Conservative Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists Create ‘Death Panels’ by Abusing Conscience Clause
Conscience is the judgment or intuition that allows human beings to distinguish right from wrong, and they are affected by social norms, principles, and religious beliefs acquired throughout a person’s lifetime. In 1973, Congress enacted conscience clauses to protect medical professionals after the Roe v. Wade decision, and since then, several iterations have surfaced to protect healthcare providers who object to birth control, stem cell research, sterilization such as vasectomies or hysterectomies, and any legal medical procedure that goes against religious dogma. There has always been fear that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and first responders would use conscience clause protection to refuse medical care based on bigotry, and according to a lawsuit in New Jersey, those fears are not unfounded.
A gay and HIV-positive man is suing a New Jersey Catholic hospital for denying him his HIV medicine for “going against god’s will.” The court complaint says the hospital did not honor the man’s request for lifesaving medication and denied visitation rights to his sister. The hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s “Reverance for Life” policy is to “Recognize and respect the dignity and value of life in every stage and condition,” and its mission is providing “excellent, compassionate healthcare to the people and communities we serve, including those among us who are poor and vulnerable;” unless they are gay.