This Is Extremely Bad News

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy.]

The Trump Regime issued a new rule today giving health care workers — and entire hospitals — the right to refuse to provide any healthcare services to which they have "a religious or conscientious objection."

Alison Kodjak at NPR reports:
The rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to protect the religious rights of health care providers and religious institutions.

..."This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won't be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life," OCR Director Roger Severino said in a written statement.
Yeah, people who expect healthcare providers to provide healthcare are the bullies. Sure.

And let us all take a moment to appreciate the bitter irony of these shitwheels wringing their hands over being forced to "take human life" when the whole point of this trash is to allow them to legally refuse to provide life-saving healthcare to anyone whose choices or needs they find distasteful.
As part of that change in focus, HHS in the last week also changed the Office for Civil Rights' mission statement to highlight its focus on protecting religious freedom.

Until last week, the website said the office's mission was to "improve the health and well-being of people across the nation" and to ensure people have equal access to health care services provided by HHS. But the new statement repositions the OCR as a law enforcement agency that enforces civil rights laws, and conscience and religious freedom laws, and "protects that exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions by individuals and institutions."

..."This rule allows anyone from a doctor to a receptionist to entities like hospitals and pharmacies to deny a patient critical — and sometimes lifesaving — care," said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center, in a statement.
One thing that must be understood here is that these laws will absolutely not be equally applied. They will not protect anyone from a minority religion who claims a religious objection — unless, perhaps, that objections happens to align with the toxic bigotries (e.g. reproductive coercion or queer hatred) of the conservative evangelical Christians this law is designed to empower.

I'll reiterate what I wrote when this rule was first proposed by the Trump Regime more than a year ago: This was a constant fight during the Bush administration. (One against then-Senator Hillary Clinton fought vehemently. Cough.) And no matter how sophisticated the language — Republicans have since largely abandoned the term "conscience clause" and have significantly toned down the religious rhetoric on this subject — it's still a garbage position that privileges a very specific brand of conservative Christianity in direct violation of the mandate to "do no harm."

For more than a decade, healthcare providers who subscribe to the particular iteration of Christianity that gives them religious cover for their existing bigotries, have insisted that not being able to refuse to provide care to certain patients — abortion-seeking women, transgender people, gay/bi people — leaves them with "no choice," complaining that "the secular world increasingly demanding they capitulate to doing procedures, prescribing pills, or performing tasks that they find morally reprehensible."

(And what they find "morally reprehensible" will ever expand to include people of whose "lifestyle choices" they don't approve: Fat patients, addicts, alcoholics, smokers, people with chronic pain they decide are "pill-seeking.")

Only in an environment where "freedom of religion" is deliberately misconstrued to mean "the right of a single strand of conservative Christianity to not have to follow the rules everyone else does" could an expectation to provide legal healthcare services constitute religious discrimination. Only in this atmosphere could not being able to pick and choose which patients you want to serve, thusly redefining your entire profession on your own terms, be considered tantamount to having no choice at all.

Here's your choice: Do what you were hired to do or get another fucking job.

(Note: If a huge — and ever-increasing — number of our hospitals weren't run by the Catholic Church, we might have healthcare services that make the people they hire commit to performing every procedure.)

This culture of victimhood among conservative Christians is ridiculous in the extreme. It is predicated on the flawed assertions that their version of Christianity is the only version, and that it is the exclusive source from which morality can be derived.

The morality of all other Christians, all people of other religions, and all irreligious people must be diligently ignored — particularly those traditions in which there is an obligation to provide care to all people.

If those equally valid beliefs were not erased from all public conversation, the barking dipshits who equate oppression with a requirement of compliance with one's basic job description might have to face the reality that there's not some insidious siege upon religious freedom, but instead just a minority group whose religious beliefs make them intrinsically unfit to hold positions as healthcare providers.

They want to have their cake (opposition to certain healthcare procedures) and eat it, too (be healthcare providers free to decline patients of their choosing). But it just doesn't work that way.

A marketing exec for Phillip Morris who's lost a parent to lung cancer and decides that hawking smokes is "morally reprehensible" doesn't get paid to sit in her office doing nothing. She finds a way to navigate doing a job that she finds objectionable but provides a living, or she finds another job.

If you sign up to be a healthcare provider, you bloody well provide healthcare.

It's no one else's responsibility to indulge your conscience — especially not a patient whose very life might depend on your fulfilling the functions you were hired to do.

The vile irony of this trash is that asking for on-the-job exemptions from primary duties based on religious beliefs is nothing less than the "special rights" conservatives are incessantly accusing the LGBTQ community, women, and other marginalized populations of seeking.

But we just want baseline equality. Christians who want to use their interpretation of the Bible to rewrite their job descriptions want an inequality that caters to their personal whims.

It's bad enough when it's some asshole who doesn't want to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples or bake a cake for their wedding, but "conscience clauses" in the field of medicine, where lives depend on people who don't hesitate, who put patients' needs before their own desires, such a willful dereliction of duty is thoroughly contemptible.

It is immoral. It will be deadly.

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