Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Abortion Is a Blood Sacrifice Unto Satan!

Posted in Unreasonable Faith by Skepdude on February 11, 2009

Knife and BloodHere’s a deranged priest that performs exorcisms who calls abortion a “demonic industry.” Listen to this guy. He’s nuts:

“Abortion is a demonic industry,” he told The Bulletin. “Abortion is blood sacrifice of innocent blood to the devil. The clinics are like temples, the doctors are like priests, the medical table is like their altar. It’s a ritualized sacrifice. They have a dogma called choice, a hierarchy called Planned Parenthood, and guardian angels in the form of police guards that will arrest you if you try to stop them.”

Now that’s some loaded language. He’s trying to make abortion look like a satanic religion, when really it’s just a medical procedure.

He said that there have been abortionists who have called abortion “their sacrament.”

As Wikipedia would say, “citation needed.” Perhaps someone said this, but if they did, they were joking. But he doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who would get a joke.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “UNREASONABLE FAITH”

Oh Just Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut UP, Catch The Fire Ministries!

Posted in Podblack Cat by Skepdude on February 10, 2009

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL POST AT “PODBLACK CAT”

This depiction featured is NOT my Australia. And this is NOT what religion should be. And this should NOT be happening.

Any questions? No? Good. Then let’s just do something proactive about it and not put up with any more of this time-wasting insanity.
Go donate blood, donate money, donate time and donate something better than this garbage. And for sod’s sake, don’t vote for them or their ilk, whatever you do.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL POST AT “PODBLACK CAT”

OneNewsNow: The Most Up-To-Date Coverage of Things that Happened in 2004

Posted in Happy Jihads House of Pancakes by Skepdude on January 12, 2009

Hey, folks at OneNewsNow, do you tell your friends that you are journalists? Because you are in fact standardless snot-goblins. You should put that one your business cards. Take this hilarious report, by which I mean “colossal joke,” called “Forced Abortions: America’s Secret Epidemic.”

So secret, not even the person they are interviewing has any idea what the fuck she is talking about. Really.

Now, as I have noted repeatedly, OneNewsNow’s takes the “inverted pyramid” model of journalistic writing and turns it on its head. Actually, that would just be a pyramid. Scratch that. There are no pyramids, only opinions, invariably written in form: “Conservative Asshat Has Opinion, Is News.”

OneNewsNow reporter-substitute and profession snot-goblin (check his business card!) Charlie Butts seems to be responsible for a lot of the worst stuff that comes out of this weird little organization. It must have sucked to have that name in grade school. And holding the record for number of years held back in third grade.

The Elliot Institute has released a report that exposes America’s forced abortion epidemic.

Quick! Isolate the pregnant women! Give them masks! It’s an epidemic!

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “HAPPY JIHAD’S HOUSE OF PANCAKES”

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Medical ‘Conscience Rule’ Is Issued

Posted in News by Skepdude on December 19, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, as expected, announced new protections on Thursday for health care providers who oppose abortion and other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds.

“Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience,” Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement on his department’s Web site.

The rule prohibits recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and health care aides who refuse to take part in procedures because of their convictions, and it bars hospitals, clinics, doctors’ office and pharmacies from forcing their employees to assist in programs and activities financed by the department.

“This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience,” Mr. Leavitt said.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “THE NYTIMES”

Barack Obama and aborition on the FOURTH trimester

Posted in Skepdude, Woo by Skepdude on November 12, 2008

Barack Obama was elected president despite the fact he supports abortion into the fourth trimester.

Can someone explain to this woman, what tri means? Wow! Here are some more words of wisdom from her.

Altogether, this means we are fooling ourselves if we think the United States is still a Christian nation. Its people just elected a barbarian as president, authorized the killing of both its youngest and sickest, rejected scientific fact that human life begins at conception, blocked parental intervention of abortions of young girls, and voted down the wording of an abortion ban they said only two years ago they would support.

…………………………………………………………………….

Find another genocide or catastrophe or war or famine or plague to match 1 billion people systematically killed in just a 20 year span, the number who have been murdered by abortion worldwide just in the past two decades according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood.

…………………………………………………………………..

It is your responsibility, pastor and church leaders, to teach your people that abortion is abominable, and before that to teach chaste living. And before that, at the risk of making my Protestant friends flip, to teach that the contraceptive/sterilization mentality, which considers children bad, not blessings, is also a component of the sexual demise of our country.

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Obama was confident, categorically supporting unfettered abortion for all nine months of pregnancy and beyond.

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Only consistent church teaching that breaks through deadened consciences on the horror of abortion in conjunction with education on the godly confines of sexual behavior will do.

Yikes, I feel bad for anyone that comes in contact with this woman.

He doesn’t know me very well, does he?

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on September 15, 2008

I get all kinds of personal requests — requests to flog someone’s blog, links to articles people think are really neat, that kind of thing. I don’t mind at all. If you think I’d be interested, go ahead, drop me a line. But, you know, I would appreciate it if you at least had the courtesy to actually look at my interests and send me stuff I might like, instead of random spam.

Mike Koelzer did not have those kinds of manners. Mike Koelzer really screwed up. This is the email Mike Koelzer sent me.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “PHARYNGULA”

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Skepnews – 8/23/08

Posted in Skepnews by Skepdude on August 22, 2008

  • Dinosaurs helped build the pyramids – Far from becoming extinct 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs actually co-existed with early humans, and even helped in the construction of the pyramids.
    This is the word of Vince Fenech, Evangelist pastor and director of a fully licensed, State-approved Creationist institution which admits children aged between four and 18.
  • Oregon tribe to allow same sex marriagesAt the request of a lesbian couple, the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast has adopted a law recognizing same-sex marriage. Tribal law specialists say the Coquille appear to be the first tribe to sanction such marriages. Most tribal law doesn’t address the issue. The Navajo and Cherokee tribes prohibit same-sex marriages
  • Claims of magnets’ effect on water don’t stick – Magnets have no significant role in treating water, despite the claims of their manufacturers, according to a new study by the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan. So-called magnetic water- treatment devices, which are said to remove and reduce residual chlorine and toxic substances through magnetism, have practically no effect, the center said Wednesday. Companies manufacturing or selling the devices — often over the Internet or door to door — claim to improve the taste of water, giving it a “softer, mellower,” flavor through magnetism.
  • Opt-out plan shields doctors over abortions – The Bush administration Thursday announced plans to implement a regulation designed to protect doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who object to abortion from being forced to deliver services that violate their beliefs. The rule empowers federal health officials to pull funding from more than 584,000 hospitals, clinics, health plans, doctors offices and other entities if they do not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable on personal, moral or religious grounds. “People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. – Skepdude says : What if a city hall clerk refuses to perform a marriage for an interracial couple because they find it “morally wrong”?
  • Saudi ban on woman drivers may be erodingWhen Ruwaida al-Habis’ father and two brothers were badly burned in a fire, she had no choice but to break Saudi Arabia’s ban on women drivers to get them to a clinic. “When I pulled up, a crowd of people surrounded the car and stared as if they were seeing extraterrestrial beings,” the 20-year-old university student told The Associated Press. “Instead of focusing on the burn victims, the nurses kept repeating, ‘You drove them here?'” Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans all women – Saudi and foreign – from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and women who cannot afford the $300-$400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor. But there are signs support for the ban is eroding.
  • Survey: Americans feel churches shouldn’t meddle in politics – The survey suggests that for the first time in more than a decade, there has been a shift away from the view that religious groups should influence social and political issues. Fifty-two percent of poll respondents said churches should stay quiet, while 46 percent said churches should express political views

Conscientious objector or deserter?

Posted in Denialism, Medicine by Skepdude on August 4, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

The discussion we’ve had since Friday regarding the Bush administration’s latest foray into theocracy brought up some interesting points. We discussed implications of the draft regulations including likely limitations on access to safe and effective birth control. But there is another issue here that disturbs me greatly.

Last week we talked a little bit about medical ethics. I’m not an Ethicist (Mike! Are you reading?), but I am a “practical ethicist”, as are all health care providers. How do ethics inform the discussion of what care we can or cannot provide?

First, let’s take the gloves off for a moment. What is a “pharmacist”?

A pharmacist is a trained professional with an expert knowledge of medications. In the retail setting, their primary role is to dispense medications, but their actual role is far greater. Pharmacists check patients’ records for drug interactions, counsel patients on how to properly store and take medications, and communicate with doctors regarding potential problems with prescriptions. Pharmacists are not, in most settings, the patient’s clinician, and do not have the same type of (ethical) relationship to their customers as doctors do with their patients. They are, at the simplest level, technicians and scientists who help maintain the safety and integrity of patients’ medications. It is a great responsibility—one small mistake on the part of a pharmacist can kill, and one small mistake caught by a pharmacist can save a life.

When a pharmacist receives a prescription from a physician that they believe may pose a threat to a patient, they call the doctor. For example, if I were to write a prescription for levothyroxine 125mg daily, the pharmacist would call me up to see if I meant micrograms rather than milligrams (125 mg is a helluva lot of this drug). If I tell the pharmacist to shut up and dispense the damned drug as written, they might refuse to pending further research, discussion, etc. This often happens with opiates. I may prescribe a cancer patient a very large dose of morphine and the pharmacist will call me to confirm. I’ll explain that they have been on this dose and tolerated it well, and the pharmacist will likely be satisfied that I know what I’m doing.

A pharmacist that receives a properly written prescription for a medication that any reasonable doctor would consider safe may not ethically refuse to fill it. The doctor and patient are the ones who make the decision on what meds are proper. In this case the pharmacists only remaining job, after checking for allergies and drug interactions, is to fill the legal prescription. If they don’t wish to do that, they should be fired, just as the check-out clerk would be fired for refusing to ring up a candy bar (and no, it doesn’t matter how fat the customer is). It has come up frequently that pharmacists sometimes refuse to fill birth control pills. This is unconscionable. The doctor and patient have a clinical relationship; the pharmacist in this instance is an intermediary, and could theoretically be replace by a sophisticated vending machine. Hmmm….

__________

The relationship between physician and patient is a bit more complicated. There is an asymmetry in the power relationship—anything the doctor says and does is potentially coercive. The doctor and the patient both count on this asymmetry—a patient goes to the doctor for advice, a doctor hopes their position of authority will help persuade the patient to do what is necessary (more on this issue of autonomy vs. paternalism here).

If a doctor tells a patient that smoking is dangerous, the patient is likely to believe them and will treat the words differently than if they had come from someone else. The same goes for a doctor’s opinions. If I tell my patient that I love Obama and that voting for McCain would ruin the American health care system, I’m probably using my influence in a bit of a shady manner. If a young woman comes to me wishing to terminate a pregnancy, and I tell her it is tantamount to killing a child, it means something very different to her than if she sees it on a billboard. If I oppose abortion, and feel I wish to be a “conscientious objector”, to share that with the patient is no longer an act of conscience, but an act of coercion. It is a desertion of my duty as a physician. I have patients who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I give them very detailed information about the medical (not moral) consequences of their beliefs, but I stop there.

Doctors are activists—activists for the rights and needs of our patients, to which we subsume our own values to a great extent. This is one of the great challenges of medicine, and if you’re not up to the task, it’s time to get out.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

Theocracy in action—HHS proposes to limit birth control

Posted in Denialism, Medicine, politics, Religious Extremism, Sexism by Skepdude on August 2, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

I’m so angry I can barely type coherently. I have very strong feelings about abortion, but I believe it is possible to respectfully disagree about the ethical issues involved. I have an obstetrics colleague who does not perform abortions, but refers patients needing this service to others. That’s the ethical way for a doctor to oppose abortion—don’t do it, don’t prosteletize, refer out. My personal feeling is a woman has the right to control her body and all that dwells within, but I can see why others would disagree.

All that being said, if you chose a profession that will, by its very nature create an insoluble ethical conundrum, you need to get a new job. Pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control when given a lawfully written prescription should be fired immediately and consider a change in careers.

The Religious Right is trying to protect these types of “acts of conscience.” Traditional passive resistance in the model of Thoreau and King emphasized the breaking of unjust laws and the acceptance of any punishment that goes with it. The religious right in this country is not content with this model—they would prefer to allow for acts of conscience without consequences. In this vein, the Church Amendment was passed. This amendment protects professionals who are trying to impose their values on others by mandating that health care providers who receive federal funds not require providers to provide services that to which they morally object. This has not been widely enforced apparently, because a draft is circulating at the Department of Health and Human Services that would step up enforcement, and broaden the services to which people could object, even protecting them if they refuse to refer to an alternate provider. This document terribly flawed for a number of reasons.

This draft misunderstands fundamentally the nature of health professionals. We serve patients, not ourselves. The draft document equates providers who refuse to provide or refer for services with conscientious objectors in time of war. This is patently ridiculous. We have a volunteer military. When we had draft, it was possible for someone who would normally have nothing to do with war be forced into a moral dilemma. The way out was CO status, which would allow pacifists to serve without taking life. Service wasn’t a choice—killing was.

I chose to be a physician, knowing full well that medicine is fraught with moral ambiguities. I could have opened a coffee shop instead. Professional organizations recognize the primacy of our patients’ needs over our own—our obligations are not to our own morals but to our patients. It’s part of our ethical code.

The HHS draft makes a mockery of this. It quotes a study that states that many physicians feel that they are obliged to present all options to patients regardless of their personal objections. The draft points out that this may be contrary to law. This may be true, but the fact is that WE ARE ETHICALLY OBLIGED TO PRESENT ALL MEDICALLY APPROPRIATE OPTIONS. No law changes these ethics, and in fact, it might be argued that any laws that directly conflict with our ethical obligations to our patients are immoral and require us to speak and act in opposition to these laws.

The draft attempts to create a conflict where none exists. Health care providers do not need their morals to be protected from discrimination. If we object to standard medical practices, we can find a position where our morals aren’t challenged (but that’s hard to find in medicine).

The draft seeks to more strongly enforce the Church Amendments. To justify this invasion of the doctor-patient relationship, it makes some very dubious claims. One is that Plan B, the pill that prevents embryonic implantation, is an “abortifacient”. More on this shortly.

Another claim is that forcing doctors to subsume their beliefs to their professional obligations will cause a shortage of health care professionals. What unmitigated bullshit.

But then comes the really sinister bit. They wish to redefine abortion for the purposes of the statutes. In order to do that they invoke a Zogby poll of American values, and two medical dictionaries. They mention the British and American Medical Associations’ definition as pregnancy occurring after implantation, and then toss away the professional definition for two dictionaries and a poll. They also propose to determine what constitutes abortion by the individual’s conscience “within the bounds of reason”. In other words, any health care professional can call anything an abortion and be legally protected from providing medically and ethically appropriate care. Let me quote the report:

“Abortion” means any of the various procedures—including the prescription, dispensing, and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action—that results in the terminatino of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.

Your federal government is giving doctors, nurses, and pharmacists the freedom to deny you anything they don’t like, including most forms of birth control. Heard of Griswold v. Connecticut? Forget about it. The government has decided that with regard to health care, the Establishment Clause is irrelevant, and the Free Exercise clause is more important than the rights of patients. You should be very afraid for your personal freedoms.

The theocrats who are attempting to make this law are too cowardly to give up their comforts for their beliefs. Rather than engaging in passive resistance, they wish to legislate their religion. If this becomes the law of the land, expect to see some real passive resistance from the health care community. Keep your eyes open, and vote wisely.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”