This should prove interesting:
Reporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.
Some examples of refusal to provide medication or procedures based on the conscientious objection of the provider are given. No details in the newspaper report, and I have about 20 questions for each presented, which boil down to ‘were there really no other viable alternatives but to insist one person go against their strongly held beliefs’?
I’ll now go out on a limb and say I don’t understand why medical professionals are not allowed to act, or refuse to act, based on their own beliefs, providing it results in no harm to the patient. (I am not advocating prostylitizing or any other unprofessional behavior). The argument ‘you’re allowed to believe anything you want but must do whatever the patient wants even if it goes directly against your beliefs’ I can buy, but it would have to be under very very rigorous conditions (a true emergency or unavoidable time limitations coupled with a lack of viable alternatives). We’re people, not automatons, with as much right to our own beliefs, and to have those beliefs respected, as anyone else.
To argue otherwise says you must jettison your own values and do whatever is asked. Medicine demands a lot; it shouldn’t include your soul.