This is the email (and the gist of the letters) I sent in response to: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2008pres/08/20080821reg.pdf
What’s missing in this regulation?
Oh, right – the patient – who has no choice about what sort of doctor to see for certain types of medical procedures, while doctors have lots of choices about what their medical specialties will be.
The patient doesn’t get to have a choice. For many women, we already have to travel long distances to get to any doctor who can or will perform necessary female medical procedures. In some cases, women have to travel out of state to get to the nearest doctor to help them – and, oh yeah – some states have made it a criminal offense for women to cross state lines for that kind of essential medical care.
Yes, sure, a woman could go to another provider – but only if she can find a doctor in her state that provides the health care she needs. We’re not talking just abortion here. You’ve stretched it to cover sterilization, too, but I bet you only mean only female sterilization. I haven’t seen word one about vasectomies and doctors protesting performing vasectomies. And female sterilization can be stretched to include birth control, because sterilization is the ultimate birth control.
Abortion is a legal medical procedure. We worked really hard to make it legal back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. OB-GYNs know when they start their training and education for obstetric and gynecological care that they will be performing every health care procedure regarding women’s health – and that includes D&Cs, abortions, sterilizations, birth control, hysterectomies, mastectomies, cesareans, and more. It’s not like they get blind-sided by these procedures after they become OB-GYNs. Pre-med and medical school students know – before they ever specialize in OB-GYN – what’s involved. If it bothers their conscience to perform the requirements of the job, they need to change specialties, not put a patient’s life in jeopardy.
Micheal Leavitt said: ”It is very closely focused on abortion and physician’s conscience” – completely disregarding the conscience and needs of the patient. This regulation is completely contemptuous of a woman’s conscience and her health care needs.
Women have very strong consciences. If we didn’t, a good many of us would walk away from our children when things got tough, really tough. That so few women abandon their children is proof right there, loud and clear, that women have highly developed consciences. When a woman chooses to have an abortion, she’s already given it a great deal of thought – long before she was impregnated by some man, long before she was even capable of being impregnated – and she’ll think about it and ponder the moral and spiritual and ethical issues surrounding it long after she’s past menopause and incapable of childbearing. It consumes us in the most unexpected moments and it’s never far from our thoughts. Anything can trigger it – from a cute little homeless kitten to our best friend’s new baby to our own menstrual cycle.
No woman makes an uninformed choice or a casual choice to abort or keep a baby, or to choose to be sterilized. Her decision hinges on so many factors men can’t even comprehend because they never will be in a position where they have to make that decision. Men may want to make that decision, may assume the right to make that decision, may even think it is their privilege to make that decision, but they will never, ever be in a place where they have to make that decision and live with it for the rest of their lives. Men do not have to bear any of the consequences of their choice.
They may claim they do, but honestly, as long as they can just walk away from a pregnant woman, can kill a pregnant woman just because they don’t want the child she carries (which I personally find more horrific than an abortion), can beat and abuse and neglect a pregnant woman just because they want to, they will never understand why women must be allowed to make this choice – morally, ethically, spiritually, and physically.
When given the choice, most women will choose to birth the child a man impregnated her with.
What it comes down to in this regulation is that men don’t want women to choose to not be mothers.
If that weren’t so, then sterilization wouldn’t even be mentioned here.
There are no provisions in this regulation for assisting women who have been denied essential women’s health care. None. The patient is a complete non-entity here. We are their patients, who have a right to expect safe and expert medical care from the people we pay to provide that care – and as the employer of these doctors, I insist that we receive complete quality care. It’s our conscience, our health, our bodies, our lives you’re playing with here. I protest the anti-woman attitude espoused by forcing women to live without essential health care because it all comes down to this final fact:
This regulation takes away a woman’s right to be childless.
Please, don’t allow this regulation to come into force as written.
The email address is: email@example.com – put “Provider Conscience Regulation” in the subject line, if you wish to make a comment. And while you’re at it, email or write your state legislators and anyone else you think can influence this.