Michigan Preparing To Let Doctors Refuse To Treat Gays

  1. Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House.
    The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

    The Republican dominated House passed the measure as dozens of Catholics looked on from the gallery. The Michigan Catholic Conference, which pushed for the bills, hosted a legislative day for Catholics on Wednesday at the state Capitol.

    The bills now go the Senate, which also is controlled by Republicans.

    The Conscientious Objector Policy Act would allow health care providers to assert their objection within 24 hours of when they receive notice of a patient or procedure with which they don't agree. However, it would prohibit emergency treatment to be refused.

    Three other three bills that could affect LGBT health care were also passed by the House Wednesday which would exempt a health insurer or health facility from providing or covering a health care procedure that violated ethical, moral or religious principles reflected in their bylaws or mission statement.

    Opponents of the bills said they're worried they would allow providers to refuse service for any reason. For example, they said an emergency medical technicians could refuse to answer a call from the residence of gay couple because they don't approve of homosexuality.

    Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) the first openly gay legislator in Michigan, pointed out that while the legislation prohibits racial discrimination by health care providers, it doesn't ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation.

    "Are you telling me that a health care provider can deny me medical treatment because of my sexual orientation? I hope not," he said.

    "I think it's a terrible slippery slope upon which we embark," said Rep. Jack Minore (D-Flint) before voting against the bill.

    Paul A. Long, vice president for public policy for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the bills promote the constitutional right to religious freedom.

    "Individual and institutional health care providers can and should maintain their mission and their services without compromising faith-based teaching," he said in a written statement.
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  3. by   hypnotic_nurse
    That is wrong on so many levels that I don't even know what to say.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I had to double check on the date of that article, it sounded like the doctors have the mindset of 1805, not 2005.

    Like i said, leave your own personal morals out of the workplace.
  5. by   TLC RN

    I don't think it is about refusing a gay person the right to medical treatment but is about for example a catholic refusing to participate in an abortion. They are just giving people who have religious beliefs the right to refuse to participate in something that goes against their religious beliefs. We have all seen this argument before...
  6. by   snowfreeze
    UH, I actually thought they always had that...just pass it along to another doc that didn't have a problem with it. Oh geeze...docs don't support each other anymore. Go figure, they have had most of their autonomy removed by the health care changes. NOt a good thing.
  7. by   Rep
    Totally wrong.
  8. by   NorthER,RN
    I am rather shocked! I know that we Canadians may seem pretty easy going here, (maybe even a bit socialist....) but I cannot imagine that Americans (Home of the Free) would allow a law that would permit or encourage a health care provider to discriminate on the grounds that they don't like a person's way of life. What century are we in?
    I have worked in hospitals outside of Canada, and lived as an itinerant in other countries so I am not a person without the understanding that each country has different values and ways and means of treating their citizens. However, it's hard for me to understand a health care system that does not provide care for everyone regardless of where they are on the social ladder. It just seems sort of like 1939 in Germany and some of the laws that were enacted that made sense to the Germans of that era. What's next, pink triangles on every gay person's clothes? I thought we knew better...

    In rereading this, I know that it sounds pretty strong - and perhaps because I am Canadian you may feel that I have no right to comment, however, as the United States goes, so goes Canada (it just takes us a while to catch up). My mom is American and she, my father and my brother all live in the US, so I do hear many sides to each argument. I just wonder what is next... and if I do not stand up for my brothers and sisters, then when they come for me, who will stand up for me....
    Last edit by NorthER,RN on Mar 28, '05 : Reason: thought it sounded a bit over the top
  9. by   meownsmile
    I have to agree with hypnotic, and marie. Totally rediculous.

    I guess i can deny care for a Jehovah's Witness then, i dont agree with their religious practices. Anyone want to deny care to a Catholic or Pentacostal? Geeezzzzz!
    Last edit by meownsmile on Mar 28, '05
  10. by   JWRN
    How sad is this? In this day and age. I think I would like to start refusing to care for patient's whose religion goes against mine. It did say religious grounds. It should work both ways. Ex. Christian can refuse to care for a Muslim or Jehovah's Witness because their religions do not mesh. I should be able to refuse to care for a heterosexual patient because I do not agree with their lifestyle, whose to say that the heterosexual lifestyle is the norm....

    This is just plan stupid, obviously people with nothing better to do than to think of ways to discriminate against a group of people...
  11. by   Tweety
    I guess it's not fair to tell an MD who he can and can not treat. I know a cardiologist who would fire cardiac patients who refused to quit smoking. I would however, draw the line with ER docs, they should require to treat all patients who present to them.

    Some of the best and largest hospitals around here are faith based. I wonder if they will exercise their religious freedom and refuse to admit homosexuals. (Of course a good deal of the staff is homosexuals, so they'd have to fire them, including my spouse).

    Would this extend to nurses, can nurses refuse to care for homosexuals?

    Gays here are very selective about who their doctors are. We learn through the grapevine, the press, gay yellow pages, the internet who is a gay doctor or a gay friendly doctor. I'm sure the gay folks in Michigan will get a data base of gay friendly MDs. I bet anything it would be much larger than the list of those whose faith doesn't allow them to be knowingly helping gay people.
  12. by   stidget99
    Hmmmmmmmmm. I disagree w/...um....let's see.....

    druggies/narc seekers
    fat people
    non-english speaking

    Of course I am being facetious. If this passes, what will happen to all people? No single group of people will be excluded. This is totally insane thinking!
  13. by   Butterfly03
    This is so crazy. What is this world coming to. I usually say nothing suprises me, but this caught me off guard.
  14. by   live4today
    How ASININE can they be! :angryfire What the he## is our society coming to? Everyone has a right to equal and fair treatment under the law. Jesus turned no one away for a healing. Who are those docs to deny a human being care! :angryfire I hope the country bands together in protest and keep such stupidity where it belongs............in a land of nonexistence! :angryfire

    There was a time when Black people were refused care by White physicians -- and others as well. To me, prejudice has never left our country. It is rearing its ugly head in many ways today, and if we are not careful, soon docs will refuse to treat anyone who isn't rich enough to afford their services.

    On that note.............I'm going to bed, and before I climb into bed I'm going to say a prayer for anyone who has a sick mentality like those docs who are going to refuse to treat ANY person based on their sexual preference. May God have mercy on their lost souls for being so prejudice!