Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not Happy to be Right

Back during the primary season, I wrote that I was skeptical about Obama's support for a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. I have since campaigned for him, gone to his inauguration, and generally felt pleased with our country and his office. This weekend, Obama spoke at Notre Dame about "abortion." In fact, in this quote "abortion" seems to refer only to birth control and not to abortion, since no doctors are currently ever required to perform abortions (just like they're never required to do nose jobs or become foot doctors).

In his commencement address, Mr. Obama said he supported a “sensible conscience clause,” referring to legislative actions that allow doctors or other health care providers to withhold abortion or other services that conflict with their religious beliefs. But he used the opportunity to call for more diversity of opinion and respect for differences.

These laws are used to deny access to birth control for women who don't have access to other doctors or the resources to find them. It is these women that the government should be protecting, not doctors and pharmacists.

I also have worries with regards to the wording of these clauses. Are they truly blanket clauses for any "services that conflict with their religious beliefs?" I honestly don't know. But if they are: Are Muslims allowed to deny a binge drinker the service of having their stomach pumped? Or, less life threatening, are Mormons allowed to deny a patient access to migraine medications (many of which have caffeine in them)? Where is the line? And if this only refers to birth control, why is the line there? How did this religions conviction come to be more important than all the others?

1 comment:

John Moeller said...

On one hand, I don't know a single Mormon who would advocate denying migraine medication to someone who suffers from them. Do I know Mormons who would advocate denying my wife birth control? Absolutely.

I'm slightly more optimistic that by "sensible," Obama excludes prophylactic measures, or at least advocates explicit rules regarding what services may be denied.

Then again, I was wrong about his position on the whole faith-based charities issue.