Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Good Conscience

Having conversations with your friends, neighbors and fellow parishioners about contraception and politics?

Need some foundational principles, core values, guidelines, and language to talk about this (because, yes, it's 2012 and yes, apparently, we still have to talk about this)?

Been searching all over the internet for some answers?

Well, folks, search no more. You're in luck.

Please click on this link to a page from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) website.

If you scroll to the bottom of that page and click on the link In Good Conscience: Guidelines for the Ethical Provision of Health Care in a Pluralistic Society, you will find a model document which was designed to assist health care institutions to develop policies regarding access to health care in general and reproductive health care in particular.

It was developed by ethicists, theologians, and health care and religious professionals in a project facilitated by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

The document articulates core values, guidelines and language which is of invaluable assistance for people of faith who find themselves in the midst of dueling wars - "The War on Women" vs. "The War on Religion" - ironically declared by politicians seeking to be "The Leader of the Free World" who are, of course, the only "real Christians".

For example, here are the Core Values which inform the Guidelines:
1. Universal Access to Quality Care

Every person regardless of age or condition must be afforded access to quality health care. In America’s increasingly profit-driven system, it is particularly urgent to ensure that economically disadvantaged persons enjoy equal access to quality care.

2. Health of the Whole Community

The health of the whole community must not be undermined by the forces of health care privatization and sectarianism.

3. Respect for the Human Being as Moral Agent

People should be free to exercise their moral agency and religious freedom when receiving health care.

4. Respect for the Principle of Informed Consent

The bond of trust between patients and health care providers is built on shared decision-making.Patients or their surrogates must be provided with complete information in order to participate fully in their own medical care.

5. Respect for Evidence-based Medicine
The scientific model on which the theory and practice of modern medicine is based must be respected.
6. Respect for Medical Ethics
The philosophical principles on which the theory and practice of biomedical ethics and professional medical ethics are based must be respected.

7. Respect for the Conscience of All Parties in Health Care Decisions
No one person may compel another to act against their own conscience. Therefore, as a matter of practice, no one individual’s conscience may take precedence over the conscience of another.
8. Respect for Separation of Religion and State
The separation of religion and state makes possible the civic setting in which the ethical provision of health care can coexist with authentic religious pluralism. For this reason the separation must be protected.
9. Respect for Constitutional Law
In keeping with respect for religion–state separation, the constitutional guarantee of both freedom for religion and freedom from religion must be maintained.
10. Respect for Community Stakeholders
In light of our diverse and pluralistic society, the interests of all community stakeholders must be respected in the policies, governance, and provision of health care. People of all economic means must be afforded the opportunity to access quality health care, and community resources must be allocated in such a way that no one is shut out, even if it means some sacrifice by others. Cultural and religious pluralism strengthens our society as a whole as we bring to each encounter a rich background of values, beliefs, and practices. Health care institutions should honor their patients, employees, and communities by creating an environment in which difference is respected.
Good stuff, this. You won't be disappointed.

One quick tip of the biretta to one of the members of the working group who developed this document: the Rev'd Geoff Curtiss, rector of All Saints in Hoboken, NJ who also serves as VP of the Board of Christ Hospital in Jersey City, NJ.

At one point in its recent history, Christ Hospital removed itself from an attempted partnership with Bon Secours’ Health System, in part, because of a conflict in these issues. Geoff has also served as a deputy to General Convention.

In Good Conscience:


Bex said...

In case any employers are considering sudden conversions to Christian Science, they should know that the Christian Science Church offers full health benefits to its employees as I understand it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

LOL. Thanks, Bex.

Anonymous said...

Took up your offer to read the RCRC document. Found this:

"Institutions that restrict information and/
or medical practice because of sectarian commitments in relation to reproductive
health options, end of life care, or advanced
directives should not be publicly funded and
should never be the sole health care provider
within a given geographic region."

In other words: Catholics, get out of health care.

The document only went downhill from there. This has no more objectivity than the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Michael - Did you have your parachute securely fastened before you took that huge jump of logic?

Here's the thing - I'm Anglo-Catholic and I'm pro-choice BECAUSE I'm pro-life. I believe in the abilities of a woman to make an intelligent, informed, moral decision that is best for her and her family.

Besides, this is America where we have freedom OF religion as well as freedom FROM religion. We're a democracy, not a theocracy.

Really, Michael. I worry about you sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wrote in shorthand.

1) When one considers what type of resources are involved to support a regional hospital, which will involve patient care partially funded by Medicare and MediCal (and its Federal equivalents) which would be prohibited by the cited comment


2) When one reads the extremely poor conscience protections afforded doctors, nurses, and pharmacists in the RCRC document


3) When one reads the assumption that contraception and abortion are to be considered fundamental medical rights...

then "Catholics, get out of health care," is the proper logical conclusion.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I see you're still celebrating Leap Year with great leaps in logic. I'm always fascinated by the fact that the religion that takes every opportunity to boast that it is the largest Christian denomination in the world is the first to scream persecution and oppression - especially when it so often seeks to oppress others.

The RC Church has two very weak moral legs on which to stand, given the centuries of physical and sexual abuse of minors. Trying to claim the high moral ground on health care provisions for women is, at the very least, a dangerous pursuit when it's not completely laughable.

Perhaps you might find the time on this extra "leap day" to be quiet and contemplate these things. A lavender sachet might also help

JCF said...

First of all, Michael---and we've been through this before---you're failing to make a distinction between Popoids and Roman Catholics. Popoids like yourself are but a tiny SUBSET of the latter (see re the 98% of Roman Catholics who use/have used (and still endorse) contraceptives.

I say that, because we're only talking about Popoids here.

And we're not talking about health care, but health care CONTROL (control of others' choices).

We want Popoids to get out of the health care CONTROL business (esp. w/ our tax dollars!)


[I believe that it is probably only in ***heaven***, will the founders/leaders of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice receive their rewards for their righteousness. God bless them!]

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, JCF. I am proud and delighted and a bit overwhelmed to represent TEC on the board of RCRC. I have my first orientation when I come back at the end of March. My first board meeting is in April. I don't need/want an award; it will be enough just to be able to make a positive contribution to this important work.

Lindy said...

Thank you for this, and for the links. I used this information in letters to the Texas state senators and will use it again next week when I write to the members of the Texas House of Representatives.