Saturday, March 30, 2013

The trouble with religious medicine.

Writing that title for this post, I wish I was going to just be talking about new age medicine, or faith healing. But no, I am writing about medical facilities set up and run by religious institutions. Erin Matson wrote on this, and I wanted to focus in and expand a little on her piece.

A desire to aid and heal people is a fine agenda to have. The trouble arises when it's mixed with caveats for just how and if someone is going to receive medical services. At Catholic hospitals their is some question as to what reproductive medicine you can have access to. And this has an impact on people's lives.

If you end up at a Catholic hospital following being raped, what treatment will you get? What help will you receive? If you want to receive something to prevent a pregnancy, you may be out of luck, and they may work to prevent you from getting the treatment you want. And if you are pregnant and need lifesaving treatment that could the can end horribly for you.

When it comes to abortion, Catholic doctrine is clear and cruel. In Ireland last year, under Catholic doctrine, a life saving abortion was delayed until the fetus was shown to have died, leaving it too late to save the woman. The disease progressed to far and she died. Fetus and mother dead. In 2010, following an abortion to end a pregnancy that likely would have killed the mother, the nun who made the executive decision was excommunicated. A warning to hospital executives everywhere. And in 2009, their was furor in the Church when a 9 year-old, raped by her stepfather, was given an abortion in Brazil. It was legal, under the circumstances. But the doctors and family were all excommunicated from the church, as a punishment and a threat to other Catholics, particularly doctors (Don't recall the step dad getting much grief for what he did.).

Where they can make it law, the church stops abortion services. Where it can't make it illegal, they make it inaccessible, or hard to get agreement to it.

But that is just Catholic hospitals. So no big deal. I wish that were so. As much as I would like to think that this issue is one we can handle, I have concerns.

First. Do you know how the hospital nearest to you is run? Is it religious based? In fact, what is the nearest hospital to you that isn't? Do you know? I have for awhile looked at the city I live in, and I've realized that there are two major hospitals, and they are both Catholic hospitals. So, if I was a women, what would my options be? As well, consider how clinics and other outpatient venues for medical support are setup. Many in this region have funding from the these two hospitals. How does that affect service? I am unsure how far, or where I would have to go to get medical aid unaffected by Catholic teachings on reproductive medicine. That troubles me.

This leads to my second concern  the move to "religious freedom". In many states they are trying to establish rules of Religious Freedom. It's meant to be a way to circumvent the law and use religious doctrine in it's place. It's a way to deny services to gay people, or anyone you don't like, and it is also a way to justify all sorts of medical providers don't have to accommodate patients. It's, apparently, the religious way.

Now, it is interesting to see very religious people eager to show that they mean intolerant and exclusionary when they call themselves religious. But this isn't helping women.

And women in many places in this country are expected to leap through a series of flaming hoops to even get in sight of an abortion provider. Abortion is a simple basic medical service that is legal in the United States. When you look at how it is treated by most states, you would think it is a dirty secret, or used an amazing amount. But that isn't reality. Just the fiction that some choose to believe. And through those lies, women who need medical aid are made to suffer and endure, to fulfill the religious demands of some. How can any of us see this as acceptable?

I don't care if a religious institution wants to open a hospital to help the sick and be of service to the community. But they should not be picking and choosing the basic medical assistance they will bestow. That is not how one ministers, in the medical sense. If you pick and choose like that, based on personal biases, you are not being a serious provider. And you DEFINITELY should not be receiving tax dollars for your work.

This is why we need national secular medical providers. People will provide the full range of medical services. People who are actually serious about medicine.

I also wanted to include a link from the original piece linked at the top, looking at the trouble happening as Catholic hospitals are merging with other hospitals, bringing over their antiquated rules on women's health. It's good to be informed.

No comments: