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Published On: Wed, Sep 11th, 2019

Monica McLemore of San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health says pro-lifers shouldn’t ‘provide healthcare’

A new article in Vice has prompted outrage as associate professor Monica R. McLemore of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, at the University of California San Francisco, asserts that pro-lifers shouldn’t go in health care.

Titled “If You Don’t Want to Provide Abortions, Don’t Go Into Healthcare,” the piece is a counter to the Trump’s administration’s support to not forced medical professionals into abortion procedures or allow facilities to enact retaliation against staff, as witnessed at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC).

photo/ OpenClipartVectors via pixabay

McLemore notes that “…this shift from patient-centered care to protecting providers is required for institutions that want to retain federal funding such as Medicare and Medicaid for essential health services.”

“The Trump administration’s decision to issue a violation against the hospital is both wrong and dangerous.”

McLemore then addresses the UVMMC nurse: “I wish I could explain a few things to that Vermont nurse,” listing off and pointing to nursing standards beyond the scope of the individual.

“I respect people’s desires not to do things that go against their moral or religious beliefs. I know that professional nursing in the United States was established in religiously affiliated institutions. However, people shouldn’t go into healthcare if they don’t want to provide healthcare.”

The author gives an overview of public policy before stating that “Even more disturbing, privileging the healthcare workforce over the needs of the public runs counter to our commitment to patient-centered care” citing the fact that poor black women get most of the abortions and have subpar insurance; therefore, “This is why the accommodations for conscience need to be re-examined as unethical and incompatible with the social contract to which members of the health professions commit.”

McLemore then tries an altruistic argument: “These rules aside, we also need to more closely scrutinize the reasons students want to earn the right—yes, the right—to serve the public as a member of the health professions. It is a life of service that people shouldn’t enter simply because of consistent employment, decent wages, or the social capital afforded to those of us who do this work. Committing your life to the health professions is a path that’s both intellectually challenging and emotionally rewarding path. Part of my work as a faculty member is to determine who is worthy to serve the public—a duty I do not take lightly.”

She points to partnerships with Catholic facilities as a limitation to “patients being denied gender-affirming care, abortion, and more.”

The writer closes with “Most of all, I would have asked this nurse to wrestle with why her discomfort with abortion kept her from empathizing with the person who needed it” before noting “My research” in training and internship would give the nurse time to voice their objection and opt out of the program entirely, not the procedure.

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