Saturday, February 04, 2006

Civil disobedience or something else?

There is no trend here that I have two posts in a row dealing with pregnancy but the Lawrence Journal World today reported the latest on a growing trend- pharmacists and other medical workers refusing to treat or give substandard care to patients who are asking for treatments or medication that the patient requested. Commonly as in this case a pharmacist refuses to dispense emergency contraception because he or she is morally opposed to it.

Now I am all for people living their lives according to moral principles but it seems that there is another principle that this has to balanced against, namely the rights of patients to medical treatment that is in their own interest. Medical professionals do have an obligation here to be non judgmental. After all the patient is living his or her life based on some set of values, so unless the patient is doing something medically risky to the patient, the medical professional should fulfill the request.

The pharmacist's actions are not, as some might claim, a form of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience involves believing so strongly that a government action is wrong that you put yourself at risk to disobey a government action and you willingly take the consequences. By the way, back in the 1960's some antiwar protesters who allegedly practiced civil disobedience didn't want to face the consequences either and I thought that was wrong as well.
Post a Comment