How Purity Invites Murder

The word theocracy is a powerful one.  It brings to mind the prospect of a religious authority ruling people.  And religious control of politics is always that: rule.  It is a single authority exercising its will on the people.

A subtler form may also take root.  This unfortunate news via Pandagon:

I suppose this was inevitable, but the growing movement of doctors and pharmacists who decide that you’re not worthy of medical treatment if you’re female and engaging in sexual behavior they disapprove of has reached the point where some doctors are refusing to perform Pap smears on unmarried women. I guess you probably don’t really need one if you’re a virgin, because they’re looking for cervical cancer, which is linked to HPV, which is sexually transmitted. For the people who think unwanted pregnancy and STDs are just the proper punishment for unmarried, sexually active women, it follows that death from cervical cancer should go on the “punishments for sluts” list.

Make no mistake about this.  Doctors are refusing to perform a vital medical test on women they personally do not believe should be having sex.  From the article:

To look for answers, I turned to Patricia LaRue, Executive Director at Canadians for Choice, to see what she could tell me if doctors have the right to refuse ANY procedure that they see as going against their religion.  She reminded me that doctors have a “conscience clause,” allowing them to refuse prescriptions for birth control, abortion, and now pap smears.  The conscious clause is put in place by the Canadian Medical Association so that physicians are not forced to act in any way that goes against their personal beliefs.

If a women is denied a vital medical service, and then dies, the doctor is directly responsible for her death.  This is no different than a doctor refusing to help a gunshot victim or test the swollen lymph nodes of a patient because of the color of his skin.

For me, this goes beyond the question of whether or not a person may cite religious objections when going directly against the Hippocratic Oath. I wonder, what kind of religion comes from such a place of cold arrogant judgment that its adherents believe they have the right to commit murder?

The obsession over purity is really an obsession over a lack of control.  A control that should be forever beyond the reach of governments and churches.

How long until doctors claim the right to refuse to treat homosexuals?  Until people of other faiths are off-limits?  Will everything from the Ten Commandments to the most obscure line in scripture become justification for refusing to stand by the Hippocratic Oath?

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5 Responses

  1. Is that the same Hippocratic Oath that used to forbid doctors from doing abortions?

    And aren’t you pro-choice? Shouldn’t doctors have a choice whether to distribute abortifacients?

    And aren’t you obsessed with controlling what the doctors must do?

    (I didn’t study the pap smear issue but on the surface that looks foolish to refuse to do those.)

  2. The choice is the choice of women to control their own bodies. We both know that.

    The problem here is using religious convictions to deny a basic health service to women.

    The Hippocratic Oath is about saving lives. If a fetus is not a life, then there is no problem at all. Hence the whole “where does life begin” debate.

  3. I see you are against freedom of religion.

    Re. controlling their own bodies: But you ignore the other body in the equation. Where is her choice?

    The Hippocratic Oath used to specifically condemn abortion. What scientific discovery led to doctors changing their minds that it was alive? (P.S. claiming it isn’t a life is completely anti-science and makes one look kinda silly, given 4-D ultrasounds and all. That is why “sophisticated” pro-abortionists have shifted to the elusive “personhood” argument. It is equally wrong, but it is their flavor of the day.)

  4. The doctors can believe whatever they want. Tell me, would you allow Doctors to refuse to treat someone’s cancer because they believe they are sinful? What if their sin is believing in the “wrong” religion?

    …. A clump of cells is a clump of cells whether you look at it with an ultrasound or not. Unless you are stating that when a fetus is formed enough to look like a baby, that is where life begins?

    I imagine it was a *lack* of science that lead to the original oath, which was to the Greek god Apollo, to condemn abortion. I mean, what scientific discovery led to doctors changing their minds about the god Apollo?

  5. Yeah, that’s a plausible example. You seem to be missing the irony that you want to take away the doctor’s choice and force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. You think it is horrific to take a way a woman’s ability to choose to have her preborn daughter crushed and dismembered, but you have no problems taking away the choice of the unborn or the doctors / pharmacists.

    I’m saying that the 4-D ultrasounds mock the “we don’t know if it is a life” argument. And even if you weren’t sure you should err on the side of life.

    But common sense tells you (the same common sense that drove the original Hippocratic Oath) that the preborn are alive. So do embryology textbooks. It takes a lot to rationalize it away.

    Cute thing re. Apollo, but not only irrelevant but it also saws off the limb you are sitting on (remember, you are the one decrying those who would violate the oath).

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