Stepping into the world of Social Work
I just came across this from the Family Research Council.
According to the information on the event:
On March 22nd, 1972, the Supreme Court undermined the boundaries and benefits of marriage. In the decision Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court struck down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, and implicitly sanctioned unmarried non-procreative sexual intimacy.
Does this really sound like freedom?
A free society, in my opinion, permits individuals and doctors to make medical decisions based on science and the individual’s moral, ethical, and religious beliefs, not that of the state. I’ll even give the doctor an out from prescribing what he doesn’t approve of, so long as s/he is willing to provide a referral to another doctor, though I would be personally very uncomfortable with the idea of an OB/GYN who refused to prescribe birth control medication.
The “logic” appears to be that the availability of birth control somehow discourages marriage. While I consider marriage a great choice. I don’t see how people are going to decide to get married simply because they can’t get birth control without a marriage license.
Two articles on the birth control issue caught my eye today, both indicating that reproductive rights advocates are correct in pushing back.
The first is Mitt Romney, stating that he’ll “get rid” of Planned Parenthood. This is very troubling for a number of reasons, but the biggest concern comes from the very arguments of those who are attacking the recent health insurance mandate and even coming up with new legislation allowing ANY employer to opt out for vague conscience reasons. They claim that employers should be able to do this to protect their freedom of religion, and the employee can just go to Planned Parenthood.
Well if these same people had their way, Planned Parenthood wouldn’t even exist! You can’t rely on something in one argument that you are actively seeking to eliminate in another.
Second, an Arizona law requiring that women obtaining birth control prescriptions may be expected to prove to their employer that there is a medical need. The Huffington Post article does a good job of explaining it. The picture above was going round as a “permission slip for contraception coverage,” which made the concern quite clear. And despite Rachel Larimore’s column on Slate claiming it is insulting and misleading, our fears have turned out to be right on!
It is clear that if we allow the Right to have their way, women will not receive the medical care they need. They are far more concerned about the poor embattled employer having to buck up and provide health care coverage that meets a standard determined by medical and public health experts, rather than religious leaders. Yes, a few exemptions should exist, but they would be for actual churches, not giant universities or hospital chains. Very small employers are also exempt from these mandates, protecting those businesses, as well.
I haven’t blogged about it yet, but most people who know me are aware that my father was hospitalized at the beginning of February with a serious illness. Dad is 77, and enjoyed very good health until a shoulder injury some time back and a heart valve replacement a few years ago.
He first reported a number of non-specific symptoms and was hospitalized. I wasn’t notified until almost a week later. I arrived at the hospital to find Dad looking pretty scary. He was able to talk, however, and was particularly concerned about giving me the passwords to their online services to help my mom with the bills. I believe he felt at the time he had suffered a stroke.
A few days later, I get a call from my mom that Dad had been taken to ICU and placed on a ventilator to “give his lungs a rest.” I was notified a week or so later that they were choosing to do a tracheotomy for the ventilator. What I heard indirectly, and from those discussions I’ve been able to have directly with the doctors, is that he has lymphoma or something in the non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, or bone marrow cancer family. The most confusing thing is that the most troubling symptoms are not cancer symptoms, rather the neurological symptoms (such as not being able to breathe!). It was another couple of weeks before I really fully understood the true nature of the situation.
After a week or two in ICU, he was moved to another ward, and improvement was very limited. My last visit to him at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital was rather troubling, as he couldn’t use his voice, but was clearly trying to talk to me. My aunt, who had been able to visit during times where he could cap his ventilator and use his voice, was telling me that he was increasingly less rational in what he did say, for example demanding that she take him home immediately. The nurses confirmed that they were noticing this, too.
Having a professor who is a medical social worker in this situation was amazingly comforting. Dr. Joosten, my Social Welfare instructor, helped me understand that many senior patients exhibit some loss of rationality simply due to the length of stay and the nature of such intense care. Medications, sleep deprivation, lighting and many other factors may have something to do with this, and even has the name of ICU psychosis or ICU syndrome.
In addition, I was finally given a diagnosis beyond the cancer which helped me understand the neurological symptoms. Apparently, whichever cancer he has, or a number of trivial viral conditions he could have caught over the winter,, triggered Guillain-Barre syndrome. GBS is a serious autoimmune condition, in which the body starts attacking parts of the nervous system.
The bad news, of course, is how serious these conditions are. The good news is that neither is an automatic death sentenc
I’ve been following the birth control debate pretty closely, as can
probably be shown by my having devoted two whole posts to it, and am considering another about Rush Limbaugh’s ridiculous rants and attacks on a woman, a Georgetown law student who intended to testify on the issue.
We all have the right to our own religious views. However, our rights can be somewhat limited by time and place, as well as the rights of other people. For example, employees can be limited in their speech (including religious) during their paid hours, if that behavior conflicts with the interests of the employer. My co-workers’ right to peace and my employers expectation of productivity do create limits to my hypothetical right to evangelize at work.
An employer, according to US law, also has to accept certain boundaries relative to their religion and employees. Most businesses cannot refuse to hire someone who does not happen to attend the same church as the owner. A few exceptions to that are actual places of worship, possibly very small businesses, and I’m sure a few others are recognized.
So the idea of a “conscience exception” for businesses that are not actively religious in nature is inherently wrong. An employer has no religious rights over his/her employees. A shop owner who didn’t believe in blood transfusions would be considered laughable if they attempted to remove that particular medical treatment in a health insurance plan. So why is birth control fair game? If it were hearing aids or blood pressure medication, the discussion would be much saner (I would hope).
Some would say that it’s the employer’s choice and you don’t have to take or keep the job if the benefits are not sufficient. That is a possible course of action, but I have yet to have an employer give me the details of their insurance plan ahead of time, so it isn’t like the information is available during salary negotiations. Some (most?) employers even require you to work 3 or 6 months before you become eligible, making you put in real time, perhaps only to learn that an important part of your compensation does not meet your needs. So the “free market” does not solve this problem.
We have a major problem with health care in this country. The only solution our legislature was able to get through was a modest plan to increase the percentage of people with insurance coverage. The only way this will help is if we also allow experts (medical and public health experts, not bishops or rabbis) to define what a basic, comprehensive plan looks like.
It is clear that people who speak from a “moral” or a political point of view are deliberately lying and confusing the issue.
Dear Mr. Limbaugh,
I hate to waste space and time to you on my blog, but I just had to say my piece about your ridiculous comments on birth control and the recent hearings.
First, the issue is not about giving anyone money. It is about insurance covering FDA approved medications that are legally prescribed by a doctor. Covering any of these medications should be no more controversial than covering those for erectile dysfunction.
It is also not about what we have to pay for as taxpayers. It is about what a “comprehensive medical insurance package” looks like. If employers do not provide this, they are increasing the risk that you and I will indeed end up paying for medical care that could have been avoided through good preventative coverage. For example, not covering cholesterol medications now will lead to expensive heart procedures later.
This isn’t an entitlement issue. University students pay for their medical insurance along with their tuition (I can provide the evidence – my own bills from USC if you like). Employees typically receive their insurance as part of their compensation package, with their “contribution” deducted from their salary). I don’t see the taxpayer involved anywhere here.
It isn’t even about supposedly promiscuous college students. Contraceptive medication is medically indicated for many medical issues, including painful ovarian and menstrual conditions. These same medications would be prescribed even if the woman were a cloistered nun. They must be taken daily to work properly, whether the woman is sexually active or celibate, unlike those for erectile dysfunction. Perhaps your familiarity with Viagra and similar medications is why you jumped to the conclusion that $3000 of medications over 3 years indicates “a lot of sex.”
You indicated that a particular woman’s family should be ashamed of her for her testimony. I submit they should be exceedingly proud. She was standing up for a friend and roommate who required a medical treatment the university was denying, even though the condition and the treatment are typically taboo.
Further, it is not about freedom of religion. Employers do not have the right to dictate their religious views to their employees. There are limited exceptions such as churches, but the idea is this: simply because an organization has some connection to a church does not make it exempt from labor laws. Do we allow employers to object “morally” to laws regarding rest and lunch breaks? Can they say their religion forbids them to pay overtime or a minimum wage? Can they ignore occupational health and safety regulations?
The important point is this: the patient, due to the university’s refusal to cover an FDA approved medication, required painful and expensive SURGERY. Medically and economically, this was an unacceptable outcome. This is what health care reform is about; recognizing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.