Sunday, August 13, 2006

Medieval Pennsylvania

This is the 21st century, isn't it? Women do have rights, don't they? A doctor in Lebanon Country, Pa, doesn't think so.

A firestorm of controversy has erupted over a young woman who was denied emergency contraception after she said she was raped.

The emergency room doctor in this case said it is against his religious beliefs to give out what has been called the morning after pill, even after a rape. The morning after pill is a high dose of birth control medicine that can prevent pregnancy.

The doctor was quoted as saying:

Dr. Martin Gish, a Mennonite, was quoted in a local newspaper saying, "The dilemma I have is the whole rape issue. Which side are you more concerned with? Are you more concerned about the mother or the life that was possibly created? That's my dilemma."
Reading between the lines, it would seem that the doctor has a problem with rape. I'm not sure what the "dilemma" is.

And obviously, he is more concerned with the possible creation of life that the welfare of the woman. And why would that be? Why is this such a dilemma? Perhaps it is because a woman's life or welfare is less important than her serving her purpose. To procreate.

Or maybe he thinks we live in Afghanistan, where a woman who is raped is accused of adultery.

And I guess is doesn't matter that the "woman" involved is a child. Or that she had forced intercourse. Or that she was brutalized in a way that most rape victims describe as a "little death". That she will never look at the world or people in the same way. That she will never really trust again. If you want to read a first person account of what rape does to a woman, go to BB's blog, The Den of the Biting Beaver. She explains it more elegantly than I ever could.

The concern here is that this doctor is forcing his beliefs on his patients. And while one might question that a patient can go to another doctor, this guy is an emergency room physician. Most people going into an emergency room don't have a choice. That sort of if the definition of an emergency.

My beliefs about abortion have always been if you don't like abortion, don't have one. Personally, I'm not completely comfortable with abortion, but I am less comfortable with anyone dictating what a person should do with her own body. Especially a rape victim.

There is a bill being introduced in the Pennsylvania house to require hospitals to rectify this. Personally, if you're a physician who doesn't like emergency contraceptives, then you shouldn't be working an emergency room.

1 comment:

Claire said...

It's not just PA. What's rather insidious are the Catholic funded hospitals which refuse emergency contraception for rape victims as well as a host of other services for women. The money to fund a hospital becomes enough to force religious beliefs on others without having to deal with laws at all. Hopefully the bill in PA will start rectifying that.