Catholics again say that death is preferable to birth control

From Independent.ie, we learn that the Catholic Church in Ireland is promulgating its well-known stand that if you have to choose between using non-rhythm birth control and death, death is better. Mater Hospital in Dublin is about to embark on tests of new anti-cancer drugs. And, as you may know, there’s some evidence of damaging a fetus, particularly during the first trimester, if you become pregnant while undergoing chemotherapy.

At any rate, the hospital is putting out a pamphlet giving people information about these trials, but the whole issue has become bogged down because the hospital objects to any method of abstaining from pregnancy during the drug trials:

The Mater, which is Catholic run, objects to wording in the accompanying patient information leaflet which mentions various forms of artificial contraception.

It wants this changed in line with its Catholic ethos which is opposed to artificial forms of birth control such as the pill.

This has cheesed off two Irish doctors who object to medieval superstitions delaying their medical care:

In an open letter sent to the Irish Independent, Mater oncologists Dr John McCaffrey and Prof Desmond Carney said the Catholic Church had no right to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship.

In the open letter, Dr A McCaffrey and Prof Carney state:

“With more than 40 years combined experience in managing cancer, in Ireland and abroad, we strongly believe that no-one should become pregnant while on chemotherapy.

“We have always counselled our patients to avoid pregnancy.”

They continue: “This discussion – with patients and their partners – is a private matter between doctor and patient, and may involve a discussion of different methods of birth control, including abstinence.

“We believe that no Church (except that desired by the patient) or Administrator has any role in this exchange and we continue to believe and practice this.

“This is all the more relevant in our increasingly multi-cultural society.”

They say that not to give advice concerning pregnancy could result either in foetal abnormality, or the woman having to forgo cancer treatment in order that the child be born alive, but could leave the child motherless. They state: “Physical risk to the health and viability of the foetus, or treatment refusal by a pregnant woman who might die from cancer leaving a motherless child, are two potential albeit extreme results from not appropriately counselling patients before chemotherapy.”

They confirm that they already routinely make available to patients the sort of information contained in the drug advisory leaflet.

. . . Dr McCaffery is President of the Irish Society of Medical Oncology. Prof Carney is former President of the Society.

But of course some doctors may not do this, particularly if they’re Catholic.  This kind of information needs to be available to all patients, and in a leaflet.  And this whole kerfuffle has simply delayed the drug trials as the Church raises stupid objections to wording:

Explaining the decision [of the hospital to delay drug trials], Fr Kevin Doran, who represents Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin on the hospital board, said there was an objection to women being mandated to use artificial contraception if they wished to use the drug.

However, Roche Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, later indicated that there was no such requirement and women could abstain from sex if that was their preferred way not to become pregnant.

I doubt that anybody is being, or has been, required to use artificial contraception. All the doctors want is a public warning that there are dangers involved in mixing chemotherapy with pregnancy, and that there are several ways to avoid pregnancy.  In the meantime, people may be dying because the Church doesn’t want people covering their genitals with rubber sheaths.  Such is legacy of medieval theology.

132 Comments

  1. Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    …and people wonder why I see the Church as perhaps the greatest force for evil in human history….

    b&

    • Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Gimme a break. The church wanting the pamphlet to be reworded so it doesn’t mention birth control pills or rubbers solidifies your view of the church being a great ‘evil’ force? I think women know how to avoid pregnancy without professional advice. How about preventions such as bestiality or lesbianism or a new dildo? Where to stop? How about beer labels suggesting o’dul’s to pregnant women who wish to drink? The church is wasting time and effort but, in this case, not causing any real harm.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        I don’t want to speak for Ben, but I share his opinion so let me answer why I think Ben said this (I’ll probably do it with less swears – :D).

        You’ve trivialized Ben’s opionon as a reaction to nothing more than a rewording of a pamphlet but it is a reaction to much, much more.

        The Church’s demand to remove mention of birth control methods (which I think should be there – not every woman is aware of every method and it doesn’t hurt to communicate this information) is yet another example of the Church’s obsession with getting into everyone’s bedroom to make sure they are only having sex to procreate because sex for anything else is just sinful. They try to force human beings to deny their nature. This is unhealthy and has led to much psychological ills at the individual and societal level (there are a lot of former Christians with a lot of guilt that affect them every day).

        Indeed, the RC Church is so obsessed with procreation that they place it above all else: above expediting life saving cancer research (their fuss has delayed this particular research), saving women from unwanted pregnancies and ultimately saving a woman from dying from a pregnancy gone wrong (as seen in the case of a visiting Indian woman, which I linked to previously).

        Doctors should be free to treat their patients in the best medically ethical way that respects their patient’s dignity; they should make all information available to their patients, including how to use effective birth control (which doesn’t include rhythm methods).

        This is what it means to treat people with compassion and participate in the modern world. When an institution explicitly blocks the above, they are behaving in a medievally cruel way that the rest of us have moved beyond. It is therefore completely rational to call this behaviour evil.

        • Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Diana,

          I’m not trivializing his reaction, but trying to demonstrate inaneness of suggesting that this piddly, unsignificant action by the catholic church is a noteworthy example “force for evil”. I don’t buy for a minute that Irish women aren’t aware of contraception.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            ….and I’m illustrating why it’s much more than wording on a pamphlet. It’s the Church meddling in health care to push their own mediaeval agenda and making such a fuss as to cause delays in treatment. It’s evil.

            • Pierre Masson
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

              Well said, Diana!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

                🙂

          • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            Tell that to the millions of Africans dead of AIDS whose blood is on the hands of the Church and their anti-condom policy, for a modern start.

            Now, add in their private international child rape racket they run for their leadership to continue the most infamous of modern crimes, and look to every prior generation for something equally horrific. The Conquistadors, the Inquisition, the Crusades….

            I’ll shut up now lest I fulfill Diana’s prediction.

            b&

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

              That’s okay Ben, don’t let me stop you. 🙂

            • JBlilie
              Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:01 am | Permalink

              +1

        • ratabago
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          +1, with emphasis on the irony of the RCC using its moral authority in an attempt to force the doctors to violate medical ethics.

          Bonus points for Fr Kevin misrepresenting the doctors’ position in this. Isn’t false witness a sin?

          • darrelle
            Posted August 8, 2013 at 4:50 am | Permalink

            Not if you can rationalize it as being for jesus. If you can do that you can give yourself a pass. Hell, you can even pat yourself on the back and feel righteous about it.

          • JBlilie
            Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:02 am | Permalink

            My only beef is that you didn’t use scare quotes around “moral authority”. 🙂

        • prochoice
          Posted August 9, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

          1++

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        How about preventions such as bestiality or lesbianism or a new dildo?

        Huh? Is there some kind of corollary to Godwin’s Law being illustrated here?

        • Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          I was being facetious. Women know how to fulfill sexual urges without getting pregnant. I agree that the church taking exception to the wording is ridiculous but am not convinced it is doing any serious harm.

          • Timothy Hughbanks
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think your confidence concerning the public’s knowledge of sexuality is warranted.

            • Posted January 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

              For starters, not much can be generalized by one study of 500 people (especially true given who did the study). Also, the question at hand was not covered in the study. I cannot imagine a single adult woman in the USA not knowing the very basic fact that sex can lead to pregnancy and that there is such a thing known as contraceptives that can prevent pregnancy. Are there 15year olds that aren’t aware of condoms or bc pills? I’m sure there are but I believe most girls of child bearing age are at least aware of that basic fact.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted January 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

                I cannot imagine a single adult woman in the USA not knowing the very basic fact that sex can lead to pregnancy and that there is such a thing known as contraceptives that can prevent pregnancy.

                Your imagination needs some work. There are sex education curricula that teach children that contraceptives don’t work.

              • Posted January 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

                Examples with citations please. Teaching that contraceptives can fail is entirely different than teaching that they do not work. If you are correct and there are schools that teach condoms do not work then it still doesn’t mean the children accept this teaching. If all that is meant is that we need better sex education, then I agree.

          • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            How exceedingly gracious of you to grant that a married woman in the midst of a life-or-death medical crisis may take comfort not in the arms of her husband but instead of a hunk of plastic.

            I really should shut up, now — but, boyohboyohboy should you, too.

            b&

      • truthspeaker
        Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Gimme a break. The church wanting the pamphlet to be reworded so it doesn’t mention birth control pills or rubbers solidifies your view of the church being a great ‘evil’ force?

        Yes.

        I think women know how to avoid pregnancy without professional advice

        In Ireland, where would they learn that? Not in school and not from a doctor at a Catholic hospital.

        • Diane G.
          Posted August 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          +1

        • Posted January 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Wow. My high school in the USA taught us about sex, at a Catholic school nonetheless. Ireland must have a piss poor public education and I suppose parents must be dipshits too. Speaking for myself, I found out that if I boned a girl she could get pregnant at the age of twelve.

  2. Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    This why there should only be secular hospitals, where treatments and information are based on science only. Patients who reject some treatment because of their religion, should do so (if they are sane adults). However, one should not prohibit doctors from giving information or treatment, for religious reasons.

    • Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      This is why health care services should be universal, the same way fire and police services are universal, as are roads and food safety and military and air traffic control and the rest.

      Your doctors should have no more right to decide which conditions to treat that the police which laws to enforce or the fire department which fires to extinguish or the FDA which foods to let be contaminated. Especially on religious grounds, but not on any others, either.

      b&

      • Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

      • Gary W
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Your doctors should have no more right to decide which conditions to treat that the police which laws to enforce or the fire department which fires to extinguish or the FDA which foods to let be contaminated. Especially on religious grounds, but not on any others, either.

        Police and prosecutors have broad discretion to decide whether to enforce the law in a particular case. Fire departments have broad discretion to decide whether to try to extinguish a fire or let it burn. The FDA has broad discretion to decide what types and degrees of contamination to allow in foods.

        • Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          I have no clue what country you’re living in where the firefighters first enquire whether or not the occupants are in the practice of stretching pieces of rubber over their genitals before deciding whether or not to douse the flames of a burning building. The Vatican, perhaps? And that they do that for food inspections boggles the mind.

          Regardless, that doesn’t happen in civilized nations — as you would know if you lived in one.

          And, similarly, only in uncivilized barbarian territories such as the one you’re stuck in do the medical professionals make treatment decision based on similar inquisitions.

          Or perhaps you’re making up some bizarre definition for, “discretion,” that neither has bearing on reality nor the subject under discussion?

          b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            I have no clue what country you’re living in where the firefighters first enquire whether or not the occupants are in the practice of stretching pieces of rubber over their genitals before deciding whether or not to douse the flames of a burning building.

            Ah Ben. Your colourful descriptions always keep me coming back! 🙂

          • Gary W
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            You appear to be confusing the discretion of fire departments regarding firefighting, the discretion of doctors regarding how to treat patients, and the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding condoms. Not sure how you managed to confuse those three very different things.

            • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

              And you appear to not have read Jerry’s post that you’re replying to, wherein the Catholic Church is doing as you would have them and exercising their Ayn-Rand-given discretion to engage in gross, likely lethal, medical malpractice, for no better reason than that they don’t like their victims’s sexual habits.

              Let me spell it out: what the Church-run “hospitals” are doing is evil. No other branch of civil service would even dream of doing anything like what the Church is doing — and any insane enough to actually do so would be in the worst possible trouble somebody in such a position could be in.

              And yet here you are defending the Church under the guise of a horrific perversion of liberty, suggesting that other civil servants do and should have the same rights of malfeasance.

              I’d like to be able to express surprise at such a low point from you, Gary, but this is par for the course for you.

              b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                I haven’t “defended the Church” at all. As usual, you have no response to what I actually wrote, but you feel some strange need to respond anyway, so you pretend I wrote something else and respond to that instead.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

                Then who, pray tell, wrote this?

                Except in exceptional circumstances, and subject to laws against fraud, false advertising, etc., health care providers are free, and should be free, to offer whatever kind of medical treatment they want (conventional, homeopathic, Catholic, Christian Scientist, Scientologist, witchdoctor, or whatever).

                Emphasis added, of course.

                Though, I suppose if you don’t even bother reading what you post there really isn’t much point in anybody else doing so. Or is this some lame attempt at Newspeak on your part?

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

                Then who, pray tell, wrote this?

                What about it?

        • Posted August 8, 2013 at 4:47 am | Permalink

          On fire fighters, the consequences, and the analysis:

          http://goo.gl/hMUzy8

          But this only makes Ben’s case all the more significant. Common non-discriminatory services are the only fair way, and they have to deal with short sighted users of the service. And that’s why we have compulsory taxes.

          Common services should also prevent nutty irrelevant influences, such as religion imposing its doctrine on medical services.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Police and prosecutors have broad discretion to decide whether to enforce the law in a particular case.

          Eric Holder claims they don’t.

          He’s lying, but that doesn’t change the fact that police and prosecutors often claim they have no discretion – if they are aware of a crime, they have to arrest and prosecute, or so they claim.

          • Gary W
            Posted August 8, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            I very much doubt Eric Holder claimed that. Do you have a quote?

            For a variety of reasons, police and prosecutors often decline to arrest or charge someone they believe to have committed a crime: lack of evidence, lack of resources, political pressure, the belief that a prosecution will not be successful, and so on.

            In plea-bargaining, which is used in a large fraction of criminal cases, prosecutors explicitly agree not to pursue prosecution on the original charge, even though they believe the suspect is guilty, in return for a guilty plea on a lesser charge. So, for example, they may decline to prosecute a suspect for murder, even though they think he committed that crime, if he agrees to plead guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter.

            • truthspeaker
              Posted August 8, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

              Sorry, it wasn’t Holder, it was his boss:

              “I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.'”

              http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/04/obama-clarifies-his-stance-on-medical-marijuana-121598.html

              This is a double lie. One, Obama has asked the Justice Department to completely ignore federal laws relating to torture carried out by US personnel. Secondly, Congress gave the president the power to reclassify drugs anyway.

              • Gary W
                Posted August 8, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

                Your link disproves your claim that there’s no prosecutorial discretion. Obama explicitly says: “What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.'”

                This is a double lie. One, Obama has asked the Justice Department to completely ignore federal laws relating to torture carried out by US personnel.

                This isn’t true, either. The Obama administration has declined to prosecute specific cases of alleged torture — namely, the alleged use of torture for interrogation of terrorists during the Bush administration. That does not mean it is “completely ignoring” federal laws relating to torture. Again, this is a case of prosecutorial discretion.

      • JBlilie
        Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        Right on Ben!

    • Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Gary W
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      This why there should only be secular hospitals, where treatments and information are based on science only.

      Except in exceptional circumstances, and subject to laws against fraud, false advertising, etc., health care providers are free, and should be free, to offer whatever kind of medical treatment they want (conventional, homeopathic, Catholic, Christian Scientist, Scientologist, witchdoctor, or whatever). And health care consumers do have, and should have, the right to accept any such offer, and to decline all offers.

      • darrelle
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Buyer beware? What about emergency circumstances in which the person needing medical attention has no choice? Such circumstances are not at all uncommon.

        • Gary W
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure what kind of circumstances you have in mind. Perhaps you could provide some examples.

          • darrelle
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            No thanks. You asking me that is all the hint I need that I don’t want to enter this discussion.

          • Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            The next time I’ve been run over by some idiot too busy yakking on a cellphone to pay attention to traffic, I sure as hell don’t want to have to worry that I might be taken to Gary Hospital where the homeopathetic doctor starts to ask the police for a scraping of paint from the offending vehicle to make a tincture to treat me before remembering that he hasn’t first ascertained whether or not he and I are sexually compatible.

            You seem to be under some bizarre delusion that public servants have some sort of freedom that trumps their duties. But that’s in keeping with your uncivilized “libertarian” fantasies, so at least you’re consistent.

            b&

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

              It would be like Mitchell & Webb’s Homeopathic Emergency Department

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

                Read my mind. Thanks for the link…couldn’t be arsed to look it up….

                b&

              • Posted August 8, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

                Darn. Beat me to it.

                /@

              • HaggisForBrains
                Posted August 8, 2013 at 2:54 am | Permalink

                Me too! A classic.

            • Gary W
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

              You seem to be under some bizarre delusion that public servants have some sort of freedom that trumps their duties.

              No, I’m just describing how things actually work in liberal democracies.

              You seem to be yearning for some authoritarian dystopia in which all health care decisions are dictated by government agents and there is no individual choice.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

                I live in a liberal democracy where there is universal health care and I have all the choice I want. The government, however, does not pay for homeopathy. I can choose it but I pay and such things are not offered in a hospital.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

                Yawn.

                What’s next from you, Gary? Death panels?

                You don’t seriously think anybody buys that bullshit, do you? So why do you bother?

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

                I live in a liberal democracy where there is universal health care and I have all the choice I want. The government, however, does not pay for homeopathy.

                But the Canadian government does not FORBID homeopathy. Health care providers are allowed to offer it, and patients are allowed to receive it. It seems to be quite popular in your country.

                Also, according this report from the World Health Organization, some Canadian provincial governments do pay for certain alternative forms of medicine. Not sure whether this includes homeopathy, but it does include “naturopathy,” which is sometimes used to refer to the same practises.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

                Any homeopath who used homeopathic treatments alone to treat a victim of a thoracic gunshot wound would likely be found guilty of at least manslaughter, even in Canada.

                If the ER surgeon wants to sing Broadway showstoppers while she’s sewing up her patient, she’s more than free to do so. She can even spritz her patients with distilled water if she thinks it looks pretty.

                But she is legally bound to provide the standard of care and to do no harm. Failure in that has consequences most dire indeed.

                How you can equate that with a freedom to practice quackery is utterly beyond me.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

                Any homeopath who used homeopathic treatments alone to treat a victim of a thoracic gunshot wound would likely be found guilty of at least manslaughter, even in Canada.

                Wait, so you now agree that health care providers are, and should be, allowed to provide homeopathic treatments to their patients — as long as they don’t use homeopathic treatments “alone”? Is that it?

                And by the way, how do you know that your claim above about criminal liability is true? Citation, please.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

                Gary, I’m too old to put up with your “Citation, please” trolling.

                Especially after I just provided you with one, labeled as such, that offers an introduction to the subject and copious links to everything you might ever wish to know about it.

                I mean, really. You’re not reading your own posts. You’re not reading mine. What, exactly, are you doing? Trying out a new artificial stupidity bot algorithm?

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

                Gary, I’m too old to put up with your “Citation, please” trolling.

                Shorter Ben Goren: I’m just making up facts out of thin air, which is why I can’t substantiate them.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

                Why, yes. Gary. You are just making up facts out of thin air, and that is why you can’t substantiate them.

                Glad that we’ve got that all settled and straightened out. I will leave you to your raving delusions, should you wish to continue polluting Jerry’s Web site with them, and go entertain a cat. At least the cat has a firm grip on reality and capable cognitive abilities.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

                How do you know that your claim above about criminal liability is true? Citation, please.

              • Posted August 8, 2013 at 3:20 am | Permalink

                Gary and Ben, you must stop this prolonged one-on-one squabbling here. A few exchanges are fine, but it goes on forever. Take it to private email when it gets to this point, plese.

              • Peter Ozzie Jones
                Posted August 8, 2013 at 3:38 am | Permalink

                Down here you may get a coronial inquest that makes adverse findings on all concerned. See this sad case of the death of someone from cancer opting for such alternatives to medicine, July 2010:

                Sydney Morning Herald

                http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/inquest-into-dingle-death-20100730-10zcm.html

          • JBlilie
            Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

            Ever been to an ER Gary? Sheesh!

      • jesperbothpedersen1
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        homeopathic, Catholic, Christian Scientist, Scientologist, witchdoctor, or whatever)

        Really? Why should they be allowed to offer that which does not help?

        • Gary W
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          Really? Why should they be allowed to offer that which does not help?

          Seriously? Because in a free society, people have a broad right to offer goods and services to other people, whether they “help” or not. Offering donuts to fat people doesn’t “help” them, at least with respect to their physical health. Do you therefore think it should be illegal?

          • jesperbothpedersen1
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            Because in a free society, people have a broad right to offer goods and services to other people, whether they “help” or not.

            I think our definition of “free” might be a bit out of sync.

            Are you implying that national hospitals where rules and regulations are decided by experts of their field aren’t a part of a free society? Furthermore these hospitals are funded through taxes which in effect makes the treatment free for the patient. How is that not a part of a free society?

            Offering donuts to fat people doesn’t “help” them, at least with respect to their physical health. Do you therefore think it should be illegal?

            Donuts?!? Really? That’s your argument for a free society.

            • Gary W
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

              Of course tax-funded hospitals are part of a free society. I’m not sure what you think that fact has to do with my answer to your question.

              • jesperbothpedersen1
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

                Alright. From a medical point of view, why wouldn’t you put restrictions on what treatments hospitals and doctors are allowed to offer?

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

                We have such restrictions and I support them. Doctors who violate them are subject to a variety of sanctions, including malpractise lawsuits, loss of license, and in extreme cases criminal charges. But that’s not what you asked. You asked why anyone should be allowed to offer anything “which does not help.” A law prohibiting all forms of medical treatment except those that “help” would go far beyond the laws and regulations we have today. And would be a nightmare to codify and enforce.

              • jesperbothpedersen1
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

                But that’s not what you asked. You asked why anyone should be allowed to offer anything “which does not help.”

                Yes within the medical profession. My objection is to your statement that hospitals should be allowed to offer whatever treatment they feel like.

                That is irresponsible and medically unprofessional.

                All the quacks are free to open their businesses separately, away from the hospitals.

                Until they are busted for malpractice.

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

                Within “the medical profession” there already are laws and regulations governing the behavior of doctors and hospitals, as I said. That does not prevent, and should not prevent, other people from offering alternative forms of medicine. Even within the medical establishment, there is plenty of disagreement about the value and efficacy of various kinds of tests and therapies, which is one reason why your “help” standard would be so hard to codify and enforce.

      • steve oberski
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        I would take it that you are not in favour of a taxpayer funded, universally accessible health care system.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          Well from what I’ve seen the model presented here would go bust from financing pseudo science & dealing with law suits! 😀

        • Gary W
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Depends what you mean by that. I’m not in favor of a single-payer national health care system akin to the National Health Service in Britain or Medicare in Canada, if that’s what you mean.

          • steve oberski
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            That was a very straight forward question.

            Your “confusion” I suspect is strictly a rhetorical ploy and is suggestive of an entirely warranted defensive attitude for a completely indefensible position.

            I’ll take that massive circumlocution of an answer for a no.

            • Gary W
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

              No, it’s not a straightforward question. The phrase “taxpayer funded, universally accessible health care system” could refer to countless possible health care systems.

              All real-world health care systems include both public (taxpayer) and private funding. All real-world health care systems provide different levels of access to different people.

      • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        They are not and must not be free — at least, not as part of their duties as licensed medical professionals. If they want to open side jobs as quacks, they can, but they open themselves up to serious liabilities if they do so.

        Look up “standard of care.” If a patient presents with bacterial pneumonia and you skip the antibiotics and go straight for the facial application of consecrated chicken entrails, you’ll probably be found guilty of some form of murder.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          They are not and must not be free — at least, not as part of their duties as licensed medical professionals.

          Health care providers — including licensed medical professionals — are (and should be) free to offer alternative forms of medicine to their patients. This is true not just in the U.S. but in Europe and Canada too.

          • Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Here, let me Wikipedia that for you, since just telling you to look it up clearly was insufficient.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_of_care

            But who’m’I kidding? Mere reality will never penetrate your Rand Distortion Field.

            b&

            • Gary W
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              I have no idea what you think your Wikipedia link has to do with what I wrote. As I said, health care providers — including licensed medical professionals — are (and should be) free to offer alternative forms of medicine to their patients.

              See, for example, the Wikipedia entry on the regulation and prevalence of homeopathy in various countries around the world.

              • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                I’ll try to spell it out.

                Quackery does not meet the standard of care.

                If you fail to meet the standard of care, you’re negligent.

                If you want to offer your bypass patients some really fine manicures while they’re in the recovery room, great, knock yourself out. Charge ’em for it, and even tell them that it’ll help their recovery.

                But failure to meet the standard of care is malpractice, and substituting quackery for standard of care is gross negligence.

                What you’ve been advocating is nothing more nor less than free license to negligent malpractice.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

                I’ll try to spell it out. Quackery does not meet the standard of care.

                Regardless of what you think about “quackery” and “standard of care,” homeopathy is in fact permitted and practised in numerous countries, including the U.S., Canada and all the major European nations. This includes many countries with various kinds of “universal health care.”

              • Chris
                Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

                Quick Note: I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal in the UK to claim that any alt-med/homeopathy “treatment” can specifically cure cancer.

                Homeopathy has also been squeezed out of the NHS because, quite simply, they cannot demonstrate that it works.

                Homeopathy is permitted in the wider sense, yes, but there have been cases where people have taken homeopathic remedies instead of shots for trips to danger areas which didn’t end well. Hence there are limits to what it can advertise for.

                Ditto Osteopathy.

                Amusingly part of the legislation that these folks fall foul of is our Advertising Standards.

              • Gary W
                Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

                Quick Note: I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal in the UK to claim that any alt-med/homeopathy “treatment” can specifically cure cancer.

                I’m sure the same is true in the U.S., although it probably depends on the precise wording of the claim. A claim like “homeopathy has been proven to cure cancer” or “studies show that homeopathy cures cancer” would probably be illegal because it’s factually incorrect (false advertising). But a claim that represents only a personal opinion (“Robert Quack MD, says that homeopathy cures cancer”) would probably be legal.

          • jeremyp
            Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

            I would argue that offering something like homeopathic remedies for money is fraudulent. Healthcare professionals should not be free to do that.

        • Timothy Hughbanks
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          It is difficult to find a more salient example of the stupidity of the indiscriminate application of libertarian “ideas” than when they’re applid to health care.

          • Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, Ayn Rand was an uncivilized barbarian — and quite the hypocrite, too, for all the social welfare she gleefully partook of herself.

            Gary thinks she’s Jesus.

            b&

          • Gary W
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            It is difficult to find a more salient example of the stupidity of the indiscriminate application of libertarian “ideas” than when they’re applid to health care.

            Then I guess it’s a good thing that no one has advocated the indiscriminate application of libertarian “ideas.”

          • Posted August 8, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

            Libertarian principles sound great, untill you try to apply it to real life situations.

  3. Frank
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It is no surprise that Catholicism would officially prefer death to birth control. The ultimate wickedness and irrationality of the Catholic church was beautifully illustrated by Hitchens in his debate with Blair. Hitchens quoted Cardinal Newman’s Apologia, in which Newman said that, from a Catholic point of view, it would be better for millions to die horrible deaths during the destruction of our solar system than for one person to willfully commit even a minor sin.

    See the 7-minute youtube video, Hitchens explains Catholicism to Tony Blair.

  4. Scott Reilly
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Ireland is being dragged kicking and screaming into the modern secular world, although it’s still at least 2 decades behind other European countires like Denmark and Sweden.

    And we still have to see a reproductive rights rally that can match even half that of the anti-abortionists. Irish young people just don’t care enough to actually get out on the streets, and are politically apathetic so never bother to petition politician to act on legislation.

    The Church still has a stranglehold on those who vote – the elderly, and the politicians themselves. So expect only very slow progress here for the forseeable future.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a problem with a demographic solution, kind of like the old white males running the GOP in America.

      Of course, a generation is a long time to wait for basic human dignity…

  5. Joe
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Malacy McCourt had it right: St. Patrick screwed up a perfectly good society.

  6. jesperbothpedersen1
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    sub

  7. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    //

    • truthspeaker
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      MOPAR fan?

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    If Ireland doesn’t want to enter the modern age, the Pope could easily bring all Catholics there by putting an end to this silly birth control crap. Come on new guy, how ’bout it?

    I feel so outraged by this, that I’m compelled to link to Loretta Lynn’s controversial song, The Pill (and this was controversial in 1975!) I like the song, but something about Hawaiian guitars sets off the rage circuit in my brain.

  9. Ken Pidcock
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    The two leading cancer specialists at the Mater Hospital in Dublin last night dramatically intervened in the row over a decision to delay vital trials of a new cancer drug.

    (My emphasis.) Excellent framing and responsible journalism. Seriously.

  10. Kieran
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Fr kevin has been
    busy

  11. Richard Olson
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

  12. Matt G
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully this will hasten the demise of the RCC in Ireland. Of course I feel for those who could become victims of this “Christian morality”.

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I recalled a friend told me about the story of an Indian woman dying in Ireland when refused an abortion a while ago and it is relevant to this discussion.

    • Matt G
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      This was HUGE several months ago. There were large demonstrations following her death. What a vile institution the RCC is.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Jesus fucking christ on a stick. Yet another murder committed by selfish, delusional fealty to the catholic church.

      As I have gotten older it is difficult for me to conceal my contempt for clergy persons on the rare occasion I encounter them. Like at a good friends funeral. Repeated exposure to this kind of despicable event is why.

      • Richard Olson
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        As one ages the end of the timeline is nearer (as I well know). I recommend you cease dithering around and write what you really feel.

        • darrelle
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the laugh! A bit of humor is a good anodyne to depressing news like that.

          By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that I am old. I’m not really old, but I sure do feel older. Everything is a bit more fragile than it use to be.

          • Mark Joseph
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            “Whatever don’t hurt, don’t work.”

            Forgot where I heard this first.

            • Matt G
              Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

              Losing your memory, huh? Not a good sign….

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            I totally feel old. I feel twice my age. I once heard two ladies in their 80s talking about their typical day when I was at the dentist & I thought, “crap, thats about the same level of activity I can handle”. Granted, at the time I was going through an episode of migraines that occurred every day for 2 years which I’ve since recovered from but still….I’m kinda an old lady now at least in spirit.

        • Gordon
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          As indeed does one commentator on the Fr Kevin article linked to above”

          “She {the Mater hospital] has no choice now but to immediately threaten to withdraw all Her services unless this filthy law, rammed through out (sic) democracy with the ligature of the whip strangling conscience and subverting democracy; that makes it legal to actually kill an actual human being solely and simply at the demand of another human being; ostensibly at the threat of the latter to self-destruct, be withdrawn.”

          At least you are not left in doubt as to the writer’s point of view

    • truthspeaker
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Doesn’t everybody here read The Guardian every day?

      If not, you should.

  14. Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    A fetus conceived under the influence of teratogenic chemotherapy could more likely result in a spontaneous abortion, so the issue also entails choosing between contraception and abortion, albeit spontaneous.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but then god is the abortionist. And, since he is perfect in every way, he can butcher as many babies as he wants, and still be the source of all morality. See Craig, William Lane for details.

    • steve oberski
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      In general, less than 50% of all fertilized eggs will even implant into the mother’s womb causing pregnancy to continue. From there, there is a 25-50% chance of aborting before you even know you are pregnant. If, however, you make it to your first month, your odds go up to 75% chance of carrying to term.

      From http://rationalwiki.org

  15. Gary W
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The distinction the Catholic Church makes between “natural” and “artificial” birth control is remarkably arbitrary. “Natural family planning” requires women to forgo sex during periods of peak sexual desire (which, unsurprisingly in light of evolution, tend to coincide with peak fertility). How is that “natural?” And to be effective, NFP requires careful tracking of menstrual cycles and temperature changes, using artificial devices like calendars and thermometers. Again, how this that “natural?” The whole natural/artificial distinction is simply an arbitrary standard invented for the express purpose of rationalizing a long-standing tradition.

    • Gordon
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      “Natural” as in “naturally its the only thing we can think of that might shut women up but let us keep control.”

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      H. L. Mencken still has the best description of this absurdity:

      It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.

  16. Robert Secatore
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    One more edict for Catholics to be proud and happy about!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  17. moarscienceplz
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    “Explaining the decision [of the hospital to delay drug trials], Fr Kevin Doran, who represents Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin on the hospital board, said there was an objection to women being mandated to use artificial contraception if they wished to use the drug.”

    The projection is strong in this one. The only “mandating” being done here is by the RCC to women suffering from cancer. So naturally it should be framed that the poor widdle Vatican (which is only trying to spread Jesus’ love!) is being bullied by those mean old doctors. And Jesus wept.

  18. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Considering how much of religion is devoted to robbing death of its sting, the fact that they prefer it a lot of the time shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

  19. Skistimas
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Where are the male contraceptives? Of course the RCC would be opposed to them as well. Why don’t males ingest contraceptives? Why is the female so completely responsible for becoming pregnant?

    • truthspeaker
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      There hasn’t been much luck in developing one. It’s possible this is because of lack of research.

      • ratabago
        Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        More likely it’s because we don’t have as relatively simple a target as female hormonal cycles.

        On the other hand, condoms work.

  20. tony bryant
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    In france the laicitée law of 1905 forced the Church to keep its holy nose out of schools and hospitals, but made the government accept responsibility for the maintenance of the existant churches. Seems like a fair compromise.

  21. Leigh Jackson
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    “Dublin’s Mater hospital yesterday rowed back on its controversial decision to defer clinical trials of a lung cancer drug.

    And despite earlier indications that the trial would not be given the go-ahead by the hospital until a new information leaflet reflecting the hospital’s Catholic ethos was prepared for patients taking part in the trial, no changes were made to the patient information leaflet.

    The decision to allow the trial proceed was made at a meeting of the hospital board yesterday afternoon.”

    The Irish Times, October 19, 2005.

  22. JBlilie
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Dr. C.: I’m not sure who Gary W is; but his comments have all the hallmarks of trolling …

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Likely a professional troll. Here he is trolling WEIT against gun control a few months back.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      I’ve had discussions with him before and he actually seems to believe what he’s saying, amazing as that may be.

      There really are free market and American exceptionalist ideologues in the United States. All that propaganda is directed at somebody.

  23. marksolock
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  24. Diane G.
    Posted August 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Twenty years ago more or less an acquaintance of mine learned she had melanoma while in the early stages of her 5th or 6th pregnancy (I forget which). Doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy and start chemotherapy immediately. Good Catholic that she was, she chose to carry the baby and delay treatment. In less than two years she was dead.


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