Letters to the Editor

Religion shouldn’t affect health care services

Withholding medical procedures from patients that want it is about power, not medicine. The only religious values that matter in a doctor-patient relationship are, frankly, the patient’s.

When you decide to become a doctor, you are not deciding on a career path. You are deciding upon a community path. You’ve learned a set of skills that we all need.  Expecting patients to match your religious viewpoint (around issues as sensitive as survival, family planning and a peaceful passing) is wrong. Go do something else. Leave the stresses of being a doctor to those with open-mindedness. There are many people who set parameters around making their services available to others. I could offer a dance class, for example, that requires women to wear dresses! But it’s different when you’re a doctor. You can get through life without knowing how to dance. You cannot get through life with an untreated ectopic pregnancy.

From what I’ve read, the Franciscan Health System has a  five- to 10-year process for bringing newly acquired medical facilities into full compliance with their religious doctrine. Think they won’t do it? Think again. On March 13, a battle over reproductive services exploded in Barcelona. Apparently, when the head of gynecology is not completely pro-life, this alone is “proof” that abortions, sterilizations and the morning-after pill will be offered. Simon Castellvi has a solution: Only put pro-life doctors in charge of gynecology at Catholic hospitals and then implement social services, family care services and education in natural family planning.

Believing that the Catholic Church will offer “unlimited” access to medical procedures and legally available medicines is naive. Want to protect a doctor’s right to have a personal opinion and still get hired?  Want everyone to have access to legal medical services? Then speak up now.

— March Twisdale

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