This pathetic issue will not die. People (some doctors) not only want to refuse to treat individuals whose life they disagree with on moral grounds, there is now a proposal in the MI legislature to provide the same option to health insurers! According to yesterday's The New Standard:
Mar. 29 – Amid a nationwide debate over giving medical professionals the "right" to refuse to provide care on moral grounds, Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that would extend so-called "conscience clauses" to health insurers.
Proponents of conscience clauses say they are necessary to protect religious freedom in the workplace and the faith-based identity of religious healthcare institutions. But opponents say that allowing providers to selectively opt out of providing medical care invites discrimination and restricts access to crucial services.
Proposed by State Representative Scott Hummel, the legislation, which passed a house committee earlier this month, would specifically allow healthcare corporations, insurance providers and health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) to "refuse to offer or provide a healthcare benefit on ethical, moral or religious grounds" if those values are stated in the institution’s articles of incorporation, bylaws or mission statement.
So, let me get this correct. If the insurance provider documents their bigotry they can then refuse to cover someone. Wow. Can you imagine just how broad a swath "ethical, moral or religious ground" cuts? Who gets to decide what's what? Obviously, under this proposed legislation, the insurance company (or, under the previous bills, the doctors). It would seem to me that nearly everyone violates someone's view of what is ethical, moral or religious. Of course, it will be used mostly to discriminate against the LGBT community.
I want to liken this to race discrimination -- and I sincerely believe there are striking parallels (references to the Bible, to respective moral character, etc.) however I think the one important distinction is that these zealots [now] believe (I hope!) that race is immutable whereas I believe they think that sexual orientation is not. I'm sure you all recall this famous quote:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." - opinion of trial judge in the famous miscegenation case, Loving v. Virginia. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 3 (U.S. 1967).
Under the proposed statute, but for the 14th Amendment, which would make it unconstitutional, it seems to me not a far stretch to imagine refusing coverage to someone of a different race. Of course, but for the 1st Amendment, it is an even easier reach to imagine someone refusing treatment or coverage to a person with opposing religious views.
Where is the humanity? Is this really what the religious zealots want to do -- refuse to care for another human being? I am, as I was exactly one year ago, still disgusted.