Friday, January 15, 2010

Martha Coakley and the Emergency Room.

Coakley continues to get criticism for her comments that Catholic hospitals - all hospitals - should provide rape victims with emergency contraception.

Yesterday she reinforced her position by saying that if your devout faith prevents you from performing certain standard services in the emergency room, you probably shouldn't work there.

Don't miss the comments where she is, for offering a position that some disagree with, called a bitch and mentally unstable: the standard throw back to women who wish to stand up for their rights and the rights of others.

But despite all the conservative noise about how the Democrats botched this race and how this is a sign for 2010, Coakley has been forced to take a stand on a position that she isn't so articulate at conveying. What about patients' rights?

Her campaign has been less than impressive. While Brown may be a moderate, he's not my idea of a great candidate. (Romneycare?) And yet, he's simply had a better campaign.

But my point here: the Senate race in Massachusetts makes us ask, is there no issue, no race, no bill that can't be divided over "pro-life" positioning? I've yet to hear someone come out talking about patients' rights - no institution rights (Catholic hospitals) or employee rights to impose devout ideology on a pluralistic population. The need for women to get emergency contraception after rape is not even controversial when you poll people. Most Americans even support abortion for rape, incest and murder - even the Hyde amendment doesn't prohibit these services.

And yet we watch a ho-hum campaign get destroyed by the controversy over a non-controversial issue.

Pro-choice candidates better get their talking points together - and get them out of the religious right frame. They're railroading women, equality and patients' rights. Again.

UPDATE: more msogynistic comments at the conservative Washington Times. And still no note of what patients who have no choice but to go to a Catholic hospital but don't ascribe to Catholic doctrine are supposed to do. The conversation has been framed as one of provider rights, the woman, elder, minority, poor be damned. Yup. Good Catholic compassion.

UPDATE: Ben Stein at looks at Coakley's comment and fails to get a couple of things right, like patients' rights. duh. But he does include text of the law, if you're interested.

UPDATE: Media Matters is correcting what many have said about Coakley's comment: She didn't say all devout Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms, she said those opposed to distribution of emergency contraception shouldn't.

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December 20, 2010 at 10:26 PM  

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