Conscience Clauses: Whose Conscience are We Keeping Clean?

My latest piece for what once was Sirens magazine and is now

When pro-life crusaders aim to prevent abortions, they paint a picture in the public mind of the irresponsible, selfish woman, using words like “abortion on demand” and “abortion as birth control.” They don’t talk about the realities of women’s reproductive health, and the full consequences of denying medical treatment in order to discourage sexual indiscretion. They don’t address all the ways in which the process of conceiving and bearing a child can go wrong, and all the measures that must be taken when and if that happens.

Apparently the proponents of such“conscience clauses” as are now applied to pharmacists like the one in the news story above would rather not make those distinctions. But the cost of preserving this black-and-white worldview may be women’s lives. Apparently it’s more important to find outwhy a woman is bleeding to death than to stop her from dying. So as to keep one’s conscience, of course, perfectly clear.


4 thoughts on “Conscience Clauses: Whose Conscience are We Keeping Clean?

  1. Is there a “conscience clause” for pro-lifers in the military? I always thought that taking the Ten Commandments seriously was grounds for separation from the service. Next we’re going to see anti-obesity fanatics refusing the refill insulin prescriptions. If you can’t in good conscience do the job quit.

  2. We have had “Good Samaritan” laws in this and other states for many years.
    Now with the Bush expansion of the Provider Refusal Rule we have a “Bad Samaritan” law that protects those who choose to withhold life saving treatment.

  3. I’m pretty sure a court would only enforce a “freedom of conscience” rule for someone ostensibly christian messing with the life of a woman who they believed to be sexually active. My belief that erectile dysfunction is a judgment from god, for example, could not possibly be the result to honest religious belief.

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