Tuesday 23 February 2010

An article we will never see on the front page of the Herald

Anti-vasectomy doctors have gone to court to challenge new Medical Council guidelines [PDF] on how physicians with personal objections to vasectomy must deal with patients.

The doctors filed an application in the High Court last week for a judicial review of the guidelines, titled "Beliefs and Medical Practice". They are believed to be opposed to vasectomy on the basis that sexual intercourse is primarily for procreative purposes, and that any interference with this is a deliberate violation of God's design of human beings.

The Medical Council is withholding the guidelines until the case is decided.

Their main objection is understood to involve a new section in the guidelines covering the way doctors who object to contraception must deal with patients.

It requires them to tell male patients considering controlling their fertility, so that they do not have any further children, that vasectomy is one of the options.

The law already allows doctors to refuse to provide contraception or abortion services on grounds of conscience, although they must tell patients they can consult another physician.

The guidelines also cover other areas where spiritual, cultural or religious beliefs could conflict with patients' rights.

They say doctors should set aside their own beliefs where necessary and that they must make the care of the patient their first concern.

The Health and Disability Commissioner and the Resident Doctors Association approved the new section in their submissions on the draft, saying it was helpful to include specific advice.

Adapted from last week's Herald article, which I blogged a news bite about on Friday. The bit in italics is not in the draft guidelines at all, although a similar point about abortion is.


Country Lane said...

It still amazes me that thy can get awy with not providing the service for which they are trained.
I have no problem with people blieving atver they they want to belive. God, Allah, The Big Giant Head - it's all the same to me. But it seems to me that a Doctor using religious belief to withhold treatment is just weird. There are christians that believe that sickness is God's plan and prayer will heal. Can Xtian doctors decide to withhold treatment because it interferes with God's plan?
It's as though a tee-totaller takes a job in a pub and refuses to serve alcohol.

stephen said...

What is to stop a Jehovah's Witness becoming a doctor and then refusing to give blood transfusions?

captiver said...

Julie, I LOVE it. Brilliant.

Deborah said...

Excellent, Julie!

DPF:TLDR said...

If anything you'd think vasectomies would be more likely to be the target of pro-lifers. After all, an abortion doesn't prevent a woman from potentially having children in the future.

stephen said...

ZOMG skim read FAIL. I am so ashamed.

Luddite Journo said...

I'm just worried you're giving them ideas Julie......

But seriously, thanks for the laugh :-)