Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We Need "Conscience Laws" For This???

The religious bigots in both Canada and the US have been crying for so-called "Freedom of Conscience" rules/laws for medical practitioners.

I have said before that such laws will be used as a cloak behind which the free practice of bigotry and discrimination can be practiced. Even without such laws, we find things like this happening in Canada:

Andrea Markowski said she and her partner Ginette were stunned when the Winnipeg doctor told them during a "meet-and-greet" appointment she was uncomfortable accepting them as patients and had never treated "people like you" before.

The doctor said she only treated "husbands and wives," said Markowski, who is legally married to her partner of 18 years.

"It was like a kick in the stomach," said Markowski, who just moved to the city from the Northwest Territories. "It was definitely a traumatic and unexpected experience ... She is a doctor who is paid with public funds.

"I have a really hard time understanding how her religion affects her ability to care for me as a human being."

It gets worse...:

Dr. Kamelia Elias did not return phone calls seeking comment. But she told the Winnipeg Free Press that she has no experience treating gays and lesbians who have "sexual problems" and "a lot of diseases and infections."

Oh good grief. The classic line dredged up from the bottom of the swamps about GLBT people every time someone religious is looking for an excuse to justify their desire to be prejudicial and discriminatory.

Then we get the following bit of apologia from the clinic's medical director:

Gwozdecki said Elias interviewed the couple, took their medical history and had already initiated the doctor-patient relationship when one of the women asked Elias if she had a problem with their same-sex relationship.

Gwozdecki said Elias was upfront with her religious beliefs — which are opposed to homosexuality — and dis­closed she has not had exposure to les­bian patients.

Now, how comfortable or trusting of a doctor who has said "my religious beliefs declare you sinful" do you think those patients can possibly be? There's a clear message when the doctor says something like that - it's 'get lost'.

Yes, I accept that a doctor has some right to filter their patient list to those that they feel they can work with. But, when the grounds for refusing a patient are purely based upon a 'religious objection', but just as I cannot refuse someone service because of their religion, it cuts the other way - they cannot refuse me service because of their religion, or my own for that matter. Faith is a matter of personal freedom - to project it upon others is simply wrong.

In some ways, this is the absolute worst case scenario that could suddenly be "protected" under the auspices of so called "freedom of conscience" rules for medical practitioners. Finding a doctor is difficult enough these days, it is doubly so for GLBT folk precisely because of these kinds of behaviours.


Anonymous said...

The doctor said she didn't know how to treat lesbians???

What in hell was she thinking? Does she think lesbians are dogs or pigs and she would need extra vetrinary training?

How about just treating them like human beings? I guess that would be too much to expect from a doctor with fundamentalist beliefs.

Send that sk*%# back to Egypt. She has no right to practice medicine in Canada if she can't treat everyone as a human being.

VĂ©ronique said...

I sincerely hope we never have any such laws. Same as for a justice of the peace or a pharmacist, if a doctor can't treat patients, all patients, then the doctor is in the wrong business.

Ignorance like that shown by this woman will not help the cause of foreign-trained doctors who want to practise in Canada.