Several readers have written me e-mail asking me to blog on the Obama administration's apparent plan to revoke the Bush federal conscience protection rule, put into place late in the Bush administration, which protects health-care professionals against discrimination if they refuse to act against their consciences. (The rule says that federal funds can be withheld from entities that do so discriminate.)
I have struggled literally for weeks with the rhetorical problem of how to write such a post. The two biggest causes of this brain-freeze/blog-freeze have been a) the fact that Wesley J. Smith had some worries about the Bush rule and some recommendations for its revision, yet clearly (and Smith knows this) the Obama administration isn't concerned with those issues and b) the fact that the revocation of the Bush rule would merely return us to the status quo ante, which is where we had been living for umpety years past. In other words, its revocation doesn't amount to the imposition of requirements that doctors engage in abortions (for example); it merely removes an extra, brand-new, federal obstacle to such requirements as might be put in place by states (see here) or by employers.
Okay, well, let's take all that as read. I am galvanized to put up a post now that refers to this issue because I believe that W4 readers need to be informed of the following fact, especially if they happen to read W4 more religiously than they read the New York Times blog: Contra the implication of one of our commentators here less than three months ago, and with all due respect to that commentator, Stanley Fish is not some sort of deep-respect-deserving "pilgrim" gradually moving in a pro-life direction. About as far from it as possible. On the contrary, Stanley Fish is so pro-abortion that he doesn't like the Bush rule because, heaven forbid, it provides some measure of protection to doctors who refuse to be involved in the taking of human life, and Fish thinks they should be forced to be thus involved as a matter of "professionalism." In other words, Fish is a pro-death ideologue for whom "choice" means only the choice to kill.
How bad is it? Well, you can read the post, if you can stomach it. It's so bad that Fish says that if doctors bring conscientious considerations into play they are violating the entire premise of Western civilization according to which "religion" must be "sequestered" in a "private sphere." Such doctors are also violating the "rules that define the profession [they've] signed up for." So, let's get this clear: 1) Any conscientious objections to performing or referring for abortions, for example, are ipso facto religious. Strike one. 2) It's essential to the continuation of our civilization that considerations of conscience be completely "sequestered" from all public transactions. Well, heck, so much for professional ethics. Strike two. 3) The requirement that one be willing to be involved in killing innocent people is, and is presumed by Fish to have been for some time, one of the "rules" of the medical profession. Strike three. He goes so far as to say that doctors who dare to refuse to be involved in such actions are being "sectarians" rather than "citizens."
I mean, the guy is a foaming-at-the-mouth, you-will-get-on-board-with-the-culture-of-death bad guy.
As usual, liberals talk as if everybody has always agreed with them and as if the new craziness they just made up last year, whether it be calling two men "married" or requiring all doctors to be involved in abortions, are the astonishingly minimal moral norms of the entire world, norms that only the most benighted kooks could possibly question. What's really scary is that this kind of faux outrage which invents itself anew with every new depth of evil that comes into some lefty's mind actually fools some people. Before I wrote that last sentence, I had been about to write, "Who do they think they're kidding? Do they really think we're all such idiots that we won't realize they're just making it up as they go along?" But the truth is, some people will indeed just start repeating "professional standards" after the Stanley Fishes of the world.
God bless all the doctors out there, and all those young people who are thinking of going into the medical profession. The skies grow dark.
HT Wesley J. Smith at Secondhand Smoke