I’ve followed a conversation on another birth blog about religion, and someone brought up the “conscience clause” which prevents people from being forced to perform or recommend certain services or medications against their consciences. The general feeling among the commenters was that people should check their religion at the door, not allow their religion to dictate their actions, and/or be forced or required to go against their consciences and/or religion in certain matters. Whether you are for or against people being able to conscientiously refuse to participate in abortions, or with drugs that may be abortifacient, you need to read the rest of this article, because believe it or not, it does affect you.
With drugs like “the morning after pill” and chemical abortions and abortifacients available, plus the very popular hormonal birth control in various forms (pills, patches, rings, shots), not to mention IUDs and surgical abortions, gynecologists as well as pharmacists are having to invoke this “conscience clause” to keep from having to act against their conscience and beliefs.
Many people wonder “what’s the big deal?” and also point out that all the above things are perfectly legal, and many people think that the woman’s “right to choose” overrides the physician’s or pharmacist’s right to choose.
Here’s the deal — a new human life begins at conception — when a living human sperm fertilizes a living human egg, a new human being begins. That is an undeniable scientific and medical fact — the only people who try to deny it are either ignorant of basic science or so caught up in their religion of abortion that they refuse to believe the truth. When that life ought to be protected is a philosophical or religious discussion. But that the fertilized egg is a new human creature is undeniable.
Those who invoke the conscience clause do so because they take the fact that a new human life begins at conception and combine it with their belief that human life should be protected. Many times this belief comes from a religious source, but some agnostics and atheists also believe that human life should be protected at every stage of life. (These people will also be completely opposed to the death penalty, as an example; although some may allow the death penalty as a just punishment for certain crimes.) And since human life begins at conception, these people (whether religious or not) will be firmly against abortion, or any form of “birth control” that may possibly allow conception without allowing the pregnancy to continue — which every form of birth control other than true contraceptives (such as wearing a condom) does carry that possibility. To ask such a person to prescribe birth control which has a back-up function of not allowing the conceptus to implant into the uterine wall is to ask that person to participate in the destruction of a human life.
What if religion weren’t involved? What if it were solely based on one’s personal conscience and belief, apart from religion? What if abortion (and potentially abortifacient birth control methods) weren’t the topic? What if it were something else that some people’s consciences revolt from? What if a doctor who disliked circumcision was required to perform them? What if someone who conscientiously objected to killing animals and/or eating meat was going to be forced to participate in their slaughter and/or eat meat? What if you as a parent had decided that you didn’t want to give your child any vaccine, or only select vaccines on your own timetable, but were going to be forced to comply with industry “recommendations” against your conscientious decision? What if a doctor who objected to the death penalty was going to be required to administer the lethal dose of drugs to the convicted murderer? Would you think his conscience should be overridden, simply because the death penalty is legal, and many people think it is a good thing to have? What if a doctor or pharmacist who objected to euthanasia was going to be required to prescribe, dispense, or administer a lethal dose of medication to someone else? Should the person’s “right to die” override the doctor’s or pharmacist’s conscience not to be involved in his or her death?
While you may be very mad that doctors are not required to participate in abortions, or at least to refer their patients out to someone else who does, you should be glad that they are not required to do things against their consciences. And here’s an analogy, if you still think that they should be required to at least tell their patients where they can go to get an abortion, if they themselves won’t perform one: What if a gun dealer wouldn’t sell somebody a gun or ammunition because he was threatening to kill somebody, but he was required to tell that person where he could go to get the lethal weapon or ammo? He would still have facilitated a murder, even if he did not perform it himself, nor was a direct accomplice to it.
Requiring doctors and pharmacists to prescribe or dispense medications, or to perform or refer out for abortions, when they believe that dispensing those medications or having an abortion is murder, because it is the willful destruction of a human life, is requiring them to become either a murderer or an accomplice to murder in their own minds and consciences. I daresay you would not want to feel like a murderer, so you shouldn’t want them to feel that way, either. If you try to eliminate their conscience clause today, you may very well find that your conscience clause is eliminated tomorrow — and you wouldn’t want that!
Filed under: abortion, birth control, contraception, Uncategorized | Tagged: abortion, baby, birth control, conception, conscience clause, conscientious objector, contraception, contraceptive, death penalty, embryo, fetus, lethal injection, pregnancy, pregnant, pro-choice, pro-life, religion, religious, zygote |