Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rape Victims and the Conscience Clause.

Godless Feminist has a post about the motivations of the conscience clause, now legal in a majority of US states, that allows a provider to refuse emergency contraception to rape victims - often without informed consent or even referrals. Some states like Massachusetts have laws that require the administration of EC to rape victims - and Catholic facilities, the second largest of emergency room health care in the US, have staunchly worked to maintain such "conscience clause" denial of a rape victims rights.

One salient point made by GF is that, in the wake of all the "no abortion with my tax dollars" noise, is that Catholic hospitals - indeed most hospitals - serve a pluralistic society and are 50% funded by federal dollars through Medicare and Medicaid. Those who don't want to pay for health care that violates their faith best check their hypocrisy when making this argument.

The rights of a hospital, pharmacy, and health care professional should never be allowed to supersede the rights of patients — especially women rape victims. It isn’t the well-being, health, or future life of that health care worker that is at stake. It is the woman rape victim’s.

And every pregnancy is a potential threat to a woman’s health, well-being, and life — including her economic well-being. Anyone from a nurse to a doctor to a pharmacist to a lawmaker or a judge who deprives a woman of the choice to prevent a pregnancy, to end a pregnancy — especially as the result of a rape — should be forced to contribute to the support of every unwillingly pregnant woman and to both mother and child after that fetus becomes a post-born child.

Rape victims who are ER patients should not be made victims again by hospital staff and religious organizations — especially religious hospitals that qualify for tax-exempt 501(3)(c) status for whom the public at large must pick up the shifted tax burden tab.

There is nothing decent, caring, or moral about forcing a physically and emotionally traumatized woman to risk pregnancy or track down an emergency contraception provider. There is nothing moral about stopping a rape victim (or any other woman) from preventing a pregnancy she does not want, or cannot endure.

Rapists do not have a Constitutional right to force a woman to breed for them and ER staff, hospitals, et al, have no Constitutional right to force rape victims to bear their rapist’s progeny.

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