HEALTH, PETITIONS — BY JOSH SAGER ON JUNE 3, 2012 2:00 AM
Sign the Petition: http://forcechange.com/22696/stop-oklahoma-doctors-from-legally-refusing-contraception-to-rape-victims/
Target: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
Goal: Oklahoma must not allow doctors to refuse contraception to rape victims.
The law of the state of Oklahoma currently has a “conscience clause”, protecting healthcare providers who refuse to provide a specific service to a patient based upon personal beliefs. If a doctor, nurse or pharmacist believes a service or procedure to be immoral or antithetical to their personal morality, they cannot be forced to provide it or be punished for refusing service.
A state “conscience clause” is a serious issue, because it threatens the integrity of women’s health wherever it is part of the law. Christian fundamentalists dislike contraception and abortion, thus areas with large amounts of religious ideologues can become areas where women’s healthcare is virtually unavailable.
A concrete example of this problem can be seen in the recent case at Canadian Valley Hospital, where a raped woman was denied contraception and a rape kit. A woman, whose name is currently being held private, went to the hospital for treatment of injuries from a rape, as well as for emergency contraception. Once at the hospital, hospital personnel – a doctor and a nurse – refused to give the woman either emergency contraception or a rape kit; this refusal was justified through a citing of the state “conscience clause” and a statement that their personal consciences reject emergency contraception pills. The raped woman eventually traveled to another hospital and received both contraception and a rape kit, but this does not diminish the problem created by the conscience clause.
This petition is directed at Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and is intended to convince her to advocate the removal of the conscience clause from the state law. People who become doctors and nurses should utilize every treatment and medication necessary to benefit their patients, regardless of their personal religious beliefs. Doctors who don’t want to treat patients because certain treatments conflict with their religion, should switch fields, become researchers or specialize in a field of medicine which removes them from needing to provide the controversial service (similar to how doctors who don’t agree with stem cells, self-select away from that particular area of medicine).
Dear Governor Mary Fallin,
Oklahoma law currently contains a conscience clause for healthcare providers (See: OK-SB 1878), creating a situation where women’s health services has become compromised. Women in Oklahoma who require contraception, particularly if they were raped, deserve access to all legal medical services, restrained only by their own moral codes (rather than the codes of religious medical providers).
Regardless of ones’ beliefs on contraception, for as long as it is legal, all medical professionals should be required to provide it to their patients upon request. Medical professionals who do not desire to be required to provide certain services should simply specialize in areas of medicine which do not put them in the position to violate their consciences.
The “conscience” provision does not benefit the public and can only lead to the imposition of a doctor’s religious views over the choices of female patients. I implore you to push for a change in the law of your state; demand that the legislature amend the law to remove the conscience exemption and protect the rights of female patients across Oklahoma.
[Your Name Here]
[Your Name Here]