Bioethics, conscience, emergency contraception, human rights, morning after pill, philosophy, Plan B, politics, public policy, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Sexually Transmitted Infections

>Give me liberty or give me condoms!

>Where are the condom squads who go around making sure that every grocery store, drug store, and 24 hour convenience store stocks latex condoms and the appropriate lubricants, “at all times”? Condoms are a much more basic public health issue than Plan B, which only works (when it works) for about 5 days in the woman’s cycle.

Siricou Raven is keeping the conversation alive as to whether or not pharmacists should be forced to stock and dispense all legal medicines. She asks,

What is the difference between a pharmacist refusing to distribute contraception because it offends his own morality, and one refusing to dispense HIV medication because it offends his own morality?

Treating disease has never been controversial. Have you ever heard of a doctor or pharmacist who refuses to treat syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia? Have you noticed any that have ceased doing Pap smears since we learned that abnormal Paps are due to a Sexually Transmitted Disease, Human Papilloma Viruses that are only transmitted by sexual contact?

(I do know a pulmonologist – a lung specialist – who will not take on patients who smoke. I could draw all sorts of parallels between sex and smoking, but I’ll leave that to you.)

At issue is the very basic question is that of the “unalienable” individual right to liberty, expressed as following the conscience.

As Judge Lawrence wrote in the Injunction, the Washinton State law is very clear on the right to conscience and freedom to practice religion.

There is no reason to carve out contraception and “reproductive health” (a Newspeak term, if I ever heard one) as a special, protected class of medicines, devices and procedures.

For that matter, why on earth would any woman who doesn’t want to become pregnant have sex without two or more contraceptives in hand/body before the act itself and/or know her fertile periods? If men didn’t have the back up insurance of abortion, I’d bet they would be more careful, too. (Rape is an Emergency Room issue – the ER doc and SANE nurse can dispense and counsel on fertility risk, right along with prophylaxis for STD’s).

While I’m ranting:

Ethics lesson 1: Life trumps liberty, since pretty much everything else depends on being alive.

Ethics lesson 2: The only reason the State should force action from a citizen is in cases of life and death. Each law that is enforced puts the citizen’s life and liberty at risk, since the enforcement will involve the real and virtual guns of the State. There is a long history of recognizing the relationship between the right to own property and the right to liberty. If the State may take the property or restrict the livelihood of a person, the person is at risk of prison or hunger and is not free.

Ethics lesson 3: People who will do acts that they believe morally wrong for any reason other than to save lives (to stay out of jail, keep their jobs or avoid controversy) are either unethical people or insane. And I’m not too sure about the people who would force them, either.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

Discussion

4 thoughts on “>Give me liberty or give me condoms!

  1. >"Have you ever heard of a doctor or pharmacist who refuses to treat syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia? Have you noticed any that have ceased doing Pap smears since we learned that abnormal Paps are due to a Sexually Transmitted Disease, Human Papilloma Viruses that are only transmitted by sexual contact?"Nope. But it *could* happen. Even as nothing more than a possibility, its a worry. Do you really want pharmacists to have that ability, even if few or none choose to make use of it?"I do know a pulmonologist – a lung specialist – who will not take on patients who smoke."I couldn't judge that situation without more information. My mother is a respitory nurse, and grumbles quite a bit about the smokers – but is this a moral issue, or a medical one? There is a world of difference between 'I won't treat this patient because they refuse to follow my medical insturction to stop smoking' and 'I won't treat this patient because they are suffering the consequences for their immoral smoking.'"For that matter, why on earth would any woman who doesn't want to become pregnant have sex without two or more contraceptives in hand/body before the act itself and/or know her fertile periods?"A fundamental rule: People are Stupid. Some are uneducated, some get caught up in the moment, some just have poor judgement. Human emotions do not lend themselves to a rational weighing up of cost-benefit ratios. People are capable of some amazing feats of mental gymnastics when they really want to do something they know they shouldn't. Its not practical nor sensible to protect everyone from their mistakes, but at least some effort should be made to reduce their number and impact."People who will do acts that they believe morally wrong…"Is anyone fit to judge their own morality? Pick just about any infamous person, and they are probably the hero in their own eyes.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | November 18, 2007, 12:32 am
  2. >We don't make laws because "it could happen." We make laws that limit the freedom of citizens to protect the life and liberty of all citizens.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | November 18, 2007, 6:47 pm
  3. >Only in the libertarian version of utopia.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | November 18, 2007, 9:00 pm
  4. >(correct me if I'm wrong, but you're from the UK, right?)Those of us familiar with our Nation's history , understand that the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution is very limiting of government.Our government is just to the right of libertarian. The Constitution of the US is supposed to protect citizens from Government and from the harmful actions of others, not themselves. And though they've been redirected more and more these days, our civil rights laws were designed to protect citizens from the State, not to interfere between individuals or between citizens and private agencies.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | November 19, 2007, 12:34 am

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