Conscience exceptions are for people with a conscience

The ability of doctors to refuse to provide proper healthcare if God says it’s bad is again in the spotlight, with a Blenheim GP refusing to prescribe the Pill to a patient because he decided she needed to have babies, and her views on the matter didn’t mean shit.

Oh wait, sorry, I mean his ~Catholic conscience~ wouldn’t ~allow~ him to ~interfere~ with ~God’s plan~.  And her views on the matter don’t mean shit.  Which, because patriarchy, is something we protect under law.

Sorry, Dr Joseph Lee, but as far as I’m concerned, you don’t have a fucking conscience.

People who think that they get a controlling vote in the reproductive choices of others don’t have a conscience.  People who think that their personal religious beliefs should be enforced on others – especially other who don’t share those beliefs – don’t have a conscience.

Medical professionals who advise teenagers to use the incredibly faulty “rhythm method” because it’s their “destiny” to get pregnant at 16 seriously do not have a conscience.  Medical professionals who also refuse to prescribe condoms, because their religious extremism means they’d rather their patients get sexually transmitted infections which, super-irony-alert, might harm their fertility?  Yeah, no conscience there either.

Medical professionals who say

The only circumstances in which he would prescribe the contraceptive pill would be if a woman wanted space between pregnancies, or had at least four children.

“I think they’ve already done their reproductive job”.

have no fucking conscience either.  It’s not your fucking job to assess whether or not a patient has ticked enough of God’s boxes to access healthcare, you fucking shithead.  You’re meant to be a fucking doctor.  Fucking act like one or get the fuck out.

Oh, and “lead GP” Dr Scott Cameron, who thinks it’s okay to just have a “pamphlet” advising that “some” of your staff won’t provide contraception, and thinks getting reception to “screen” patients is good enough to protect them from being bullied by your religious fanatic employees?  You don’t have a fucking conscience either, mate.  You’ve enabled a religious bully.  I hope you’re happy with yourself.

There is no conscience involved when a brave 23-year-old has to step forward and expose the underhanded, bullying shit going on at Wairau Community Clinic – except for hers.

Here’s the thing about “conscientious objection”:

Medical Council guidelines say personal beliefs should not affect the advice or treatment offered, and should not be expressed in a way that exploits a patient’s vulnerability or is likely to cause them distress.

You don’t think letting a doctor lecture a 16-year-old about how she must have babies because God says so is bullying?  You don’t think that the setting of a community clinic, which, when opened, was heralded as “[making] it easier for those people who struggle to access health care” means the people there are vulnerable?

A truly conscientious doctor would look at the patient in front of him and say, “I’m sorry, I personally don’t agree with contraception.  Here is the number of a doctor who can help you.”  A truly conscientious doctor would have a sign on the door saying “I am not available to prescribe contraception or refer for abortion services.  You can contact [number of a doctor who will].”

But this is never about real matters of conscience.  This is about bullying people, especially women, into making the choices which are approved by patriarchal religious bullshit, choices which will permanently affect their lives, choices which will – because we do not support teen parents well, we do not support unemployed parents well, we do not support working parents well – limit their options and constrain their potential.

Dr Joseph Lee wants to control women.  And Dr Scott Cameron, and everyone at the Wairau Community Clinic who supports him, are letting it happen.

That’s not fucking conscientious.  And it deserves no protection under NZ law.

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2 comments

  1. megpie71

    A truly conscientious doctor would ensure the receptionists at the medical centre he worked in were aware he didn’t prescribe certain types of medication, so they could (for example) pre-screen patients, or at least let the patients know before they chose to see him. A truly conscientious doctor, being aware he’d inevitably be put in a position of having to refuse prescription of contraceptive medication should he be dealing with female patients in a family practice setting, would request he wasn’t given any. Or, alternatively, he’d go into some other area of medicine than family practice (maybe Ear, Nose and Throat surgery? Pathology?) so he wouldn’t be a in a position where his morals would interfere with providing the best medical care for the patient.

    Honestly, I think the greatest damage to Christianity as a religion comes from people who use it as a flag to drape themselves in when they perform acts which, quite frankly, Christ would have condemned them for.

  2. Frank Macskasy

    Amazing how some folk here in NZ get all holier-than-thou (excuse the pun) that we have no Taliban or Muslim extremists in this country.

    No. We just have our own home-grown fundies. Breeding for Jesus… *facepalm*