The federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services has a new Division of “Conscience and Religious Freedom.” The public relations selling point is to protect health care providers from being coerced into assisting with abortions or birth control methods that offend their religious or ethical sensibilities in hospital settings that serve the general public.
But does that mean we can again allow a woman who is hemorrhaging to die because medical personnel suspect she might have had an abortion?
Unfortunately, recent history also shows a cruel tradition of American hospitals refusing to care for patients who are uninsured, or Black, or whose immigration status is unclear. The early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are filled with true stories of hospitals refusing to care for even critically ill patients merely suspected of being gay. And will it also be legal to refuse care to Muslims? Who else will be allowed to suffer or die because they are deemed unworthy fellow Americans?
Is this the America we want for ourselves and our children? Or is it budding Fascism?