. If he wasn't willing to write an EC prescription, she'd be glad to see a different doctor. Dr. Gish simply shook his head. "It's against my religion," he said, according to Boyer. (When contacted, the doctor declined to comment for this article.)

Such a refusal is not an isolated incident.

Catholic and conservative Christian health care providers are denying women a range of standard, legal medical care.

Do read the whole shocking piece, and pray that Jeebus will authorize your medical treatments.

Can you imagine that these actions (or rather, inactions) would be tolerated if the maltreated were men, or if the refusal were by Muslim doctors who wouldn't, say, remove kidney stones during Ramadan?

But this is a perfect storm of fuck-you:

  • The patients are women
  • The doctors are Christians
  • There's a subtext of sexual reprobation

In the age of Bush, power flows one-way — to the powerful, to wealthy, resolute, born-again, brush-clearin' Connecticut cowboys.

Genesis is filled with stories of reproductive capriciousness — with God ruining and fixing wombs at whim — and women being generally disregarded at every turn. As ye sow so shall ye reap.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

When the Pope comes out against Viagra we'll see some movement on this issue. In the meantime I suggest that doctors who refuse to prescribe EC or contraceptives or refer patients for abortions (much less perform them) should take up a specialty that doesn't call on them to do so. Proctology would be good...

Submitted by lambert on

So you're quite right -- proctology is the way forward for these guys.

Seriously, though, I don't think you realize the very serious point that these people are making: Forced pregnancy is a very important aspect of God's Chosen Order, and if bearing a child punishes a woman for having sex, then so much the better. And anyhow, she was asking for it. They all do.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.