April 22, 2004

Healthcare Conscience

Andrew Sullivan's getting hysterical about a proposed law in Michigan. Contrary to Sullivan's assertion, and the overwrought article that he relies on for evidence, nobody is going to put up a sign saying "we don't treat gays". In fact, the bill prohibits any conscientious objections from ever being known by patients [11(1)c of the bill].

The way it would really work is that if a nurse objects to providing birth control advice, she doesn't get assigned to patients who want that service. There is also an exception for emergency treatment where everybody is required to pitch in to save lives. And whatever Michigan requires as a normal standard of care is not changed at all by this bill so if you're a solo practitioner, you're kind of out of luck on conscientious objections. With nobody else to hand care off to, you have to provide it anyway to maintain the proper standard of care as defined by the state. Furthermore, you can't discriminate against people with a particular condition like AIDS. That sort of discrimination is specifically prohibited.

Unlike Andrew Sullivan, I looked up the text of the bill and provided a link to it. It's not that long and is written pretty clearly. Homosexuals, prostitutes, drunks, and adulterers would continue to get medical care. It's just that those who have moral objections are much less likely to be fired for expressing them with the passage of this legislation. That doesn't seem to me to be a bad thing at all.

Posted by TMLutas at April 22, 2004 02:15 PM