Professional Responsibility

May 28, 2008

Let me see if I have this straight. A group of extremist legislators want to insure that a state-licensed pharmacist is not required to sell birth control pills to women, if he simply believes they may be contributing to an abortion. I don’t wish to engage in reductio ad absurdum, but doesn’t this principle protect a midwife from treating a single mother-to-be, if she believes the mother behaved immorally? Is a nurse protected from administering anti-HIV drugs to an AIDS patient whose gay lifestyle he believes is an abomination? Does the protection extend to a Emergency Room physician who withholds treatment from a critically ill Republican legislator, if he sees him as the Spawn of Satan? Wouldn’t the more reasonable approach be that if anyone who feels he may be unable to fulfill his publicly licensed responsibility due to moral objections, just find another occupation that would not put his convictions in conflict? Judging the morality of our fellow human beings is better left to a higher authority. In the immortal words of Hank Williams, “Mind your own business.”

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