Traditionally, physicians and other healthcare professionals have been taught that taking care of the individual patient is paramount. Patients deserve care according to their own values, as they can best be realized. Physicians should avoid, as far as possible, replacing their values with their own values. In particular, they should avoid imposing their own religious belief on the patient.
In the United States, we live by a constitution whose first amendment says, "Congress should not legislate to respect the founding of a religion or prohibit its free practice."
So it is worrying that we have seen efforts under the Trump government that seem to be aimed at aligning government agencies dealing with health care and public health with certain religious beliefs. We have summarized cases in which the appointment of government agencies was based on the religious views of the commissioners and / or where the commissioners appeared to promote health policy on the basis of their personal religious beliefs. These included cases of applicants who spoke out against adopting children and claiming that "intersex patients do not exist"
Contraception causes cancer and violent deaths that pornography a
great danger to public health. "
This year, we have seen more evidence that the government has promoted people to leadership positions in health or public health because of their religious beliefs and has promoted sectarian-based health and public health.
More appointments, apparently based on religious beliefs, rather than health care or public health expertise
Reuters released in May an article entitled "The Footmen in the Trump Pence Religious Health Movement". In its introduction states
With the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Vice President Mike Pence became a driving force in reshaping American health policy. Orientation of politics to Pence's evangelical Christian principlesThe administration had equipped the Ministry of Health and other federal agencies with a cadre of pro-life staff.
The result is that the appointments were made based on the religious beliefs of the appointed persons rather than on their knowledge or experience in relevant areas of healthcare or public health.
It contained capsule biographies of several people that were previously unknown to me.
Function: Former Head of the Home Affairs Council; Now nominated as Ambassador of the United Nations Mission in Geneva.
Background: Bremberg, a health policy expert, served as co-chair of the HHS transition team, the the agency stocked with religious conservatives before serving as head of the White House political operation. He designed Mexico City's expanded policy, which provides for anti-abortion rules for billions of US health-care workers.
Position: HHS, Human Services Policy Consultant
Background: A former HHS officer under the Obama administration and director of the US House of Representatives Pro-Life Caucus in Wynne worked for the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organizationbefore returning to HHS. She served in the transition team, helped recruit other anti-abortion activists, and participated in attempts to prevent pregnant migrants from receiving abortions.
Function: Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Minister of Health
Background: Valentine, former interim Legislative Director of Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, helps monitor the Title X scholarship program. With other anti-abortion lawyers in the office, he tried to end the teenage pregnancy prevention program, (more about contraception than abortion) a step blocked by the courts.
Position: Senior Policy Advisor, HHS Global Affairs Office
Background: The Former president of a Washington group committed to avoiding sexual risks or abstinence as an alternative to contraceptionHuber wrote in an article that Christians should promote "God's sexual guidelines to life" in sex education and public health policy. Huber worked on the experiment kill the teen pregnancy programand is now working on international health policy.
Function: Chief of Staff, Civil Rights Office
Background: Bell was an anti-abortion and former lawyer of the Ministry of Justice Planned parenting examined (which offers contraceptive services, cancer screening and other health services, in addition to abortions) for the sale of baby parts, a request that has arisen from a controversial videotape operation.
Position: Deputy General Counsel, HHS
Background: As a senior advocate for the Alliance Defending Freedom, one Organization that defends religious conservativesBowman was part of one & # 39; Life Litigation Project & # 39; working on cases against the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare. He was arrested for demonstrating in front of abortion clinics.
Note that advocates of religious beliefs on health care were not limited to their views on the highly controversial subject of abortion, but were also opposed, for example, to the provision of contraceptive and other family planning services.
Position: Former head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, now Senior Advisor at the Center for Belief and Opportunity Initiatives
Background: When Lloyd headed the office responsible for looking after young migrants, he tried to prevent some underage women from aborting, leading to legal battles. Lloyd was a lawyer and helped found a company that worked Cases based on the Catholic teaching on birth control and abortion. "The law is pagan territory," he wrote. "No divorce, legalized abortion on demand and homosexual marriage as confirmation."
I can not find any information to suggest that any of the above persons have direct experience or education in biomedicine, medicine, other health professions or in the field of public health. Note that in previous posts we mentioned some of the people featured in this article: Katy Taalento, Diane Foley, and Roger Severino. Others were referred to us as seemingly unqualified members of Trump's "Beach Head Teams," but without any knowledge of their sectarian orientation.
Further administrative measures to promote sectarian health policy
Several relevant articles have been published this year. In March, the Washington Post reported on the efforts to promote a policy that is specifically oriented to Protestant Christian and Catholic beliefs. In total,
In the first year of the Trump administration Christian Social Conservatives High-ranking jobs – including (Valerie) Huber (see above) – focused mainly on US policy. They have been very successful in enforcing a religious exemption on the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate, prioritizing pure sex education on abstinence, and donating $ 286 million and up to $ 7.4 million to family planning groups in the United States. the so-called gag rules on billions around the world that prohibit them from referring to abortions.
Now they are trying to extend these views to the rest of the world by building a coalition of nations that would influence beyond the Trump administration.
One more in May Reuters article written down
the quiet influence of Vice President Mike Pence behind the scenes driven by his evangelical Christian beliefs during his political career Restrict abortion and Prioritization of the rights of religious conservatives.
In order to,
Under the direction of two secretaries recommended by Pence, the Ministry of Health and Human Services has moved to Funds from pregnancy prevention programs for adolescents are deletedto stem abortion in the United States and abroad and to lift civil protection for transgender patients.
The administration has emphasized abstinence programs, led by persons who Believing contraception harms womenand urged to cut public funds for planned parenting – a long-standing affair for Pence while he was in Congress. Planned parenting, a national network of health care providers, offers Infertility services, contraception and abortions.
Again, the focus goes far beyond the controversial issue of abortion:
Services are already being reduced in Kenya, said Jedidah Maina, director of the Indigenous Culture and Health Trust, which provides sexual and reproductive health programs and operates a health services hotline. A partner organization does not provide free healthcare for impoverished people anymoreand another was forced, reduce HIV services, She said.
In Peru, the proxy rights group PromSex said it was not possible to apply for a grant Combating trafficking in human beings from the US Agency for International Development because she is fighting for access to abortion. In an e-mail received by Reuters in November 2017, a contract agent from USAID told them whether the group is conducting or planning activities All activities related to family planning methodsIt could not commit itself to the United States government. & # 39;
Christine Dehlendorf, director of the program for Person-Centered Reproductive Health at the University of California at San Francisco, said HHS canceled two grants for ongoing contraception research, One was restored through litigation.
Dehlendorf said she has lost about $ 800,000 in funding for a study of how well medical providers meet women's contraceptive preferencesThis included natural family planning methods favored by some conservatives. "There was no reason to eliminate it, except for the lack of a general desire to satisfy women's reproductive health needs," said Dehlendorf.
Top government leaders who are working for a state religious foundation
Recently, two senior Cabinet Secretaries delivered their official speeches, advocating a government based on certain religious beliefs and conservative Christian principles. One was Attorney General William Barr, as reports from mother Jones on October 12, 2019 denies the influence of people who do not believe in organized religion
"That's not decay," Barr said. That's organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have brought together all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and science in an unrelenting attack on religion and traditional values. & # 39;
In his speech on Friday, Barr thundered against what he called a "moral upheaval." "Practically every level of social pathology continues to gain ground," he said. "Together with the debris of the family, we are experiencing a record level of depression and mental illness, discouraged young people, rising suicide rates, an increasing number of alienated young men, an increase in senseless violence and the deadly drug epidemic."
He seemed to imply that the cure for depression, mental illness and drug abuse is a conservative Christian religion. Again, it is not an evidence-based, but a sectarian health policy. Note that the article also said
Barr's account of a war between non-religious and people of faith shocked legal experts who dismissed Barr's defense of religious freedom as Attack on the protection of the First Amendment against the establishment of a religion by the government.
In one (n Editorial in the NY TimesPaul Krugman wrote regarding Barr's speech
How inappropriate, of all people, for Barr to have given such a speech. The constitution guarantees religious freedom; The head of the country's law enforcement agency has nothing to do with denouncing those who make use of this freedom by choosing not to support any religion.
And he not only declared that secularism is bad; He explained that the damage was intentional: "This is not a decay. It is organized destruction. & # 39; If that kind of conversation does not scare you, it should; it is that Language of witch hunts and pogroms.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said even more clearly on how he consciously anchored his religion in his government work reported by the Times of Israel also on the 12th of October
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a speech on Friday in his official capacity as America's most important diplomatWhat it means to be a Christian leader during an event of the State Department, which led to criticism of him crossed the line that marks the separation of church and state.
Prior to the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee, Pompeo emphasized what he saw as the main ingredient of the Christian leadership.
"I want to use my time today to think about it What it means to be a Christian leader, a Christian leader in three areas, & # 39; he said. First, there is disposition. How is it that you wear yourself in the world? The second is dialogue, talking. How come we get in touch with others around the world? And third are choices, choices we make. & # 39;
By the way, just to emphasize that this was an official speech, and not only did Pompeo speak personally about his religious beliefs, the record of the speech can now be found on the official website of the State Department Here,
The Times of Israel quotes
Aaron Keyak, former chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, (who) questioned the appropriateness of Pompeo's use of his platform to promote a particular religion.
"It's obviously not a problem that the Secretary of State is a leader or a proud Christian," Keyak told the Times of Israel. "However, it is a problem that Secretary Pompeo considers it appropriate to summarize these two words and hold an official Foreign Ministry event on Christian leaders."
"He is an American leader who is also a practicing Christian," Keyak continued. & # 39; Him to speak as a Christian leader and to settle it as such is an abefore our separation of church and state.& # 39;
As we said earlier, it seems that health and public health decisions are based on political ideology or religious beliefs
Worse than relying only on money that was omnipresent in the dysfunctional US healthcare system. In some cases, the resulting hostility to mission seems to translate
in violation of the US Constitution. For example, doing health
Care decisions based on the beliefs of a particular religion can be harmful
for patients or citizens who do not share these beliefs, as well as to hurt
the constitutional guarantee of freedom of a state institution of
For years I thought that it was primarily about dysfunctions in the healthcare sector
Individuals and private organizations, including, but not limited to
Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and equipment companies; Hospitals and
Hospital systems; Insurance companies, academic medical institutions;
Doctors and their practices; etc., etc. So, I thought
These people and organizations needed better health awareness
Care dysfunction to provoke them to improve things. I thought of that
Government as involved, but mostly because of well intentioned,
sometimes confusing government actions and policies that have often happened
unintentional effects and sometimes excessive comfort with health care
Industry. I knew that the government was subject to regulatory requirements
Coverage and various leadership issues, its role in healthcare disorders, at least in the US,
seemed almost secondary.
But in the Trump era there is a new (down) normality. All the trends we have
seen since our last discussion of health care reform
huge dysfunction of the government, some of it openly vicious,
especially with regard to the corruption of the governance of
unprecedented scope and at the highest level, and open influence of
Government favored political ideology and religious beliefs on health
Nursing policy and other policies and measures.
I hope our update will be up
on the urgency of referring to the health service and health professionals, patients,
and all citizens to a much more energetic reaction. US health care
Dysfunction has always been part of the general political economy
now worried in a new and dangerous way. We do not have much time for it
If not now when?
If not us, who?
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