Thursday, March 20, 2008

Government Says Women Must Get Belief-Based Medical Care


Photo by Anosmia

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt calls on the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology to reject a new ACOG opinion (# 385) which states that physicians have a duty to refer patients in a timely manner to other providers if they're unable to provide evidenced-based reproductive care to their patients.

Leavitt frets about the conscience and other individual rights of health care providers and, correctly, points out that there are federal laws in place to protect Ob/Gyns who practice belief-based medicine and provide substandard care. He's also concerned about the serious economic harm [that might be caused] to good practitioners.

No word yet from the Health and Human Services Secretary on his concerns about the conscience and other individual rights of female patients and the serious physical and economical harm caused by being denied access to adequate medical care.

Not that the rights and quality of medical care of women of reproductive age should be any concern of the Health and Human Services Secretary. After all, unlike for any other class of people in this country, only for women with a certain anatomy and physiology is it considered acceptable public policy and public discourse to legislate and advocate for belief-based care and imminent danger of loss of limb or life as a condition of receiving medical care.


The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology responds and assures Mike Leavitt that practicing evidence-based medicine and making sure patients have access to proper medical are in no way, shape or form factor[s] in the decision about board certification.

Not satisfied with this appalling lowering of standards, Health and Human Services Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Don Wright said that the Government still hope[s] that [ACOG] would revisit their position and give up altogether on the idea that belief-based medicine shouldn't be the standard of care for female patients of reproductive age.

I realize that in the current climate there are many issues--race relations, the war, etc.--competing for your attention. So all I'll ask you to do is to pause for a moment and image what would happen in this country if the Government and a medical specialty certification board came out and said that it is acceptable not to provide proper medical care to a segment of the population just because they are black, or they had their prostate removed, or are natural blonds. Inconceivable, no?

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