Roundup: Should Personal Belief be Protected at the Workplace?

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Roundup: Should Personal Belief be Protected at the Workplace?

Brady Swenson

Should personal belief be protected at the workplace?; Sen. Joe Biden never refused communion on basis of his support for abortion rights; One year after legalization Mexico City struggles to provide open access to abortion care; Study finds ideas about sex do not affect HPV vaccine use; 'Extended cycle' contraception garnering interest.

Should Personal Belief be Protected at the Workplace? … Laura Bristow at the Baltimore Workplace Examiner raises this interesting question about the new Bush administration rule that expands medical practitioner’s ability to refuse care based on "conscience."

Politics aside, however, pondering this new legislation brings up some
questions. For example, why would a health care worker take a job where
procedures they opposed were being performed? Does the regulation mean
a health care worker can actually refuse to provide or refer a patient
to care elsewhere for the care that violates their beliefs.. and does
that violate the Hippocratic Oath?

What if this proposed
regulation applied to other industries? Could a vegetarian waiter or
waitress opt out of serving meet to customers? Or should that server
simply find work in a vegetarian restaurant? Does this regulation give
additional support to conscientious objectors who seek not to fight in
a war because of their personal, moral, or religious grounds?

protecting certain beliefs is not something that should be addressed at
work at all. When we go to work, we effectively “sell” our skills—for
money–to our employer. Part of this transaction is that we obey the
policies and procedures of that workplace regardless of how we feel
about them. If we don’t like it, we can seek employment elsewhere. 

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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The Chicago Post-Tribune notes that the growing opposition to contraception, access to which could still be threatened by these new rule changes, by many of those working against abortion also are is not a good thing because "without contraception, unwanted pregnancies — and thus the number of abortions — will skyrocket."  The same article notes that "a recent Centers for Disease Control report indicates that abortion
rates have fallen by 50 percent over the last 15 years in the United

The CDC researchers said the drastic reduction is attributable to
greater access to contraception — not abstinence, which is preached by
some groups, including some Right to Life organizations.


The Seattle Times also has an editorial today on the final draft of the Bush administration’s proposed HHS rule change. 

Biden Never Refused Communion … Leaders in the Catholic Church have used the denial of sacraments as a political tool since the time of Constantine.  In the 2004 election Catholic bishops opined that Sen. John Kerry should be denied communion becuase of his political opinion that the choice to receive an abortion should be left to the woman whose body is carrying the fetus.  This opinion was offered despite John Kerry’s personal opposition to abortion. 

Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, is also a Catholic who is personally opposed to abortion but politically supports a woman’s right to make the decision to receive an abortion for herself.  The parish that Biden often attends near his home in Delaware has never denied him the sacrament of Communion:

Rebman said he understood Biden to be
personally opposed to abortion, but that he “doesn’t want to impose”
his views on others and often has voted with abortion rights
supporters. He added that some of the other parish priests and the
bishop of the diocese have spoken with him about his pro-choice votes,
but that they have never refused him Communion, as some other dioceses
have done.

“The bishop’s conference has left it to the individual bishops to decide how they want to handle it,” he said.

But since the Catholic church gives Bishops the right to decide when and when not to deny Communion there are, of course, Bishops who believe Biden should be denied Communion:

One outspoken prelate, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, said in
statement that Biden should refrain from taking communion because of
his stance.

Four years ago, Chaput and a few other U.S. bishops
drew notice for suggesting that Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry of Massachusetts should either be denied the Catholic sacrament
or not present himself for communion because of his abortion-rights

Mexico City Struggles to Provide Abortion Care Available to All … The New York Times published a feature yesterday on Mexico City’s struggle to make abortion care available to all women, including those with low income:

When Mexico City’s government made abortion
legal last year, it also set out to make it available to any woman who
asked for one. That includes the city’s poorest, who for years resorted
to illegal clinics and midwives as wealthy women visited private doctors willing to quietly end unwanted pregnancies.

But helping poor women gain equal access to the procedure has turned
out to be almost as complicated as passing the law, a watershed event
in this Catholic country and in a region where almost all countries
severely restrict abortions.

The struggle to make the service available may foreshadow a coming problem in the United States as a large part of the problem is finding medical practitioners who are willing to provide or assist in providing abortion care to women seeking it:

Since the city’s legislature voted for the law in April 2007, some 85 percent of the gynecologists in the city’s public hospitals
have declared themselves conscientious objectors. And women complain
that even at those hospitals that perform abortions, staff members are
often hostile, demeaning them and throwing up bureaucratic hurdles.

Women tell stories of discrimination and being treated like "prostitutes" when seeking abortion care in the city:

Alejandra, 24, who works for the city’s women’s institute, said that
when she went to get an abortion last year at a public hospital, a
social worker there told her that she would need to pay for her own
ultrasound, which is supposed to be free, and that she would need to be
accompanied by a family member. Scared off by the description of the
risks and the procedure, she fled the hospital.

She ended up
taking pills to induce an abortion, without seeing a doctor, and
developed a serious infection. She asked that only her first name be
used because she said she recently received a death threat for speaking
at a city event celebrating the new law. Another woman, a 27-year-old
high school literature teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said her friends told her that they were treated like prostitutes at
public hospitals. She also took abortion pills but said they were
ineffective, requiring her to visit a doctor to complete her abortion.

Study Finds Ideas About Sex Do Not Affect HPV Vaccine Use … Some people, mostly abstinence-only advocate types, have argued that giving girls the cervical cancer preventing HPV vaccine would engourage sexual activity among those girls.  Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have found that parents do not share that concern:

The survey, by a team at the University of Texas Medical Branch at
Galveston, appears to refute the perception that mothers who opt
against their daughters receiving the vaccine for the human
papillomavirus do so because they oppose sex before marriage.

"This is a decision about parenting, vulnerability and vaccine
attitudes, not sexuality," said Susan Rosenthal, a UTMB pediatric
psychologist and the study’s lead author. "Mothers who haven’t had
their daughter vaccinated yet most often said they want more time to
learn about the vaccine."

‘Extended Cycle’ Contraception Garnering More Interest … The Washington Post has published a look at the growing number of women choosing ‘extended cycle’ contraception that reduces "monthly withdrawal bleeding just four times a year — or not at all."  

"In the last 10 years, there really has been almost a revolutionary
change in the opinions and the views of women regarding menstruation,"
observed Dr. Lee P. Shulman, professor and chief of reproductive
genetics in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern
University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. 

"It’s not just the more mature reproductive women desiring fewer
withdrawal bleeds," said Shulman, immediate past chair of the ARHP.
"Now that’s becoming a more common desire among even younger women
seeking hormonal contraception.

And some women have liked their experience using these longer cycle contraceptives because they can treat the side effects of mensturation, yet one more example of contraception treating a medical condition:

Some women who try extended cycling really like it, because it reduces
symptoms such as headache and bloating that occur during the placebo
week, Murphy said. And there’s some theoretical speculation that
overall birth control effectiveness might be improved when women
continue to use hormone-containing pills, she added.