July 6, 2006

"Rape Gurney Joe."

There's some new terminology in the demonization of Joe Lieberman. I saw it first today in this post at Firedoglake, complaining about Democratic Senators who are supporting Lieberman in his reelection campaign. Tracing back, I found this earlier use, also in Firedoglake, commenting on something Boxer said at Yearly Kos and calling it "damn close" to "the dumbest thing anyone said":
Boxer enthusiastically expressed her support of her esteemed colleague with whom she had worked many times over the years, and said all of the opposition to Joe was based on his support of the war. She said other groups, like women, were backing Joe because he was so good on their issues. I like many things about Barbara Boxer so I’m going to assume here that she’s an idiot and not a liar.

The fact is that women in Connecticut are NOT happy with Joe Liebeman on their issues. In fact the head of Connecticut NARAL and Connecticut Planned Parenthood are EXTREMELY upset about Rape Gurney Joe telling rape victims to take a hike (literally) if they want emergency contraception and have the bad luck to be taken to a publicly funded, Catholic emergency room. In fact in a recent poll 74% of Connecticut voters think that Catholic hospitals should have to provide this necessary treatment to rape victims or get out of the fucking emergency medical business. Barbara Boxer seems, at best, a tad out of touch with what’s going on with Joe in his home state of Connecticut as she shows her support for the incumbency protection racket.

That Boxer is out of touch was backed up moments later in the hall when she turned on Curry, miffed at having been asked the question in the first place. "Why are you so focused on Lieberman?" she snapped. "Because everyone here is," he answered. This seemed to shock Boxer. Where exactly did her aides tell her she was speaking?
Boxer is one of the Senators who, we now see, will be campaigning for Lieberman (second link, above). So the shock she experienced at YearlyKos propelled her away from the candidate they are pushing (Ned Lamont), and caused her to become especially conspicuous in her support for Lieberman. Firedoglake's reaction to today's news -- first link, above -- goes this way:
If Boxer wants to come to Connecticut and spend some of her political capital on Rape Gurney Joe, she better bring a Brinks truck. Because the last time I encountered Barbara Boxer talking about Lieberman, she was sadly misinformed. It was during Yearly Kos, and she was saying that opposition to Joe was "all about the war" and that on women’s issues, he was great.

The women of Connecticut don’t think so. Before Boxer steps in the deep doo-doo Lieberman has created for himself with women in this state by his stance on Plan B and publicly funded Catholic hospitals, she might want to educate herself on his history. I’ll quote the great Connecticut Bob here:
Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn’t be forced to do so.

"In Connecticut, it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.
Well Joe, that’s not very helpful. I mean, I know that you’ll never need emergency contraception at two o’clock in the morning after having been brutally raped. So I guess it’s easy for you to disregard any woman who is unlucky enough to have gone through that trauma....

Well I’m off to start calling the ladies of Connecticut Choice Voice, I’m sure they’ll be there when Boxer shows up to ask a few pointed questions. And that will be me with the camcorder.
Well, what can I say? The label "Rape Gurney Joe" is so ugly that ordinary citizens will feel quite put off. I support abortion rights reproductive freedom, but I dislike the heavyhanded political use of abortion reproductive freedom to threaten those who have some moderate position. Surely, a willingness to accommodate the religious scruples of Catholic hospitals is not something that outrages ordinary people, even ordinary abortion rights reproductive freedom supporters. Firedoglake says that Catholics -- whose religion has caused them to devote so much hard work to providing medical care over the years -- need to "get out of the fucking emergency medical business" because they want to follow their religion's teaching about contraception. That's going to sound bizarre and scarily angry to a lot of people.

UPDATE: Firedoglake responded to me. She called me an "idiot" and depicted me as a baboon. Her main substantive point is that the Connecticut law is about contraception and therefore the politics surrounding it is disconnected from the abortion politics I've referred to. There's a lot of discussion of this point in the comments, and but clearly the imposition on Catholic beliefs doesn't depend on whether the drug is a contraceptive or an abortifacient. And the politics is of a piece with abortion rights, which is why NARAL and Planned Parenthood are talked about. I couldn't tell what drug was being referred to from the post of hers I commented on. Obviously, my concern is the ugly rhetoric, and her response to me is to go all out to alienate me with additional ugliness. Sigh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I struck "abortion" and replaced it with "reproductive freedom" in the original post. Now, can you focus on my real point?

221 comments:

1 – 200 of 221   Newer›   Newest»
AJD said...

Yep, it's terriby ugly. Detestable.

Just wondering: do you ever search for ugliness on the right? There's a huge amount of that, too. It is also ugly and detestable.

You could start with that other Ann.

But that wouldn't be red meat to your base, now would it?

Coco said...

"I dislike the heavyhanded political use of abortion to threaten those who have some moderate position."

Couldn't agree more. Sadly, the polarization on such issues, especially on fierecely partisan sites like Firedoglake is the norm on both sides of the political sprectrum. Of course "ordinary people" don't think in such extreme terms, if by ordinary you mean the great majority of voters who don't habituate sites like that or LGF or listen to extremely partisan talk radio for example. But these types of partisan outlets are increasingly setting the tone of debate. And that tone is evident on the comments sections of this site as well.

Tom C said...

Most moderates, I am sure, have neither heard of nor give a damn about "firedoglake".

The nonsensical proposition that "women are against Lieberman" because he won't force Catholics to administer abortifacients is so stupid that it hardly merits comment. FDL can just not vote for Lieberman, and see how that works out. What a dope.

Elizabeth said...

But what about the public funds? Can't we at least pull our tax dollars from religious institutions that put their religious beliefs above the rights of the citizens that might be brought to their doors in an ambulance? The "rape gurney joe" rhetoric is ugly, but I think the "it's just a short ride" rhetoric is ugly, too, and thoughtless.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Or maybe, AJD, Ann gets more worked up by things like this on the Democratic side because that's her side, and she has more of a personal stake in it. Why should she care about Republican fanatics trying to get the Republicans to commit political hara kiri? The Repubs aren't her party.

Ann talks about the stuff that interests her. No commitment to "fair and balanced" is even implied. Why should that bother you?

Internet Ronin said...

Elizabeth (or anyone else): Could someone please explain what "use of public funds" we are supposedly talking about?

AFAIK, Catholic hospitals are private and the only public funds provided are reimbursements for treating patients covered by public plans. In that event, I don't understand your problem with that. Would you prefer that they not accept patients covered by the government?

David said...

I am certain that if the unfortunate victim called the rape crisis line or a victim's advocate during the intitial report stage, they would be advised where the nearest sympathetic facility was located.

Why is the abortion issue the major platform in the Democratic Party? The abortion issue is cleverly ensconced in political correctness that prevents rational discussion of it. If you disagree with it, you are immediately branded as a "rapist by other means" as evidenced by the favorite phrase, "Keep your laws off my body!"

There are other issues to consider!

Pogo said...

Re: "But what about the public funds?"

The problem is, of course, that there is literaly no possible way to practice hospital medicine in the US without accepting public funds.

In essence, such a directive would mean that the government could demand a particular position be taken on abortion. In some states, this is demanded of pharmacists.

I wonder if this kind of decision ought to be coerced.

Buddy Larsen said...

So, for the hard left, re Catholic hospitals (as well everything else), it's "Rule or Ruin"? How very Kim Jong-il-ish.

AJ Lynch said...

The more I read from the Firedoglake blog, the more I think that blogger and its posters are coming unhinged.

And I don't view Lieberman's tactics to run as an independent if he loses the primary as any more unfair than what they did in new jersey with Torricelli and Lautenberg. Each instance violates the spirit of elections but not the law (apparently).

Patrick Martin said...

This demonstrates why many conservatives are very skeptical of private charities of any sort relying on taxpayer funding. He who pays the piper calls the tune. The more dependent on taxpayer funding a charity is, the less free it will be to follow its own religious and moral teachings, the more it will be a mere servant of the state. Those who demand a charity give up its principles in return for government funding are, in fact, furthering the abolishment of private charities.

And that's not even beginning to mention the hypocrisy of a leftist arguing to condition receipt of government funds on a violation of one's religious beliefs... Solomon, anyone?

Pogo said...

That said, I recognize the time limit required for successful use of abortiofacients like Mifeprex (the treatment I suspect is under discussion) limits a woman's options here, precisely when clear dispassionate thought is least likely. (And surely it adds insult to injury to tell someone to do this themselves in a moment of trauma.)

As a result, I can see how it would be simple to require treating hospitals to make arrangements for such care, but not provide it.

The Drill SGT said...


Re: "But what about the public funds?"


A couple of thoughts. (I am not Catholic, or even a practicing anything)

1. ER care is a money loser everywhere. period. The uninsured, illegals, etc. a money loser

2. Catholic "charity" hospitals are just that. Good works by the local church that are a net drain, like Catholic schools, but provided for the common good out of Christian charity

3. One can't be in the health care business without accepting government funds. They should turn away Medicare and Medicaid patients? Let the wailing begin now!!

4. Some people have religious scruples about various things. To the extent that the Catholic church provides supplemental care in the community, it serves a public good. I doubt that they are running hosptials with huge empty bed pools, or with expensive Cardiac care centers, but rather practicing main stream community care. what the community needs.

5. Like the recent case that forced the Catholic Adoption agency in Mass. to close over gay adoptions, attempts to legislate a set of morality into church affairs should be resisted.

6. Boxer is an idiot.

7. Whether I agree fully with Lieberman on this issue or not (and I do), I think he has a principled well thought out position that is defensible.

8. For the most part, Joe takes positions based on what he thinks is right, rather than how it Polls. And his sense of "right" is based on firm princples. We need more guys that politic that way, not fewer.

Amber said...

They are not talking about Mifeprex (RU-486). They are talking about Plan B, a high dose of hormones found in conventional birth control pills. Plan B has not been shown to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder what percentage of health care professionals in Catholic Hospitals are actually Catholic, or even more specifically, Catholics who strictly follow church teachings.

gj said...

Ann, you mischaracterize the situation when you describe it as part of the right to an abortion. Emergency contraception is a form of birth control, not a form of abortion.

The Catholic Church, as we all know, opposes both birth control and abortion.

I agree that the language used by FDL is offensive. But let's not confuse the issue by bringing in the abortion debate. To the extent there's a debate, it's about groups (like the Catholic Church) that want to restrict access to birth control.

(As an aside, this is another example where the left shows it's lameness at framing. If we talked about "Emergency Birth Control" rather than "Emergency Contraception" the debate would be much different. That's true, even though contraception and birth control are synonymous.)

Simon said...

Amber,
My understanding was that catholics had an objection to interfering in the conception process which reaches contraception (Plan B) as well as abortion (RU-486). If that is the case, doesn't that make the difference you draw nugatory?

sbutler said...

Just wondering: do you ever search for ugliness on the right? There's a huge amount of that, too. It is also ugly and detestable.

You could start with that other Ann.


Coulter is a joke. A 12 year old could refute most of her inflammatory arguments, so why should Althouse waste time on her blog?

FDL, I presume, is still taken seriously. That's why there's merit in this callout.

Ann Althouse said...

GJ: I did say "they want to follow their religion's teaching about contraception," but you're right that I kept mentioning abortion rights -- because that's the basis of the political interest groups FDL is referring to. Anyway, isn't it abortion to someone who believes life begins at conception? The egg is fertilized, so it's a human being with a soul to a Catholic, right? And the drug is designed to oust that soul from the body that would otherwise provide for it. Where is the line between contraception and abortion? The 'ception, it seems, is too late to "contra." Of course, many other forms of contraception come into question this way, something that many women may realize and feel quite bad after they've used a device that works this way.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jeff said...

Abortion supporters doing/saying something ugly?

No suprise there - they are supporting an ugly act to begin with.

CB said...

There are a lot of interesting--and tough--issues here; I'll address one: The entanglement problem here seems to come not from any alleged public funds, but from the fact that when someone calls 911, a government service, they might end up at a hospital that follows the dictates of a particular religious institution.

Here is a more blatant hypothetical: imagine being in a car accident, then, bleeding profusely, being taken by the ambulance to a hospital run by Jehovah's Witnesses, where they refuse to give you a blood transfusion. Should they be forced to violate their religious beliefs in order to meet your needs?

Simon said...

"The egg is fertilized, so it's a human being with a soul to a Catholic, right? And the drug is designed to oust that soul from the body that would otherwise provide for it. Where is the line between contraception and abortion?"

But as I indicated in my reply to Amber, above, catholics oppose contraception as well as abortion.

To me, the line is fertilization. Anything thereafter is abortion, and because it is impossible to say with any precision where life begins other than that it is not before conception, contraception is acceptable (indeed, is to be strongly encouraged) while abortion is not. Thus, while I'm happy to talk compromise (something the pro "choice" lobby is desparate to avoid), it bears noting that even allowing abortion in the first trimester is a compromise. It may or may not be an acceptable compromise, but a compromise it is.

(Sorry if this wanders a little off-topic, I'm kind of involved in two similar discussions in this area right now).

Todd said...

I wanted to see if there was more context to Lieberman's comments, but the post FDL links to doesn't actually address it, and you eventually have to get behind a registration wall at the New haven Register to find it. But the Register article doesn't say if he was quoted at a public appearance, was being interviewed, or what.

FDL used some ugly rhetoric prior to settling on "Rape Gurney Joe." In this post, it says Lieberman's stance on this means he supports rapist rights. I wonder if Boxer was shocked, not so much that people at YK wanted Lieberman to lose, but that they were willing to use such ugly rhetoric about a colleague of hers.

SippicanCottage said...
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Internet Ronin said...

SC: Wow! I'm glad you're back!

Al Maviva said...

I'm actually pretty thrilled about this.

I wish we'd get more blunt statements telling us exactly where the left stands on issues. Kos is right - before we have sweeping electoral victories, the left has to stand up and tell the nation exactly what it stands for. It has to strip away the niceities and phony polite rhetoric, and really fight and scrap. It has to show the country what it's made of before it earns big wins at the polls.

Of course the sweeping electoral victories big wins it earns will be for Republicans, but hey, you can't have everything, right?

I'm not a big fan of the swinish Republican party, but a vicious, utopian left seems to be storming the gates of the Democratic Party and rendering it ineffective both as an agent of neo-liberalism, and as an opposition party. The sooner the ranters are driven out of the center left, the sooner the Dems will have a chance to return to power. I don't find much to like in Dem policies, but somebody has to check the pork barreling Republicans.

P. Froward said...

in a recent poll 74% of Connecticut voters think that Catholic hospitals should have to provide this necessary treatment to rape victims or get out of the fucking emergency medical business.

Yeah, if a given medical procedure isn't widely-enough available, start closing hospitals.

That'll show 'em!

Buddy Larsen's right. This isn't about health care. This FDL mutant is simply driven frantic by the thought that somebody out there is permitted to disagree with her.

I wonder to what degree she wants the law to force people she identifies with to violate their most deeply held ethical convictions. I bet you she'd argue that her own views should be privileged over those of the "other".

CB said...

SippicanCottage,

Maybe the bookstore had to cut back on feng shui books to make room for books of Constitutionally-protected "virtual" child pornography.

Elizabeth said...

CB, that's a good analogy.

Contraception and abortion are legal. That is the position of our government, and if you want to call it coercion, so be it, but both are legal and should be available. The idea that pharmacists should be able to pick and choose what they will dispense, given a doctor's presecription, is ludicrous. Don't be a pharmacist if you feel the need to make judgments about what medicines people ingest.

Certainly, at least, if a hospital refuses to treat a rape patient fully, they ought to be required to arrange other treatment, and see to it that the patient is delivered hastily to a facility that will honor her rights. In fact, emergency vehicles ought to be instructed not to take rape patients to Catholic hospitals, and circumvent the problem altogether. I don't see the principled thougtfulness in "there's another hospital a short ride away," without Joe going into some detail as to how that short ride will be managed in the best interests of the crime victim.

Elizabeth said...

cb, I'm referring to your analogy on blood transfusions.

Pogo said...

CB: I disagree about the hypothetical. In fact, it would be impossible for such a hospital to receive accrediation and be permitted to operate.

Operating rooms without access to blood wouldn't be given a certifiate of need. Not providing certain services such as abortion is no the same as offering services but either not providing them or rendering poor quality.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Sisk said...

If Catholic hospitals "get out of the [beeping] emergency medical business" she would be in the same position as the hospital refusing the emergency contraception, i.e. that is looking for a different medical position.

Patrick Martin said...

Many continue to confuse their right to have something as somehow imposing on private entities an obligation to provide it to them.

The left wants to make all service facilities (shopping malls, hospitals, etc.) fundamentally "public", thereby imposing all sorts of obligations on the purely private owners of those institutions.

Elizabeth, you are fundamentally saying that all moral judgments regarding medications and health treatments must be made by the state, not the individual providers of such services (doctors, pharmacists). Is that really what you want? Is everything that is not prohibited thus mandated?

Suppose a pharmacist 5 years ago believed Vioxx to be harmful, despite its FDA approval. Is it your position that the pharmacist is REQUIRED to dispense it to any patient with a prescription, even if the pharmacist believes it will do harm? Must a doctor with the same misgivings about Vioxx prescribe it upon the patient's insistence, or may the doctor make his own judgment about the safety and effectiveness of the drug?

Jennifer said...

Elizabeth - I've never understood that logic - that pharmacists shouldn't be pharmacists if they won't do whatever you would like.

Would you teach a class on, say, Why Women Should Be Subjugated or Homosexuality is Depraved and Wrong? I'm sure you wouldn't. And you should have every right to stand down from teaching a class that absolutely goes against your beliefs.

I'm not grasping why you don't believe other professions should have the right to not violate their own ethics.

Al Maviva said...

Elizabeth, abortion is legal. Why should any doctor be permitted to refuse it on the basis of conscience?

Similarly, there is a right to commit suicide with a physician's assistance in some places. Why should a doctor be permitted to refuse somebody's request to kill themself, if it is a legal right?

Likewise, a defense attorney performs a legal task too, in defending clients, the use of an attorney's services being another right guaranteed by the constitution. Why should any attorney be permitted to decline to represent a child raping mass murderer, or perhaps Ken Lay, or maybe Henry Kissinger when he is eventually brought to trial in Spain?

ignacio said...

Thanks to Sippican Cottage for the stats on how many rape patients in Connecticut per year. I say this because I worked in a busy innercity ER for seven years and can scarcely remember it ever coming up.

Maybe rape as such would be first be defined in contact with law enforcement and their specialists, I don't know. We certainly saw and dealt with a fair number of children beaten or abused by their parents or women beaten by their husbands or trauma of every conceivable variety.

I just don't remember being presented with more than a very few rape victims as such. It was extremely rare.

(This was not, by the way, a hospital affiliated with any religion or church.)

When I watched (as a lifelong Democrat) the 2003 Democratic Presidential candidate debates, Lieberman was booed and hissed every single time it was his turn to speak, before he ever opened his mouth.

Was this because of Catholic hospitals and rape victims in Connecticut?

Nonsense.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe I'm cynical, but I suspect if providing after-rape drugs to a crime victim were in any way profitable, the hospitals would not shy away from doing it. If (When?) a ground-breaking cardiac treatment arises from stem-cell work, will Catholic Hospitals refuse to use them because of their stand on human stem cells? How that evolves will be interesting to follow.

Pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control pills and similar medicines have always struck me at best as similar to people who buy houses next to airports and then complain about the noise.

Elizabeth said...

if they won't do whatever you would like. -- gee, Jennifer, I'm not asking them to spin on their heads and sing me a little song. I want them to fill prescriptions issued by doctors. What's so unfair about that? Why should people who've been to their physicians and received treatment then face the moral judgment of a pharmacist, and perhaps not receive the medical treatment they need? Your analogy is inane. And if I were hired by a Catholic university, I would indeed be subject to their ethics, and if I couldn't force myself to stick to the dogma, I'd have to quit.

You also confuse personal and professional ethics. The ethics of the profession is to fill prescriptions. If your personal ethics preclude filling some prescriptions, then there's a clash between your work and your beliefs. It's perfectly reasonable of states to require that pharmacies issue prescriptions. There is certainly room for allowing a particular pharmacist to pass the prescription over to a collegue, but I don't see why any patient should have to roam from store to store until he or she finds a pharmacist that doesn't morally object to the prescribed medical treatment.

CB said...

Pogo,
What do you disagree with? Your comment seems to support my hypo. The state would say to the JWs, "you provide the care that we as a society have determined to be appropriate, even if it violates your religious beliefs, or we won't license you." Why could the same not be done to the Catholics? Though it's a much closer question, our society has determined that appropriate care of a rape victim includes giving her emergency contraception, just as appropriate care of a trauma victim includes blood transfusion.

Elizabeth,
I'm assuming your 11:01 post was to distinguish my blood transfusion analogy from my mention of virtual child pornography, but there is a comparison to be drawn there, too. Suppose you own a bookstore, and a customer orders a book of virtual child pornography. Though it is legal, and Constitutionally protected, it is repugnant to your morals, so you refuse to order it. Can the customer then demand that you not let your beliefs interfere with your job, or get out of the book business?

Elizabeth said...

Al, pharmacies are a single-stop providor of medications. Doctors have specialties. If I went to an abortion clinic, I'd expect they had hired a doctor willing to do the procedure. I don't expect a "we'll dispences what we approve of" at a pharmacy.

If I'm appointed an attorney, and he doesn't want my case, the city or state appoints another one. I don't know enough about the process, but I expect the attorney has to make a case for why he's dropping out. A private attorney is a different issue, but again, it's not like you show up at an office with a prescription for legal help. It's not an apt analogy.

Thorley Winston said...

Elizabeth - I've never understood that logic - that pharmacists shouldn't be pharmacists if they won't do whatever you would like.

Pretty much, don’t be surprised when the argument turns to physicians and hospitals that refuse to perform non-therapeutic abortions. We’ve already heard calls from some pro-abortion zealots to try to force medical schools and students to train on the procedure even though many have decided to opt out.

Elizabeth said...

cb, I just don't see the comparison between buying books, and needing an emergency procedure or medication. There's no compelling need for the book, and a competitor can provide it. Surely you don't mean to equate the situation of a woman who has been raped, or even who has had consensual sex, and requires emergency contraception with someone looking for a book.

Elizabeth said...

thorley, if med schools don't teach the procedure, how will women receive safe, therapeutic abortions? Do we just say, too bad, you have a tubal pregnancy. Let's hope it doesn't rupture!

ignacio said...

The thread got partisan real fast. As someone who knows all about ERs I was thinking it over and remembering rape kits and the counselors we would call... and BAM! elizabeth and jacques/quxxo are off on nasty tangents just like that.

How many straw men can you create within ten minutes? I guess that's a rhetorical skill of some sort. Because you're not exactly seeking to shed any light on the topic, are you?

MadisonMan said...

Thorley (or someone else): Are the medical procedures for a therapeutic abortion substantially different from those of a non-therapeutic one? Can you really train for one and not the other?

Al Maviva said...

Ignacio, what is a light bulb, really? I mean, if you have a lot of them, they aren't light at all. So your attack on me is completely off point. And what is bulbous? While a light bulb is bulbous in one respect, it's spherical if you look at it from another direction. So your arguments don't hold much water.

Elizabeth said...

ignacio, pray tell, what "nasty tangent" did I raise, and how does my tone in any way compare with quoxo? I think you simply equate "nasty" with having something to say with which you disagree. Simpleminded, that. And nasty.

Elizabeth said...

The abortion topic isn't what this thread is about, and it's obviously turning in that direction. No one here doesn't have a firm stand, and no one's going to change anyone else's mind. I'm interested in the question of whether Leibeman's response to the issue of emergency contraception is sufficient, or dismissive (I find his response dismissive) and how voters in CT might respond to him, versus how fellow senators are responding. I'm not as interested in whether people at firedoglake or any other blog use some bad words in their posts--that's become a tiresome, and boring, criticism.

Aspasia M. said...

The egg is fertilized, so it's a human being with a soul to a Catholic, right?

Plan B works by stopping ovulation.

That's why it is not 100% effective. That's why it needs to be taken very soon to be at it's most effective.

A very small proportion of eggs may be fertilized and not implant because of the changes to the uterus. If, however, this is a part of your religious beliefs, you should be concerned about the small, small chance of this happening with your birth control pills.

Plan B is the equivalent of taking several birth control pills.

That is why women can and do use their every day birth control pills as a substitute for Plan B.

FYI: If you are going to do this check with your doctor to make sure you are using the right type of birth control pills.

Jennifer said...

I don't think the "its a short ride" rhetoric is as ugly as you do. So, I think his position is moderate and will ultimately be accepted by the average Joe. UNLESS, the opposition manages to spin it into being anti-abortion, anti-contraception and anti-women. That's a likely problem for Lieberman.

Ultimately, I think average people understand that not all hospitals are equipped to provide all procedures. There is no backlash against that. Practically speaking, there is very little difference between being able to provide a procedure and choosing to provide a procedure.

So, the average person is not likely to feel that hospitals should be FORCED to provide all procedures that one set of the population define as a RIGHT.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pogo said...

Re: "the care that we as a society have determined to be appropriate"
"Legal" and "appropriate" are not equivalent terminology in Medicine. The long and short term health care problems arising from abortiofacients demand medical judgement.
"May" does not equal "must".


Re: "I find his response dismissive"
It's as dismissive as the name "Rape Gurney Joe", an epiuthet that doesn't suggest the desire for a well-reasoned discussion. Is anyone on the left or right able to discuss this without drawing lines in the sand? No, not while we live under Roe.

Re: "whether people at firedoglake or any other blog use some bad words in their posts--that's become a tiresome, and boring, criticism"
The inability to remain civil illustrates something not quite right about Lieberman's opposition, a fact I do not find tiring. And to hear it so stated repeatedly, well, like any bad behavior, ignoring it doesn't always lead to its extinction. Sometimes shame is appropriate.

Hey! A lesson in friendship from a stalker. Great.

Aspasia M. said...

I'm kind of disturbed that so many educated people are unaware that birth control pills can be used as emergency contraception.

And, of course, I recommend talking to your doctor.

But the following are the brand name birth control pills that are used for emergency contraception:


Plan B and other progestin-only ECPs can be taken in one dose or in two doses, 12 hours apart. Combined hormone ECPs must be taken in two doses, 12 hours apart. The sooner they are started, the better. ECPs reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75-89 percent when the first dose is taken within 72 hours. ECPs will not affect an existing pregnancy.


Pill Brand Manufacturer 1st Dose 2nd Dose (12 hrs later)
Progestin-only Pills
Ovrette® Wyeth-Ayerst 20 yellow pills 20 yellow pills
or 40 yellow pills in one dose
Plan B® Barr 1 white pill 1 white pill
or 2 white pills in one dose
Combination Hormone Pills
Alesse® Wyeth-Ayerst 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Aviane® Duramed 5 orange pills 5 orange pills
Cryselle® Barr 4 white pills 4 white pills
Enpresse® Barr 4 orange pills 4 orange pills
Lessina® Barr 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Levlen® Berlex 4 light orange pills 4 light orange pills
Levlite® Berlex 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Levora® Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills
Lo/Ovral® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 white pills 4 white pills
LowOgestrel® Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills
LuteraTM Watson 5 white pills 5 white pills
Nordette® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 light orange pills 4 light orange pills
Ogestrel® Watson 2 white pills 2 white pills
Ovral® Wyeth-Ayerst 2 white pills 2 white pills
Portia® Barr 4 pink pills 4 pink pills
Seasonale® Barr 4 pink pills 4 pink pills
Tri-Levlen® Berlex 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills
Triphasil® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills
Trivora® Watson 4 pink pills 4 pink pills


With a regular 28-pill birth control pack, use any of the first 21 pills for emergency contraception. Don't use the last seven pills in a 28-day pack. They are only reminder pills that contain no hormones. With Enpresse, use only the orange ones. With Triphasil or Tri-Levlen, use only the yellow ones. With Trivora, use only the pink ones.

------------------


I'm really surprised that people draw such a strong line between birth control pills and Plan B -- when they do the same thing, in a medical sense to prevent pregnancy.

Number me confused about this thread.

Aspasia M. said...

The long and short term health care problems arising from abortiofacients demand medical judgement


So - are you talking about birth control pills here?

I assume you are medically concerned about birth control pills. Yes? Or are you talking about something else?

Gak. I don't understand this. Are you people confusing RU 486 with Plan B?

Henry said...

CB, What if you had a bad accident and were taken to a Christian Scientist reading room?

Ann Althouse said...

Elizabeth: "I'm not as interested in whether people at firedoglake or any other blog use some bad words in their posts--that's become a tiresome, and boring, criticism."

And that is a bogus criticism. I'm not objecting to "bad words," I'm highlighting over-the-top rhetoric and the display of anger and ugliness that is alienating to nonextremists. I'm talking about political style and political ideas not being prudish about language. The attempt to pin prudery on me is a rhetorical move of yours. You're "bored" with the criticisms? I think the criticisms hurt, and I intend to continue.

Tim Sisk said...

In my previous comment: should read different medical facility not medical position (I'm not even sure what that means).

Elizabeth said...

Practically speaking, there is very little difference between being able to provide a procedure and choosing to provide a procedure.

It's a pill, not a procedure, so it's all about choice, practically speaking. I also think women are perfectly capable of deciding what they think of Leiberman's stance without blaming "spin" for the results.

Elizabeth said...

geoduck, so long as you don't ask us to number you as fucking confused, I guess you're on safe ground.

Elizabeth said...

I understand your distinction, Ann, and agree that in the main discourse, that moniker will turn people off. Your point about that was specific, and focused on how it affects the success of making an argument against Leiberman.

What I'm bored by is a longtime, continual theme among some commenters here who are self-righteous about the appearance of some curse words in some leftist blogs or their comments sections.

Jennifer said...

It's a pill, not a procedure, so it's all about choice, practically speaking. I also think women are perfectly capable of deciding what they think of Leiberman's stance without blaming "spin" for the results.

I should have used the term service. I was making a comparison between hospitals that aren't ABLE to provide a full spectrum of services and hospitals that CHOOSE not to. There is no difference on the receiving end WHY a hospital isn't providing a service that you want.

Are only women voting for Lieberman? I wasn't aware of that. Is your argument that political spin doesn't affect any voters? Or just doesn't affect women?

You might notice that the bulk of my response to your solicitation was how voters would react to his position on its merits. I only mentioned spin as a possible issue.

Simon said...

Elizabeth:
"Contraception and abortion are legal. That is the position of our government, and if you want to call it coercion, so be it, but both are legal and should be available. The idea that pharmacists should be able to pick and choose what they will dispense, given a doctor's presecription, is ludicrous."

I think your understanding of the term "legal" is a little tenuous. "Legal" simply means "permitted to be available", not "must be sold at every possible outlet." The upshot of your theory is that a private business can be coerced into selling products they don't want to sell. Pornography is legal - can I sue WalMart for not selling it? The Chicago Tribune is legal, but neither of the gas stations near my house sell it - why not? It's legal, it should be available. The idea that gas stations should be able to pick and choose which newspapers they want to sell is ludicrous.

Patrick Martin said...

Elizabeth, you have ignored my question about whether a pharmacist has an obligation to dispense Vioxx (back when it was legally on the market) based on his belief that Vioxx was, despite Merck-funded studies to the contrary, dangerous to the patient.

Do you believe that a doctor had an obligation to prescribe Vioxx to any patient in pain who wanted it, and do you then believe that a pharmacist had an absolute professional obligation to dispense the Vioxx prescribed, regardless of the pharmacists own beliefs about its safety and efficacy?

P. Froward said...

So how about kids who refuse to dissect animals in class? How about civil disobedience?

It's nice to hear that lefties now have, and (as of last month) always did have, an eternal, unvarying principle (until later this afternoon, when a different issue comes up) that everybody must always obey the rules, regardless of their personal ethical position.

Naturally, lots of other people have an equal amount of exactly complementary explaining to do.

Elizabeth said...

Patrick, I didn't see your question, so thanks for repeating it. I don't see the standards of safety and personal morality as being equal. I don't think it likely that individual pharmacists would decide to fill or not fill Vioxx prescriptions, but that the corporations (Walgreens, etc.) would decide not to stock it and make that decision known. And if pharmacies are not stocking an unsafe drug, wouldn't that create a movement among doctors to not prescribe it, for the same reasons? What I oppose is the randomness of pharmacists deciding to not fill prescriptions for drugs because they disapprove of the behaviors, or imagined behaviors, that lead to someone coming to their counter with a prescription for the drug. Doctors prescribe drugs, pharmacies stock and dispense them. They're licensed to do this, they have professional ethics guiding them, and if their personal ethics conflict with the job, I think they should consider a change.

stealthlawprof said...

Maybe I am off-base here, but what strikes me as particularly interesting about this post, the later one about John Kerry's non-endorsement, and some of the criticisms of our esteemed hostess is how effectively a significant portion of the Democratic Party works to offend, attack, and even demonize centrist moderates (among whom I include our hostess). I do not believe Ann is a conservative (nor do I believe she regards herself as one). Her views are a mix -- the very essence of a centrist. Yet, here we have a discussion of abortion/the right to choice, an issue on which the left should be able to appeal to her. But they have not; in fact they do not even pretend to try. Philosophical purity has its place in politics, but in a two party system, the two major parties must be capable of making the compromises needed to form electoral majorities. The Republicans are no angels, but they do appear more capable of allowing dissent and civil discussion -- and therefore are likely to continue to be viewed as more capable of governing.

Al Maviva said...

Annn I share your position on trying to keep the rhetoric civil, but I think for a lot on the more radical fringes, the language is the politics, and vice versa. Neo-marxists argue ad infinitum that the use of language in an out-of-bounds manner is a form of resistance to the capitalist patriarchy's hegemony, and furthermore (fill in excruciatingly boring left wing boilerplate touting bad manners as a tool to smash capitalism here).

The loudest calls in the fever swamp are for Dems who can fight, calling people "Rape Gurney Joe" or "Hitler" is apparently not enough fight for them. I suspect they'd really approve of somebody who could take a cane to Bill Frist's head on the Senate floor, which would put the Fighting Dem in the company of some other well known Fighting Dems. I suspect even then you'd still hear disappointment that the cane wasn't a baseball bat or a shotgun, but the grudging admission that "it's a good start." The language is the politics, or at least a good, clear expression of it. It's not rhetoric, it is what the speaker actuallly believes. Give him some credit for speaking truth to... someone.

Tom C said...

Oh yes, P. Froward, and "righties" are all, always, consistent in their positions. Hmmm.

I simply can't imagine that the people who write such angry blather actually interact with human beings in this way. It seems to me that there are always people who are going to support, or oppose, someone no matter what tortured logic is required (the consistency is in the support) and people who are going to try to be consistent with their positions, and vary on individuals they support. (NOTE: the people who bring religion into politics are usually found here. It's hard to argue when someone says, "God told me")

Calling people who disagree with your positions a name is not the same as refuting them. Putting idiocy in their mouths and then refuting your own idiocy is right out of Rhetoric 101. Firedoglake did it, and Ann called them out. Now half the posters here are doing the same thing. Sheesh.

Al Maviva said...

If a Doctor with a license from the state prescribes it, then it is the job and ethical duty of a pharmacist with a license from the state to distribute it.

No room for conscientious objection on moral grounds in your world, eh, Jacques?

Elizabeth said...

Jennifer, good point. My position is that I think CT voters will make up their minds, and the spin will as usual be part of the noise of the election, not the substance.

p. froward, doesn't civil disobedience come with consequences?

Would you support a priest who decided to hell with this confessional confidentiality; I don't like what this guy just confessed to and I'm going to the cops, or his wife, or his employer, to rat him out? There are different standards that come with different callings.

Aspasia M. said...

The idea that pharmacists should be able to pick and choose what they will dispense, given a doctor's presecription, is ludicrous."

I agree.

And I think it is insensitive in the extreme to tell a rape victim that she must transfer to another hospital if she wishes emergency contraception. At the minimum the hospital should allow the nurse trained in how to collect rape evidence to dispense emergency contraception.

(Which by the way, is recommended to be over the counter by the FDA. And emergency contraception is over the counter in Washington State.)

I really wonder if all these people saying it is an "abortion" have ever used the birth control pill or had a significant other who has used the birth control pill that do the same work as emergency contraception. (The the many brand names on my earlier comment.)

You may need to think about the ideological consistency of your views.

Ann Althouse said...

geoduck--"Are you people confusing RU 486 with Plan B?"

Well, what is the Connecticut bill about? I'm not seeing news stories discussing this.

In any case, the Catholic scruple is against both contraception and abortion. I didn't mean to derail the discussion over the distinction of whether the medication produces an abortion.

Elizabeth said...

Simon, I'm just not following the comparison of medical treatment to magazines. I don't need a newspaper to maintain my health, but I might require estrogen to control bleeding, or a contraceptive, on schedule, to prevent pregnancy. I think our health system would be out of control if we accepted a do-as-you-like approach, with no regulation and oversight, including making sure patients can fill the prescriptions needed to maintain their health.

Pogo said...

Clearly, on Iraq and a small sub-sub-section of abortion, the left has taken certain non-negotiable positions. They are ready to expel their former VP candidate on those grounds.

Is the strategy to shore up that base, which is smaller than the whole of the Democratic party, which was not large enough to gain the Presidency, and expel the remainder?

Do they think that will be a winning local and national strategy?

Aspasia M. said...

I worry that there seems to be confusion about how the birth control pill and/or how the reproductive system works in co-ordination with the birth control pill.


Anything given that early has to be emergency contraception. (Plan B or several birth control pills.)

RU486 isn't given until about 6 weeks into the pregnancy.

(The active agent in Plan B operates in the same way as the birth control pill. In fact - Plan B is a concentracted birth control pill.)

CB said...

What the hell is a "rape gurney," anyway?

Pogo said...

Re: "I'm just not following the comparison of medical treatment to magazines."

The comparison is just meant to demonstrate that "may" does not equal "must" when granted a license to practice.

The downstream effect of changing that policy, to equate may with must, would be, in my view, deletirious. The actual number of people affected here is small, and there are other options than the single hospital to which one is brought.

But coercing such conformity would inevitably push some hospitals away from providing emergency services for everyone (usually the poor, who use ER services disproportionately).

One must be careful to avoid letting perfect be enemy of the good.

Pogo said...

Re: "I worry that there seems to be confusion about "

Your problem is answered once you consider the issue of "intent".
Intent divides these acts in a way you eem not to be aware of..

dave said...

I think it is insensitive in the extreme to tell a rape victim that she must transfer to another hospital if she wishes emergency contraception. At the minimum the hospital should allow the nurse trained in how to collect rape evidence to dispense emergency contraception.

Ann doesn't.

'Nuff said.

Aspasia M. said...

Sorry to get off topic - but I was worried that people didn't understand how the birth control pill worked.

On rhetoric:

The rhetoric from Firedoglake isn't geared towards a majority of the population. It's geared towards a small base of activists. And this particular rhetoric is red meat for the base.

You can see how the red meat to the base works on the right, also. For example, the Christian Coallition is an example of a activist organization that is fired up by particular issues.

(Or, for example, see conservative talk radio in the election of 1994 as an example of how throwing "red meat" to the base helps to organize and create more intensity in the upcomming election among a relatively small population when compared to the "moderate" population at large.)

The bases then operate within the political parties in a particular fashion. But their political "job" is not to be moderate. Their job is to activate and organize their base - who then work as the foot soldiers in volunteering for elections, donating money, ect.

dave said...

The actual number of people affected here is small, and there are other options than the single hospital to which one is brought.

What about "emergency" in the term "emergency room" don't idiots like you understand?

Patrick Martin said...

Elizabeth, so the pharmacist is not entitled to a professional belief that live begins at conception, and that he is violating his oath if he dispenses a pill intended to take a life in such manner?

There were quite a few safety concerns over Ru-486 a few years back. What if the pharmacist (or Walgreens-- odd to see someone on the left of the spectrum arguing for greater rights for corporations than individuals) sincerely believed the studies showing such negative health effects? Would he be allowed to refuse to dispense the drug on safety grounds, or would you argue that his safety concerns were a pretext for his moral beliefs?

In a larger sense, what right and power do you or the government have to force someone, professional or not, to act against their moral principles? I really don't think it is possible to separate safety/scientific concerns for moral ones.

Let me ask you this: Capital punishment by lethal injection is legal in many states. Can a doctor be forced by the state, over his moral objections, to participate in the execution by inserting the IV lines? Could a particular pharmacist be forced to dispense the drugs to the prison for that purpose?

Aspasia M. said...

Your problem is answered once you consider the issue of "intent".
Intent divides these acts in a way you eem not to be aware of..


Pogo:

A rape victim does not have any idea if she is pregnant. The primary way that B.C. and Plan B works is by Preventing Ovulation.

A married couple who is using B.C. likewise does not know if the B.C. has failed to prevent ovulation and worked by also making the uterus inhospitable to the zygote.

Why should a rape victim refuse to repress her ovulation?

Why does the act of taking a pill that supresses her ovaries make her more immoral then a married couple who regularly uses BC?

Aspasia M. said...

There were quite a few safety concerns over Ru-486 a few years back.

Gak! RU486 is not Plan B!

The first dose of RU486 is given by the doctor and it is swallowed in the doctor's office.

I really think we need better sex education in this country.
--------------------

On pharmacies:

It is ok for people working at pharmacies to refuse to give out birth control pills?

It sounds like these pharacists want to take away the power of doctors.

Most women would be annoyed if they couldn't get their prescriptions filled. And rightly so.

It's the doctor's buisness to write a prescription.

Pogo said...

Re: "What about "emergency" in the term "emergency room" don't idiots like you understand?"

Abortion and contraception aren't considered medical emegencies, unless I missed that class in med school.

Re: "Why does the act of taking a pill that supresses her ovaries make her more immoral"
It's complicated. Strictly speaking, Catholics oppose OCPs as well as emergency contraception and abortion. All are felt to be wrong. The degree of immorality has to do with intent. If my wife misses a pill and becomes pregnant, we are supposed to accept that and raise the child, rahter than abort it. Emergency contraception isn't about "timing" pregnancies at all; it's about negating the possibility.

P.S. This isn't my belief, but I know the argument pretty well.

Jennifer said...

Most women would be annoyed if they couldn't get their prescriptions filled.

The right to not be annoyed is quite clearly outlined in the constitution. And, frankly, should trump any and all other considerations.

Pogo said...

Pharmacists do a little more than dispense pills, but you are welcome to dispute that. However, what you lose in opting for a pill vending machine in place of a thinking human is very great.

Be careful of what you're proposing here.

Coco said...

Clearly, on Iraq and a small sub-sub-section of abortion, the left has taken certain non-negotiable positions. They are ready to expel their former VP candidate on those grounds.

Is the strategy to shore up that base, which is smaller than the whole of the Democratic party, which was not large enough to gain the Presidency, and expel the remainder?

Do they think that will be a winning local and national strategy?"

Doesn't seem like it would be, but what do I know. I didn't think it would work for the right either but it has.

Aspasia M. said...

If my wife misses a pill and becomes pregnant, we are supposed to accept that and raise the child, rahter than abort it. Emergency contraception isn't about "timing" pregnancies at all; it's about negating the possibility.

If your wife misses a pill (or doesn't take it at the same time each day) this raises the small, small possibility that the uterus will reject a fertilized egg.

How can taking the birth control pill while having coitus sex be non-intentional?

Plan B works to prevent ovulation. Plan B does the same thing as Birth Control pills. That the rape victim takes a pill that prevents her ovaries from ovulating. Thus, in most cases the sperm from the rapist is unable to ferilize anything, because her eggs do not leave her ovaries.

Why must the women take a pill prior to the presence of sperm to be moral, if taking a pill after the fact, in a larger dose, will repress her ovulation?
--------------

By the way - I understand that the Catholic theological position is ideologically consistent. But it sounds to me like many Americans, who are taking the BC pill, are not themselves consistent about Plan B.

Simon said...

Elizabeth said...
"Simon, I'm just not following the comparison of medical treatment to magazines. I don't need a newspaper to maintain my health, but I might require estrogen to control bleeding, or a contraceptive, on schedule, to prevent pregnancy."

I don't see what's so difficult to follow. A newspaper vendor and a pharmacist are both private enterprises that sell certain products. If Walgreens can decide which magazines it will and will not sell, and can decide which dietary supplements it will and will not sell, and if it can decide which non-prescription drugs it will and will not sell, what is the logic by why you claim that they should be compelled to sell prescription drugs? They are a private business; they either do or do not have a right to choose what they sell and at what price, and that principle applies to all products. The logic of your position appears to be that you should be able to walk into a Burger King and order a McRib. Why shouldn't BK sell you anything you want that's legal?

As Pat said, you seem "to confuse [your] right to have something as somehow imposing on private entities an obligation to provide it to [you]."


"It is ok for people working at pharmacies to refuse to give out birth control pills? It sounds like these pharacists want to take away the power of doctors. It's the doctor's buisness to write a prescription."

It is the doctor's business to write a prescription, but it is a pharmacy's prerogative to sell or not to sell the products of its choice. Suppose a patient comes in with a legitimate doctor prescription for medical marijuana - must the store carry marijuana?

Aspasia M. said...

However, what you lose in opting for a pill vending machine in place of a thinking human is very great.

Be careful of what you're proposing here.


I get my medical information from my doctor, not the pharmasist.

I've never relied on a pharamsist for medical information when choosing a medicine. Does anyone ask their pharmasist advice when they are selecting a particular medicine?

Let's say you need a blood pressure medicine.

Who will you ask for advice when deciding between, say, a calcium channel blocker and a beta blocker: your doctor or your pharmacy?

If your pharmacist has a different opinion from your doctor - do you listen to it?

Now, a pharmasist may be helpful when telling customers to, say, take a pill with a meal.

Pogo said...

Re: "But it sounds to me like many Americans, who are taking the BC pill, are not themselves consistent about Plan B. "

Again, it's a matter of degree, and intent. They seem logically inconsistent to you, but this isn't about logic. It's about feelings, which canot be quantified, enumerated, or defended.

One action seems worse than the other. Why? It just does; they seem to many people to be a progression along a curve towards wrongfulness.
Not good enough an explanation? Sorry, that's humanity for you.

Aspasia M. said...

It is the doctor's business to write a prescription, but it is a pharmacy's prerogative to sell or not to sell the products of its choice. Suppose a patient comes in with a legitimate doctor prescription for medical marijuana - must the store carry marijuana?

Has the FDA approved it? No.

You have your answer.
--------------

Let's say somebody has diabetes - and gets a prescription for insulin.

Is it moral for a pharmacist to refuse to prescribe the insult because the pharmacist has recently converted to Christian Science?

Why or why not?

Why should the state have an obligation to license people as pharacists if they will not fulfill their duties as a pharmacist?

A pharmacy is licenced by the state - it is not a fully private entity.

Pogo said...

Re: " get my medical information from my doctor, not the pharmasist."

You myay be surprised to learn how often your MD gets information from the pharmacist. And how many times he/she has saved his/ her behind.

Aspasia M. said...

Again, it's a matter of degree, and intent. They seem logically inconsistent to you, but this isn't about logic. It's about feelings, which canot be quantified, enumerated, or defended.

So we agree that both logically and theologically there is no moral difference.

I'm fine with people having emotional beliefs.

But let's not pretend that they are logically or theologically consistent with a moral philosophy.

Aspasia M. said...

You myay be surprised to learn how often your MD gets information from the pharmacist. And how many times he/she has saved his/ her behind.

pffft. My doctor and I looked up information in the blue book and research together on the web when choosing medicine for migraines.

If you'd rather trust your pharmacist, that's fine. But my doctor is much more "up" on the research and, gets feedback from his patients about pills.
----------------

Anyways: Plan B is already over the counter in Washington State.

Conn. should just make it an over the counter pill and put an end to this nonsense.

Pogo said...

Re: So we agree that both logically and theologically there is no moral difference."

No, not at all. The "intent" is a theological argument; it cannot be quantified.

Re: "If you'd rather trust your pharmacist, that's fine."
It's not either/or, it's both/and. Belts and suspenders. Safety redundancies. But nevermind that, geoduck will look it up for you in the blue book. (...except it's red this year).

Aspasia M. said...

ok - one last thing because I'm a little worried people don't understand how birth control works with a woman's period.

Think about how a doctor can use the birth control pill to repress a woman's period. A doctor can do this before a big event, like a wedding & honeymoon.

The birth control pill can be used to move a woman's cycle out of her ordinary cycle. That's how Plan B works.

ok - now I have to go get work done.

Coco said...

SOme state pharmacy boards (via state legislature edict) (and perhaps the national organization) do have moral clauses allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense a script. However, I think they are all obligated to refer the customer to another pharmacist that will fill the script. There have been some reported incidents (but only a few this extreme) in which pharmacists refused to dispense birth control pills, would not refer and would not even return the script. Cases like those are usually disciplined by their state pharmacy boards.

P. Froward said...

Elizabeth,

Would you support a priest who decided to hell with this confessional confidentiality; I don't like what this guy just confessed to and I'm going to the cops, or his wife, or his employer, to rat him out?

That's not a great example, because it's not often that a priest's job is in conflict with his religion.

There are cases where people have a conflict between two different standards of conduct — two different systems of standards. There will be conflicts between any two codes of conduct: Between the laws of God and those of man, or between honor and the UCMJ, or between party loyalty and patriotism, or whatever.

To pretend to have a general answer to this class of problems is to miss the point completely. If your "general answer" is "do what I say, damn you!", that's just ridiculous.

Aspasia M. said...

No, not at all. The "intent" is a theological argument; it cannot be quantified.

Well, you're not talking about it in terms of Catholic theology if you're ok with birth control pills. Because they, too repress ovulation and make the uterus inhospitable to zygotes.

But nevermind that, geoduck will look it up for you in the blue book.

Oh no, I would insist that you follow the recommendation of your doctor.

When do you have these long discussions with your pharmacist anyways? I drop off a script and can pick it up in the drive through at Walgreens.

Pogo said...

Re: "..with no regulation and oversight, including making sure patients can fill the prescriptions needed to maintain their health"


I share some of the same concerns, Elizabeth. To me, again, it's a matter of where to draw the line, rather than whether to do so.

I'd point out that some pharmacies in poor inner city neighborhoods refuse to stock narcotics because of how often they've been broken into. This causes untold grief for the poor, elderly and disabled of the neighborhood who struggle to get their pain meds filled.

But should said pharmacies be required to stock them, regardless?

Kathy said...

My sister is a doctor. She works with several doctors, none Catholic, who do not prescribe birth control pills because they can, in some cases, allow an egg to be fertilized but then prevent implantation. Certainly many people do not understand that birth control pills work this way, but don't assume *everyone* is unaware. Should these doctors be forced to prescribe birth control pills? They don't make a secret of it, so if you have a problem with it you can go to another doctor.

I think with pharmacists the advent of the big chain pharmacies has made us think of the pharmacist as a pill-dispensing machine as someone mentioned. I have friends who *do* get their medical advice from the pharmacist, and that used to be quite common in the past.

MadisonMan said...

What the hell is a "rape gurney," anyway?

I think you're supposed to visualize the rape victim being wheeled from Hospital to Hospital on a gurney, searching in vain for the Hospital that will dispense the post-rape drrug she needs. Ludicrous.

Or maybe Rape Gurney Joe is a command?

Coco said...

I'd point out that some pharmacies in poor inner city neighborhoods refuse to stock narcotics because of how often they've been broken into. This causes untold grief for the poor, elderly and disabled of the neighborhood who struggle to get their pain meds filled.

But should said pharmacies be required to stock them, regardless?"

I don't disagree fundamentally with what I think is pogo's line of thinking on this issue but this analogy doesn't quite work. The pharmacy that's getting broken into becuase of narcotics is just trying to stay in business, protect its other customers and deter lawlessness - none of which are at issue in the abortion pill example.

Pogo said...

Re: "...none of which are at issue in the abortion pill example."

Sorry for being unclear. I meant to point out that there are many reasons a pharmacy might refuse to fill a prescription for a legal substance. Moral differences, theft, cost, rarity, among others.

As I said "may" does not imply "must", and we should be very careful in redefining a profession into little more than a vending machine.

P.S. geoducK: Walgreens having deleted the services of a pharmacist's training isn't a plus for you.

Thorley Winston said...

Why should the state have an obligation to license people as pharacists if they will not fulfill their duties as a pharmacist?

Answer: to ensure that those who are licensed are professionally competent to carry out their duties much the same way States license physicians, attorneys, et al but don’t generally impose an affirmative obligation on them to provide services that they morally disagree with nor do they require those who are still licensed but not employed to perform any duties.

A pharmacy is licenced by the state - it is not a fully private entity.

Now that’s just silly. You don’t sacrifice your status as a private individual merely because you’re required to be licensed by the State to carry out your vocation in the State any more than your automobile is no longer private property and can be searched without probable cause because you have a driver’s license.

Elizabeth said...

Patrick, I don't go to a pharmacist for advice on my health, I go to a physician for that. If my physician prescribes something, then that's who I'm going to trust. As for the morality/safety issue, I doubt the safety aspect is very much at play in the few instances where pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions. Those refusals are moral, and based on disapproval of behavior, of women not wanting to become pregnant or being a pregnancy to term.

Are you in favor of having no consequences for soldiers who decide, after enlisting, that they don't like war and won't fight? Should they be allowed to remain in the military? Or should they resign, and find another job that meets their conscience? Should the Catholic Church not be able to defrock priests who decide its against their conscience to refuse to conduct marriage ceremonies for gay couples? There are expectations for certain jobs; we're free to decide that those expectations conflict with our morals, but what then? The answer isn't a one-size fits all solution, apparently.

Simon said...

geoduck2 said...
"[Regarding whether must the store carry marijuana] - Has the FDA approved it? No. You have your answer."

That's an exceedingly cheap attempt to avoid the question.


"Why should the state have an obligation to license people as pharacists if they will not fulfill their duties as a pharmacist? A pharmacy is licenced by the state - it is not a fully private entity."

I agree that the state can impose requirements on businesses, including conditions of licensing them. But absent an imperative to dispense any medication supported by a legitimate prescription, which no one contends CT requires to certify a pharmacy - that gets you no where.

Internet Ronin said...

Solve the problem - make it available OTC. Put it on the rack next the condoms and personal lubricant.

Elizabeth said...

Pogo, I'm happy to get information from a pharmacist, but not a judgment call on what's moral for me to take in concern for my health or reproductive plans. Information is different from approval.

p., it doesn't matter how often a priest's conscience is in conflict with his religion, it's whether he can remain an effective priest when that happens, and that is the same issue with pharmacists. If your conscience is in conflict with what your job requires of you, you have to decide with to follow.

Pogo said...

Re: "Information is different from approval."
Ah, but pharmacists should offer advice as well, e.g.: "I don't think you should take that antibiotic with that heart pill. I'll call your doctor." Yeah, that differs from disapproval, but those interactions are what shapes one's choice for Sam's Club (a gross of condoms, no questions asked) versus being ashamed asking for one at Joe Busybody's Christian Drugstore.

That said, I agree with I. Ronin:
OCPs OTC.
Plan B OTC.
(over 21)

But ...what if they won't stock it?
Aaaaaiiieee!

LeisureGuy said...

The Plan B emergency contraceptive has nothing to do with abortion. It's a contraceptive---which, granted, is also against Catholic doctrine. But if the hospitals accept public money, they should serve the public, including providing emergency contraception. How did abortion get into this discussion anyway? (I know you introduced it, but why?)

Roland said...

You can take issue with the phrase "Rape Gurney Joe" all you'd like, but by doing so you miss the real issue.

Lieberman is NOT a favorite of women's groups in CT. And, he does take positions that are not supportive of women's rights. Not just on CT hospitals, but look at his support of Alito, voting to allow his nomination to come to a vote on the floor.

Lieberman is in trouble, and Senators like Boxer who are reflexively supporting him because he's a three term incumbent a member of the club might just re-think their positions.

p.lukasiak said...

Lets just hope that Rape Guerney Ann doesn't have a daughter who gets brutally beaten and raped in Connecticut, and has the misfortune to be taken to a Catholic hospital.

Simon said...

"Lieberman ... take[s] positions that are not supportive of women's rights. Not just on CT hospitals, but look at his support of Alito, voting to allow his nomination to come to a vote on the floor."

How do you possibly reach the conclusion that Lieberman supported the Alito nomination? Did you simply ignore his floor statements hostile to Alito, and blank out when he voted againt Alito?

Voting to curtail a filibuster is a far cry from "supporting" Alito.

Pogo said...

Re: "Voting to curtail a filibuster is a far cry from "supporting" Alito."

Simon, the 'RGJoe' epithet suggests that, for the further left, they are equivalent. This is a purge, an attempted one anyway, seeking to wrest control of the party from the old guard to the Kossacks..

Pogo said...

Re: p.lukasiak said...

hey, didn't you work for the Dukakis campaign?

J. P. said...

Newsflash Ann. Plan B is NOT an abortion pill. Plan B halts ovulation, thereby never allowing an egg to even fertilize.

The epithet "Rape Gurney Joe" is absolutely appropriatre and, contrary to what you are attempting to put forward, has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ABORTION DEBATE.

Be informed, then comment. It's really the best way to go.

Jennifer said...

Uh oh, looks like an inbound link is leaking all the really nice, rational types.

AJ Lynch said...

Elizabeth said ..."What I'm bored by is a longtime, continual theme among some commenters here who are self-righteous about the appearance of some curse words in some leftist blogs or their comments sections."

It sounds like Elizabeth keeps a score sheet where she tabulates how often one of us makes an oh so tedious, longtime, continual post about how some blogs and their visitors are likely unhinged.

FYI, the language does not bother us; it's the incongruous places where and when the language is displayed (as above when you asked if Geoduck is f***ing confused). To me,it shows arrogance from the user and proves how desperate you are to salvage a losing point.

Elizabeth said...

AJ, I'm adding that one to your list. One tedious mark for you. Damn, you're in the lead.

Simon said...

"Simon, the 'RGJoe' epithet suggests that, for the further left, they are equivalent."

If voting against the nominee is equivalent to supporting them, I'd have liked for a few Democrats to have "supported" Ruth Ginsburg... ;)

Elizabeth said...

jaques, who's Betsy?

Patrick Martin said...

Elizabeth, I certainly agree that the Catholic Church is free to defrock a priest who violates the tenets of the Church, just as the Boy Scouts are free to refuse to allow homosexual Scout Masters.

If Walgreens wants to adopt a policy saying that its pharmacists must dispense any legal medication prescribed by a licensed doctor, that's fine with me, too. The pharmacist is free to work for Walgreens or not, and Walgreens is free to set the terms and conditions of employment.

But that's not what you are advocating. You advocate that the pharmacist be required to take actions which he finds morally repugnant simply because he possesses a state license as a pharmacist.

In case you missed it, I'll ask again my second question to you. Lethal injection is a legal form of execution in many states. Many doctors, however, refuse to participate in monitoring the executions because of their moral concerns regarding the death penalty. Can the state compel a doctor to participate against his will? After all, it's legal. Must all pharmacists fill the prescription for the lethal injection drugs?

Gary said...

"That's going to sound bizarre and scarily angry to a lot of people."

Bizarre and scarily angry to 17%? From the link you post:

"By a 78 - 17 percent margin, including 74 percent of Catholics, voters would support a law requiring all Connecticut hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims."

Andrew Foland said...

On the abortion question itself, well, some people I'm just never going to find common ground with, and there's no point to go into it. On the other hand I fully appreciate, and even agree with, some of the policy issues raised here. But if you accept that abortion in case of rape is acceptable, just step back for a moment, and consider Lieberman's position. Honestly, it just completely lacks in compassion.

I don't recall seeing that Ms. Hamsher called for the Senator to be sent to the gas chamber (a la Melanie Morgan), or for his children to be "hunted down" through publication of his address and the schools they attend, or for an "angry mob with torches" to show up at his doorstep. All of these have been said during the past week from various portions of the Ann Coulter school of political punditry.

Until she does so, I am going to find it hard to get very worked up about "the anger" and "incivility" on display in response to what is, honestly, just a plainly callous position.

As Ann points out, criticism sometimes works.

Elizabeth said...

I did answer, Patrick: "There are expectations for certain jobs; we're free to decide that those expectations conflict with our morals, but what then? The answer isn't a one-size fits all solution, apparently."

As for your example, if no doctor will participate, then there's no prescription for the chemicals for lethal injection, so there's no dilemma for a pharmacist to face. And if a doctor is participating, then sure, the pharmacy should fill the prescription. It's highly unlikely that's how lethal injections arrive at a prison. Do you really think there's a pharmacist involved, that the warden sends out to CVS for some potassium chloride?

Pogo said...

Re: "Do you really think there's a pharmacist involved..."

Most often they order the drugs used in lethal injection from the prison pharmacy, which involves a pharmacist.

For example, Florida's Lethal-Injection Process Involves Pharmacist

I like this take on the subject by
WaPo:
Legal regimes that balance an individual's right to opt out against safeguards for patients (like making it the pharmacy's responsibility to provide timely alternatives) are good compromises. Similarly, if physicians cannot supervise executions consonant with their professional obligations, we may need to devise some new form of capital punishment that does not require a doctor's intervention to ensure against violent, painful death.

There should and will always be space in this country for conscientious objectors. But it cannot and should not follow that murder is murder is murder.

Aspasia M. said...

"[Regarding whether must the store carry marijuana] - Has the FDA approved it? No. You have your answer."

That's an exceedingly cheap attempt to avoid the question.


Simon,

I wasn't trying to demean what you asked.

But a pharmacy is required by law to only sell legal medicine. If a drug, such as marijuana is approved of by the FDA then, yes, the pharmacy should dispense the drug.

My father used to work for a pharmacutical company. Drugs in the United States must under go very specific and difficult tests to be approved as a drug.

Herbals/ect. that one might find in a unlicensed vitamin shop do not need to under go these types of tests.

If any drug is approved of by the USA FDA, then a USA pharmacy should sell that drug. If a pharmacy refuses to sell a drug then I believe the state has a right to re-examine the ability of that pharmacy and pharmacists to be licensed.

However, if a pharmacy arranges for someone else to be on-call to fill scripts that some one may morally disagree with - I don't have a problem with that. But I do have a problem with pharmacies refusing to sell drugs approved by the US FDA that results in a denial of service.

Some religions teach that birth control pills (or any type of contraception) are morally wrong. Other religions are against the use of medicine. I do not believe that pharmacies should be able to decide to stop filling scripts for those reasons.

Patrick Martin said...

Elizabeth, why is the doctor entitled to exercise his own moral sense to not prescribe the lethal injection cocktail, but the pharmacist is not?

Or are you saying that it is ok with you if the doctor at the hospital refuses, out of his moral belief, to prescribe Plan B to the rape victim?

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the article. I think we should expect that, given objections by doctors, states will have to devise other means for executions. The last sentence, of course, begins the dabate on whether execution is murder or a just act by the state. I have no desire to go there. This discussion has gone done many paths already. I can conduct the death penalty, yes or no? argument with myself ad infinitum.

The Drill SGT said...

Elizabeth,

I think you dodged the tough first part of Patrick's question, so let me rephrase:

1. Lethal injection is a legal procedure in many states just as is contraception and abortion.

2. If you were the Governor of your state (where for the purpose of the thought exercise Lethal injection is legal), would you:

a. Fire a state employee MD who refused for moral reasons to participate in this legal procedure?

b. Revoke his medical license?

If not, what is your position?

Aspasia M. said...

This is a purge, an attempted one anyway, seeking to wrest control of the party from the old guard to the Kossacks..

Hmmm...I'm thinking about the 1980s and the rise of the Christian Coalition and other groups which moved the Republican party further to the social right.

Remember the socially liberal Republicans from the 1970s and early 80s?

Elizabeth said...

Patrick, if a doctor on staff refuses to administer the emergency contraceptive, then there's surely someone on duty who can. If the hospital's policy is not to do so, then certainly, no rape victim should be brought there for emergency care, since it will not be administered.

If states can't get doctors or pharmacists to participate in executions, they'll have to come up with other means to execute. It strikes me as unlikely that the state will be unable to obtain the chemical, as has been pointed out, they use their own pharmacies. Don't you think a prison pharmacist has already agreed to provide such chemicals, as condition of employment? It strikes me that pharmacists aren't going to be gumming up the execution works; that would be doctors.

But again, so what? Geoduck2 does a fine job explaining the role of pharmacists and pharmacies. If a doctor sees fit to prescribe a legal, FDA approved drug, a pharmacist who objects to the drug ought to step aside from the practice; if a pharmacy allows for their pharmacists to object, then they should make sure another pharmacist is on call during that objector's shift to fill those legitimate prescriptions.

Aspasia M. said...

By the way -

1)I would really like to know if pharmacies distribute potassium chloride?

2) I would like to know of the lethal drugs used in executions were approved by the US FDA?

But, in my case, yes - I think that the pharmacies have an obligation to fill doctor's scripts as long as it is a drug tested & approved by the US FDA.

(the pharmacy is not obliged to fulfill random herbals/ illegal drugs/ or drugs legalized in other countries/ or other random chemicals.)

Elizabeth said...

Sgt., thanks for phrasing that so clearly. If a condition of the state MD's employment is to participate in executions, I'd think that an MD who can't do so in good conscience should find another position. Just as a serviceman who turns pacifist would be asked to resign, or would be released from the military.

Are you willing to see pharmacists who object to contraceptives go into teaching at a pharmaceutical school, and refuse to instruct students in the use and dispensation of that medicine? How would consumers be able to sift through the many possible variations that a pharmaceutical diploma might include: this pharmacist refused to learn about viagra, that one refused to study HIV treatment, this one thinks antibiotics are overused so he was given a pass from that course of study.

The Drill SGT said...

I am moderately pro-choice

I think that all licensed medical and pharmacy schools should be required to teach all legal procedures.

I think that individual students and instructors should be allowed to op out of specific procedures.

I think that corresponding licensing boards and tests, should test the full range of procedures.

Elizabeth said...

I regret that I must disappear from this lively debate. I have a set of papers to grade before class tomorrow morning; it is not within my options to decline to do so, or most surely I would. The issue of language continues; I am often sorely tempted to write "WTF???" in the margin by some of the more outrageous errors or flaws in thinking, but I manage to restrain myself. Barely.

Ernst Blofeld said...

A better analogy would be to the creeping insanity on the part of the online right in the late 90's. There were all sorts of crazy tales about Hillary's shotgun slaughter of Vince Foster to keep him quiet about the sale of nuclear secrets and blonde high school students to the Chinese, or something.

The left is very rapidly approaching that point. The phenomena seems to be the result of a certain rootlessness; lacking leadership, the worst step forward and create what seems to be significant movements, but in reality are mostly bluster.

If the Republicans to reasonably well in the midterm elections I'd expect them to really go bonkers.

NDC said...

Okay, how about CT passes a law that rape victims can't be taken to a Catholic hospital emergency room, unless the victim requests it?

Suspecting that Catholic hospitals will close their emergency rooms before they hand out contraception (or perform abortions), I don't think the longer ride to a different emergency room will get any shorter if the Catholic emergency room is closed.

Elizabeth,
In almost all cases, you have choices about what doctor to see and what pharmacist to go to. Why isn't it appropriate to let patients choose doctors and pharacist based on their shared moral beliefs?

I think that there are many moderate voters out there who are pro-choice in the sense that they want people to make their own decisions without interference from others. Policies that force individuals to offer services that those individuals personally oppose will be viewed by these moderate voters as just as wrong as not allowing legal services to others who want them.

Does anyone have the wording of the actual poll question? Did it remind voters that emergency contraception, like all contraception, is prohibited by Catholic teaching? ( I believe a question that asked "should private hospitals be forced to offer services that are contrary to their moral teachings?" would get a different response.)_

The Drill SGT said...

Elizabeth:

When I used to grade math papers, my favorite 3 letter marking was RTP.

Perhaps not appropriate for your classes, but it would fit Ann's.

bunny powered said...

geoduck2-
Potassium chloride is commonly dispensed by pharmacies. It's prescribed all the time for people with low potassium; as in all things the dose (actually, the concentration and rate of infusion, in IV rather than oral formulations) makes the poison.

The opposition of many (though certainly not all) physicians to participating in lethal injection is purely practical: concern that the state medical board may disagree with their actions and revoke their license, as participating in executions violates the AMA's code of medical ethics - if you go outside that code, feel free, but you're taking quite a risk. The fact that the AMA makes a lot of decisions that many individual physicians disagree with is irrelevant - its code is the only game in town, so to speak.

Alcibiades said...

As a practicing Orthodox Jew himself, I for one, would think far less of old Joe, if he wasn't sensitive to the demands of religious law in other religions. Which often impose demands that are neither convenient nor popular.

I think it is a sign of character. It would be far easier for him to support the popular position. The easy position. But he doesn't do that personally, which makes him want to accord the same respect to others in that regard.

Hey said...

Hate to jump into this so late but i'm just a little riled up by the opposition to freedom of conscience.

I don't have problems with (most) abortion or birth control, but I respect and understand how one can get to those positions. I don't think that the government should be intruding into these specific questions, as they involve ultimate life and death issues, which we acknowledge in other realms are difficult and where reasonable people can differ.

We understand these differences as a society, and have established procedures for COs in the military for this very reason. Real COs can, have, and do serve with distinction and honor. Large numbers of Quakers and other pacificists served in WWII as corpsmen, saving lives of soldiers and even going so far as to win Medals of Honor (frequently posthumously). The leftist CO (much more common these days) who simply does not want to serve is a different animal, and acts out of malice rather than considered belief.

On pharmacies there has been much ignorance spouting from a few people. I love the idea that every pharmacy will stock and dispense every legal medication. So completely cut off from reality. Its proponents are almost as serious and morally upright as Kerry's declaration that he will only support veterans in primaries.

Quick examples: there are very few pharmacists that will dispense methadone, thanks to the problems caused by serving junkies and the attractive nuisance that the mere stocking of it creates. Further, many pharmacies will not stock or dispense narcotics, thanks again to their attractive nuisance properties. Even specific narcotics (such as Cocaine) that are very dangerous and very rarely prescribed will face larger bans than simply codeine or oxy would. Hell, the DEA is attempting to ban many narcotics through the backdoor by prosecuting doctors that prescribe significant quantities and making life hell on pharmacists that sell oxy and other frequently misused narcotics. Where's the outrage?

To get off of narcotics, there are very many niche pharmacies. A great one is in the DC area and has created flavour compounds specifically for use with chronic meds such as chemo for paediatric use. That pharmacy doesn't stock much outside of chronic paedo drugs. Are they immoral or should there be a law against it? What about hospital pharmacies, or other institutional pharmacies, that tailor their inventory to their customers. You won't get statins at a children's hospital, birth control at a men's prison, or viagra at almost any institutional pharmacy. Is this morally obscene?

We all know that people get loopy on anything abortion related (see this thread, NARAL's involvement, the mere phrase "Rape Gurney Joe"), but let's try and get semi-rational policy proposals.

This just seems to be one more example of the left emoting rather than thinking. Intentions are great, implementation will suck, and the knock on effects will be disastrous. Sounds like everything in the Great Society (and pretty much any government policy, program, or proposal from political groups of every stripe).

What's the most likely result of making Plan B mandatory at emergency rooms? Catholic hospitals closing emergency rooms or turning away government patients. Great move guys. Great move!

Joel said...

you funny Ann, you tried to have a dialogue with and ideologue. You funny.

paul said...

I can just imagine a Hamsher produced movie:

Clooney: We need a an abortion stat! This woman has only got 9 months and she said she thinks it was Limbaugh who did this.

Aspasia M. said...

Elizabeth said:

Patrick, if a doctor on staff refuses to administer the emergency contraceptive, then there's surely someone on duty who can. If the hospital's policy is not to do so, then certainly, no rape victim should be brought there for emergency care, since it will not be administered.

I agree.
------------------

As to the rhetoric -- Lieberman is not very sensitive to ways in which he could rally his base in Conn. In fact, he seems rather proficient at alienating his political base.

I cannot think of another Democratic who does such an excellent job at alienating his base. (see, for example, his actions during the bankruptcy bill vote.)

Joan said...

ECPs reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75-89 percent when the first dose is taken within 72 hours.

If the public knew the woman had three days to take the drug for it to be effective, that would go far is dispelling the notion that she'd have to be frantically rushing to find a doctor who would call in an ECP scrip for her. Planned Parenthood would be more than happy to do it, I'm sure.

This story reminds me of that horrid Washington Post op-ed about how the 42-year-old mother-of-two had to get an abortion because she had unprotected sex on Thursday, and found out on Friday that her doctor wouldn't prescribe Plan B.

It's all well and good to say make Plan B, or any OC, available over-the-counter, but I believe the unintended consequences could be severe. What happens if women start taking Plan B-size doses of estrogens, etc, on a weekly or daily basis? People are ignorant of how regular BCPs work, and we expect them to be able to use Plan B effectively and responsibly, without overdosing? I don't have that much faith in the irresponsible sexually active population.

Jennifer said...

Wow, Joan. I hadn't seen that op-ed before. That is amazing that everybody from Christians to the administration to her doctors to her kids to her boss to conservatives were responsible for her pregnancy and her abortion. Amazing. Talk about chaos theory.

Aspasia M. said...

Just FYI for anybody of reproductive years who may be interested:

EC is most effective if a woman takes it within 24 hours.

It's now recommended that women ask for an emergency script on their annual doctor's visit -- so a woman can have the script since many doctors are unavailable over the weekend.

Daryl Herbert said...

If the public knew the woman had three days to take the drug for it to be effective, that would go far is dispelling the notion that she'd have to be frantically rushing to find a doctor who would call in an ECP scrip for her.

1 - The sooner it's taken, the more effective it is.

2 - The point was that rape victims shouldn't be inconvenienced in the immediate aftermath of their rape.

[here is where I say something snarky to drive home the point that not only have I refuted your argument, but that I despise you as a person for disagreeing with me]

Aspasia M. said...

What happens if women start taking Plan B-size doses of estrogens, etc, on a weekly or daily basis?

Well, I suppose they'd figure out pretty fast that birth control pills, one a day, are a cheeper form of BC.

And these large doses often cause nausea.

By the way, Plan B is already over the counter in Washington State. People aren't overdosing on it there.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I used to admire Jane Hamsher. She's actually a pretty good writer. "Rape Gurney Joe" is vulgar and junvenile, but brutal and funny! Like a kick in the nuts. But what a loon she is. And her rejoinder was weak.

Daryl Herbert said...

ajd: Just wondering: do you ever search for ugliness on the right?

Do you find it the least bit ironic that in your zeal to purge your party of moderate Dems, you are refusing to make even minor condemnation of persons who say ugly, hateful, unhinged things? (and that this is the standard response from lefties, ajd is hardly alone holding Ann to this test)

It's totally okay to be unhinged (and you'll make excuses for those who are), but being a moderate like Joe (or... Ann?) is equivalent to practicing witchcraft?

Don't worry, I'm not a left-wing traitor, I'm a full-blown rightie (libertarian? compassionate conservative? whatever). So you can just have total contempt for me, my existence doesn't have to torture you.

Jay Ackroyd said...

Look, the point is that if you want to run a hospital with an ER, and an ER patient wants and needs a particular treatment, then you shouldn't be able to deny the patient that treatment. If Catholic hospitals in CT want to deny women access to contraception in emergency situations, then they should shut down their emergency rooms. But if they are going to run emergency rooms, then they certainly should provide plan B contraception.

Daryl Herbert said...

Ann said: I struck "abortion" and replaced it with "reproductive freedom" in the original post.

Don't you mean, "non-reproductive freedom"? Change it back.

Reproduction is a beautiful thing. The freedom to reproduce is a beautiful thing.

All that has nothing to do with the here freedom to stick a metal spike in a baby's head because he's half-black*, or some other equally capricious reason.

If abortion is so great, why do lefties demand euphemisms? (they do have a generally tendency towards euphemistiphiila, but I think there's something more here)

* a 100% legal reason to kill someone, so long as they're in your womb.

Aspasia M. said...

Daryl Herbert,

Do you think birth control pills and/or emergency contraception is an abortion?

If so, perhaps you would like to explain why.

If not, why are you posting that comment on this thread?

Johnny Nucleo said...

I don't know what Darryl Herbert thinks but I'll tell you what I think.

If "emergency contraception" means killing the thing that happens when the fish gets with the thing, then yeah, that's an abortion.

If human life is sacred, you are messing with the sacred.

That's fine. But's let's be clear. And one shouldn't be freaked out that messing with the sacred freaks people out. And one certainly shouldn't freak out when an organization that is absolutely bat-shit about the sacred is freaked out about it.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Internet Ronin said...

If Lieberman doesn't win the primary, he's probably toast. Let's start reading the tea leaves:

#1 Ned Lamont has up to $300,000,000 for his campaign. Joe Lieberman doesn't.

#2 Even if they wanted to, the DSCC and DNC don't have the resources to fund Lieberman as an independent (as they will Bernie Sanders in VT). They need every penny for the contested GOP seats to give them a majority. A dollar spent there will go a lot farther than a dollar spent in CT.

#3 The Big Money Bags of the party generally follow Party money, looking for biggest bang for their buck.

#4 The unions endorsed Lieberman but only if he wins the primary. No union money if he loses.

#5 Hillary Clinton is an astute politician advised by some of the best in the business. Her comments were devastating for Lieberman's hopes for an independent run with unofficial party support.

#6 John Kerry hedges his bets on just about any issue, but he burnt his bridge on this one. That's out of character unless he and his well-informed advisers think the writing is on the wall.

In the end, it is always a game of "follow the money." Lieberman must win the primary.

Aspasia M. said...

If "emergency contraception" means killing the thing that happens when the fish gets with the thing, then yeah, that's an abortion.

That's not how Emergency Contraception works.

Emergency contraception is a large dose of birth control pills. It restricts ovulation. It works in EXACTLY the same way that the birth control pill works. (see my earlier post where I list all of the brand names of birth control pills that can and are used as effective Emergency Contraception.)

So, yeah, I'd like to know why people are having such a problem with this.

Is taking the birth control pill "messing with the sacred" in your opinion? Some people believe that all artificial contraception is immoral.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Your're right. If the emergency contraception operates before insemination then it is not an abortion.

As for your question.

Do I think using birth control is messing with the sacred?

I don't know.

I think of it sort of like this. If you're driving and you almost crash, it's not the same as crashing.

But the Catholic Church thinks contraception is messing with the sacred. Even in cases of rape. And they have hospitals. So what do you do when you get raped and you need to prevent evil spawn and you find yourself at a Catholic Hospital?

Go somewhere else. Where and how shouldn't matter.

If you think it matters, if you are thinking, "I wanted to get rid of this evil spawn when it was a mere potentiality, but now it is real and I still want to get rid of it, but there is more emotional pain," you are admitting that they have a point.

Rob said...

(When?) a ground-breaking cardiac treatment arises from stem-cell work, will Catholic Hospitals refuse to use them because of their stand on human stem cells?

Not a Catholic, but I believe the Church only opposes embryonic stem cell research, they would not have a problem providing treatments developed from research on adult stem cells. Let's take this little thought experiment a little further; how would you feel about using a "ground-breaking cardiac treatment" developed by doing medical experiments on the prisoners at Gitmo?

TheNewGuy said...

Just an FYI for the non-medical folks.

I have to disagree with some posters here; the exact mechanism of action behind the success of "Plan B" and other levonorgestrel-containing preparations is NOT universally agreed-upon, or even fully understood.

To be fair, it is accurate to say that Progestins inhibit ovulation (probably by inhibiting the LH surge), but they may also inhibit implantion by making the uterine lining unsuitable for a fertilized embryo. Some studies also suggest that progestins play a role in decreasing tubal transport of the egg.

It is the prevention-of-implantation possibility that causes crises of conscience among health care providers.

Unfortunately, this issue has become a political football, so an honest and objective concensus based on the science is difficult to reach.

tjl said...

Dan Ackroyd said:

"If Catholic hospitals in CT want to deny women access to contraception in emergency situations, then they should shut down their emergency rooms."

Do you remember that classic quote from the Vietnam war, "we had to destroy the village in order to save it?" A similar non-logic is at work here.

Why is the modern left so quick to take uncompromising, extreme positions and then attack any remaining middle ground with a flame-thrower? Doesn't it ever occur to them that there are many who shrink from the thought of more years of undivided Republican rule, but are absolutely terrified of what the left would do if it somehow got into power?

Some liberal commenters here have repeatedly urged, "Pay no attention to these crazies, they're just the fringe of the Democratic party." But the ascension of Kos as a Democratic power broker is not reasssuring on this point. The Kossacks have been working with Robespierre-like zeal to purge the party of anyone who does not share their agenda.

tjl said...

Mary said:

"Tell us again about how we should be reassured by the ascension of Karl Rove as a Republican power broker."

Somehow over the last 6 years I missed the opening of those concentration camps.

Simon said...

"Here, I think you should address the distinction between what the Catholic teachings hold, and what so many American Catholics believe. (which is why you're getting beat over the head with that 74% opinion in CT.) ... To the Church leaders, abortion and birth control are on par. But to so many practicing Catholics, the birth control taboo is NOT the same as abortion. Maybe they're inconsistent with Church teachings, but let people work that out themselves."

Is anyone else amused that here you have someone saying "no, that isn't what catholics believe, because although it's what the catholic church teaches, many catholics don't believe it." Many years ago, there were another group of catholics who decided that they no longer agreed with some aspects of what the church taught, but at least they were willing to step up to the plate and make the break. A Roman Catholic who rejects the teachings of the church is, by definition, not a Roman Catholic: they are a protestant ("one who believes that "faith and practice [should be primarily] founded on ... the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers").

"Let people work it out themselves"? Isn't personal interpretation and determination the precise opposite of what the church teaches?

tjl said...

Mary said:

"Ignore the big issues, I guess, and kick the Dems when they're down. Way easier to score a "win" this way. It's all about counting up your little W's at then end of the day, not stopping to see where they've really gotten you or discussing the big issues."

Thanks for providing such an apt demonstration of the point I was trying to make.
Which was : as someone in the center-right who has been less than enchanted with certain positions taken by the Administration (e.g. - the absurd gay marriage amendment) I have been looking for some reassurance that the Dems, if in power, might do better. Your response was to denounce me for my lack of receptivity to the left's message of doctrinal purity and avenging zeal. Q.E.D.

Jay Ackroyd said...

The point, tlj, is that while one can choose one's PCP or one's gynecologist, one cannot always choose what ER they're admitted to. Nor, even whem one can make that choice, is it necessarily the case that one will know about their willingness to provide treatment. One should be able to assume that all treatment options are available at any ER. An ER that won't provide emergency contraception is not a functioning ER.

And, by the way, did your literary training leave out the hyperbole part?

dklittl said...

tjl,

I find your response to Mary, pretty unserious. I don't see any "response was to denounce me for my lack of receptivity to the left's message of doctrinal purity and avenging zeal."

All that she points out it is that Bush's policies haven't worked so well, so maybe instead of debating about petty differences, people take a look at another way. I mean no one is asking for you to be for every plank of the Democratic platform (I'm not), just to take a look and see if some of their emphasis "cleaning up corruption, pay-go, raising CAFE standards, more universal healthcare, etc" put this country on a better course.

I mean there are jerks on both sides of the debate, but I never hear any "center-right" person state how they just can't vote for the Republicans because of Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and her ilk. I mean if you aren't willing to consider voting Democrat over some arbitrary issue like Daily Kos(who isn't the reason I'm a Democrat), then I doubt you are considering them anyways

Simon said...

"An ER that won't provide emergency contraception is not a functioning ER."

Except for the 99%+ of patients who are not there for emergency contraception. To shut down an ER which is perfectly capable and willing to deal with not just the overwhelming majority of, but in fact, practically all of the needs of its patients because it won't provide one particular service is breathtakingly arrogant, callous and myopic.

An argument could be made that a Jehovah's Witness hospital - the example used earlier - which refused to perform blood transfusions might be regardable as being closable within your rubric, because blood transfusions will be needed in a large percentage of ER practises. If that were the issue under debate, we would have to face the difficult threshold question of just how high a percentage of the hospital's patients must require a service being withheld before the hospital is pronounced dysfunctional, but whatever that threshold is, it is certainly far, far about the >1% involved here.

Simon said...

Incidentally, here's another great argument for closing the hospitals: CT sure has the surplus capacity. Oh yes.

Democrats: the party that is so obsessed with murdering children that it wants to deny ER services to the poor. What a great billboard that will make.

Tim said...

Jay Ackroyd, your comment "An ER that won't provide emergency contraception is not a functioning ER" is pretty damned silly.

There are different grades of ERs - some are trauma centers, most are not - and not all offer every last known and available service. Shutting those that didn't offer every last known and available service would be extremely irresponsible.

Lastly, while the Catholic hospitals with emergency rooms have an obligation to accept any and all emergency patients under federal law, like any hospital, they aren't obligated to have an emergency room.

Do you really believe it would be better to force Catholic hospitals to shut their ERs because they find it against their conscience to provide contraceptives to rape victims? How many people are you prepared to have die due to heart attacks, strokes or other accidents because your less than perfect Catholic hospital ER needs to be shut?

Of course, you can always open your own ER. But like everyone else who does, including your ever-so-mean-spirited bete noir Catholic hospitals, you'll lose money. Lots of money. But at least you'll be providing contraceptives to rape victims.

Internet Ronin said...

Not that it matters to anyone at this point, but it is interesting to note that both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly have 2:1 Democratic majorities.

Simon said...

Mary -
That sounds a great deal like a declaration that you're a Boston Catholic not a Roman Catholic. "Play in the joints" is one thing when you're talking about gray areas, but when you're talking about an area where there is specific doctrine and you have a copletely contrary view, you're talking about actively picking and choosing which bits of doctrine you follow and don't follow. A desire to pick and choose which bits of doctrine to follow or not is precisely what kicked off the reformation.

Perhaps there is some theological or doctrinal justification for what you're arguing, but "this is how we do it in America" isn't going to cut it.

Internet Ronin said...

Get over yourself. Wise advice, indeed.

Internet Ronin said...
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Internet Ronin said...
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Internet Ronin said...

Yo! Elizabeth! If you drop by:

Way back near the beginning, I asked what public money was being spent. I skimmed the Hamsher too quickly and mistook "energy subsidy" for "emergency subsidy" (i.e., ER compensation). By the time I discovered the mistake, the conversation was off on the RU-486 tangent.

You are correct, Elizabeth: the state has every right to attach as many (or few) conditions on any organization accepting money such as that subsidy. It's their money. If the private group does not like the conditions, they do not have to accept the money. (Hamsher was livid because the state did not impose that condition, it should be noted.)

I imagine that the state, using its licensing powers, could also require anyone operating an ER must provide X or Y service. (That they choose not to is probably because, in many urban areas, it is increaingly difficult to find hospitals willing to maintain an ER.) 4 of CT's 30 acute care hospitals are Catholic. At least 3 of them provide ER services. According to press reports I found while looking that up, the requirement mentioned by Hamsher was not limited to those with an ER, but all hospitals.

Internet Ronin said...
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Michael said...

I don't see the standards of safety and personal morality as being equal.

I'm shocked. Someday, perhaps you can stop fiddling with your "moral equivalency" mathematics and actually, you know, think.

Internet Ronin said...

Anyway, Elizabeth (if you are still around ;-), it looks like the state energy subsidy was $5 million for 30 hospitals. It was probably based on size, but (for the purposes of discussion), assuming it was the same for all 30, the Catholic hospitals get $666,666 of taxpayer subsidies. I imagine that they could make up that shortfall from other sources if push came to shove, and they declined the money to avoid the conditions attached. Whether they would cease operations entirely if the state required dispensing R-486 as a condition of hospital licensing is another question. They would certainly go to court over it.

RE: the later discussion of pharmacists refusing to dispense a drug. I think the biggest problem here is in rural areas with only one pharmacy, given the time constraints involved. In an urban setting, it isn't difficult to find another pharmacist willing to dispense. (There were no less than 15 different pharmacies in the city of 50,000 I formerly lived in.)

I share your concern about access (in rural areas). At the same time, although I disagree with them, I understand the position of those pharmacists who refuse to dispense because they believe that it involves them in an act they consider equivalent to murder. If someone really believes that, then there isn't anything that we can say to convince them that isn't. (The operative word for them being "murder" not "choice".)

Given that, I haven't read a convincing argument that the state has the right to compel them to dispense in violation of their beliefs.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Rousseau had the myth of the noble savage, which has come up recently with dicussion of 'Before the Dawn.' For feminists, before pregnancy, they were 'one of the guys,' a position that may be overvalued and lead, through abortion, and perhaps inadvertenly, to a somewhat sad childlessness. Usually, the occasion for such action arises from fun and now that abortion is widely available, desperate circumstances 'thankfully' can still be calculated to justfy the mirror to Allah Akbar, 'Abortion is Great.' 'Rape Gurney Joe' did not impose sexual differentiation.

Tim said...

Mary, you're absolutely right. Everyone knows the Catholic Church regards regulations concerning contraceptives as "little rules" easily dismissed.

Funny how they spend so much time in state legislatures fighting bills requiring them to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, contraceptives in their hospital pharmacies, contraceptives to rape victims, and abortion referrals to patients.

I just guess the Catholic Church can be funny about which little rules they're willing to overlook.

Tim said...

PS: It is increasingl clear there is vanishing room for freedom of religion in the secular American liberal agenda. It seems "liberal" isn't quite so liberal anymore. Or is it now considered progressive to rub out religious freedom?

Tim said...

Mary,

Catholic organizations devote a tremendous amount of resources to fighting legislative mandates contrary to their values. And many choose to opt out of public programs (and funding) rather than compromise their values.

If Catholic hospitals in Connecticut should choose to shut their ERs rather than compromise their principled objections to providing contraceptives to rape victims, that is entirely within their right. After all, they aren't a public utility, no matter how much others may wish to make them so.

And yes, far better for them to reject public funds than to compromise their values which you so sneeringly refer to as "disguised in the cloaks of "religious freedom," only proving my point about vanishing tolerance for freedom of religion in the secular American liberal agenda.

Tim said...

Mary,

"...but I think the days of religion being treated as above the law are well over."

Indeed. A clearer manifesto of vanishing tolerance for freedom of religion in the secular American liberal agenda could hardly be articulated.

Regardless, your "on the ground workers" aren't the ones making the decisions as to what various Catholic organizations will accept as operational conditions. In many cases diocesan Bishops make the call, and as we know from ongoing discussions regarding communion for pro-abortion Catholic legislators, some Bishops will uphold canon law, and others will acquiesce to expedience. C'est la vie.

Aspasia M. said...

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

PLAN B (EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION) is not RU486

By the time I discovered the mistake, the conversation was off on the RU-486 tangent.

Look - I'm rather disturbed that people do not know the difference here. Plan B is a concentrated form of the birth control pill. It should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex/a rape. It will not work if a woman is already pregnant (implantation.)

Birth control pill packs are also used as Emergency Contraception. These are the brands used:

Pill Brand Manufacturer 1st Dose 2nd Dose (12 hrs later)
Progestin-only Pills
Ovrette® Wyeth-Ayerst 20 yellow pills 20 yellow pills
or 40 yellow pills in one dose
Plan B® Barr 1 white pill 1 white pill
or 2 white pills in one dose
Combination Hormone Pills
Alesse® Wyeth-Ayerst 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Aviane® Duramed 5 orange pills 5 orange pills
Cryselle® Barr 4 white pills 4 white pills
Enpresse® Barr 4 orange pills 4 orange pills
Lessina® Barr 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Levlen® Berlex 4 light orange pills 4 light orange pills
Levlite® Berlex 5 pink pills 5 pink pills
Levora® Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills
Lo/Ovral® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 white pills 4 white pills
LowOgestrel® Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills
LuteraTM Watson 5 white pills 5 white pills
Nordette® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 light orange pills 4 light orange pills
Ogestrel® Watson 2 white pills 2 white pills
Ovral® Wyeth-Ayerst 2 white pills 2 white pills
Portia® Barr 4 pink pills 4 pink pills
Seasonale® Barr 4 pink pills 4 pink pills
Tri-Levlen® Berlex 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills
Triphasil® Wyeth-Ayerst 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills
Trivora® Watson 4 pink pills 4 pink pills

Elizabeth said...

Internet Ronin, thanks for those two posts chock full of followup information. I think we share some concerns, particularly about access in areas not served by a number of pharmacies, perhaps especially when there's difficulty getting a prescription filled with the 24-72 hour time limit for emergency contraception to be effective. It's not just rural areas! I had a weird experience a few years back, on vacation in London. I had a toothache and needed something for the pain in the late evening, and found that only one pharmacy was open in the whole city. There's apparently some law that at least one has to be open, and the pharmacies, or chemists, rotate the role. It was difficult tracking it down.

I can see, also, the concern about shutting off public funds to an ER that serves as an essential trauma unit. Right now, New Orleans has lost its main trauma unit, Charity Hospital (started under the Catholic Sisters of Charity and later owned by the state), and has only a partially staffed trauma unit operating out of a suburban hospital. I would imagine that given those circumstances, I wouldn't argue for funds to be cut off from a Catholic ER that refused to prescribe emergency contraception for rape victims, but I would argue for the city and EMS units to come up with a plan that would take such victims immediately to another ER. Why? Principle, in difficult circumstances, might have to give way to practicality. But even then, I think a plan has to be in place to meet emergency needs.

Elizabeth said...
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lucas m. said...
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lucas m. said...

As a Catholic, and as a Registered Nurse at a major Catholic hospital (In Phoenix AZ), I can say that we do not provide emergency contraception. It is contrary to both the teachings of the church and to our hospital policy. (And wether it is contraception or abortion, they are both against Catholic practice so this is a mute point). I can also tell you that contraceptives are not allowed as part of our insurance packages at my hospital. I guess it goes to say that if you accept to work there you accept that you will have limited services.
As for the rape treatments, emergency contraception can be either done at another facility or as an outpatient follow up visit. Look at it like this: Not all hospitals can take care of everything that comes in the doors. If you are burned, you go to a burn center. If you are in an accident, you go to a trauma center. If you are raped, you go to a sexual assualt center. It is just how we (the healthcare field) are organized. I don't feel it is fair to critisize Lieberman for this position.It is an accepted practice across the country.

Osvaldo said...

"Contraception and abortion are legal. That is the position of our government, and if you want to call it coercion, so be it, but both are legal and should be available. The idea that pharmacists should be able to pick and choose what they will dispense, given a doctor's presecription, is ludicrous. Don't be a pharmacist if you feel the need to make judgments about what medicines people ingest."

And, of course, it is *legal* for businesses in the United States to dress their female staff in daisy dukes and halter tops, and it is of course part of the professional ethics of retail work to try and satisfy the customer, but, outrageously, Elizabeth and her ilk never strip down to their skivvies when I go their place of employment and ask them to do so.

Internet Ronin said...

Elizabeth:
Yes, we do agree about the pharmacy problem and your example was an excellent one. (I had a similar experience overseas as well.)

You've probably read Lucas M.'s comment which addresses some of your questions about ER's, which I do share as well, BTW. Anecdotal note: Having had the misfortune of taking 4 ambulance trips myself, and sending my dad off in one, I was asked "Where to?" 4 out of 5 times. During the singular exception, I was literally still having a heart attack while we were loading up and enroute and the hospital we went to was less than 2 miles from my home, so I wasn't too perturbed by not being given a choice at the time ;-)

The interesting thing I found while looking for the info. I posted earlier was the fact that the proposed legislation covered not just hospitals with ER's but about all hospitals within the state, whether or not they had an ER. I've already said that I believe the state has the power to make the rules attached to handing out taxpayer money as a subsidy and that does not change my opinion. It does, however, tell me that the Catholic hospitals are afraid that next step will be to make such provisions a condition of licensing any hospital, and some comments here lend credence to that fear. At that point, I jump off the wagon.

I think it is an important detail that no one thus far has mentioned (if they knew) or did not know.

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: "It will not work if a woman is already pregnant (implantation.)"

Ooooh... I get it now. You're defining pregnancy as implantation, not conception. I really couldn't understand how a rape could get a woman pregnant if she had not yet ovulated. You were saying the pill prevents ovulation, but if the woman had not yet ovulated, wouldn't the rape have taken place too soon to impregnate her?

So the line between abortion and contraception for you is implantation? I would not have thought that, because "contraception" seems to refer to conception. I think something is very confusing her. Women use things that are called "contraception" that do something some would object to if they really understood. I think there is a lot of deliberate distortion of the facts going on in discussing birth control to make it more palatable. Abortion is a form of "birth control," but it's not a form of contraception. Some forms of birth control that we don't ordinarily call abortion are not really, literally contraception, right?

Patrick Martin said...

Elizabeth, I agree that some sort of workable compromise should be found. Unfortunately, the thugs who were condemning Senator Lieberman and comparing our hostess to a baboon were demanding that funding be completely removed from the Catholic hospitals. They were not asking for compromise, but control.

lucas m. said...

The concept of local or state governments legislating what services a hospital can and cannot provide is not practical. I give the example of the community emergency departments. They are hard pressed to provide basic services,let alone trauma or burn services. The same applies to sexual assault. Sexual assualt care is a different modality of care than say, treating for chest pain. It goes beyond merely treating the physical. It needs to treat the psychological as well as the physiological damage. The staff and hospital need to be trained to provide the best care possible. You need specially trained nursing staff, case managers and rape crisis counselors...most of whom are not avalible at your local tertiary medical center. You don't want to just patch up withr wounds hand them a anti-pregnancy pill and sent them on their merry way, that is not how should work. The societeal implications not withstanding, there are practical implications to this question of forcing hospitals to providing this class of drugs. If you are going to force hospitals to dispence certiant types of medicatiom, you need to legislate proper training and protocols on who and how is to use them. An example of this is the drug streptokinase. It is of a class that we call throbolytics. It is used to treat acute strokes before the damage becomes permanent. There are strict protocols that regulate the administration of this drug, and rarely is it administered in a setting without full neurosurgical capabilities because if an intracrainal bleed were to occour, the facility would not have the capability to treat the patient. Now, admittedly, the treatment of rape is a different situation than this, but you see my point. Many hospitals won't treat acute ischemic stroke, and will transfer the patient ASAP to a higher level of care. It isn't because they can't, but they choose not to. Why should we allow legislation to force hospitals to provide or one drug another? It affects the care given, and they may be administered without proper treatment or follow up, by poorly trained staff.
Another argument against this is this. Hospitals in the Uinted States are required under EMTALA and COBRA laws to provide treatment to anyone who comes to their doors. Good in theory, but bad in practice. our ED's have become a primary care facility for everyone who needs free healthcare but cant'won't pay for it. Ever wonder why you have to wait for three hours to see the Emergency Doctor? It's because they have to see every hangnail and and sniffle under penalty of law. Now suppose, for a moment that there are unethical women out there, that would like an abortion, but can not or will not pay to get it done in a clinic. Thew show up at the ED and under the proposed law, can demand, and recive, these medications. To force a Catholic organization to participate in this is tantamount to forcing Muslims to eat pork products, or Jehova's Witnesse's to recive blood products. It is fundamentally against their religion. I am of the opinion that once again Mr. Liberman has proved his place in American politics as a well thought and intelligent man. We need more with his kind of forehtought in DC.

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