April 1, 2019

Making America What, Again, Exactly?

I just saw this article this morning, and to be honest I thought it must be an April Fool's Day post -- except that it's from Texas, first of all, and it was posted a few days ago, so no, it's real. Here's the eye-catching headline.

Texas Republicans advance a bill 
that would allow doctors to refuse LGBTQ patients

Looks about right, for Texas, doesn't it?  'Extreme conservatism' I think is how my Sonofa Gov Andrew Cuomo described them, a few years ago. 
Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right to life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay? Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives they have no place in the state of New York, because that is not who New Yorkers are. 
According to the article on LGBTQ Nation, the bill
...would allow state-licensed professionals to refuse to serve LGBTQ people if they cite their religion has advanced out of committee in the Texas senate.  Senate Bill 17 would prevent state licensing agencies from denying or revoking licenses from professionals - including doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and even barbers - if they claim to be following a "sincerely held religious belief."
The bill's sponsor, Senator Charles Perry, said
Living our faith does not stop when we start to work. When we see what we may perceive as immoralities, those people who hold those beliefs should be able to defend their faith...without fear of losing their livelihood and their license. 
It's OK though - apparently law enforcement officers have to keep their religious beliefs in check, and even doctors will have to set their beliefs aside for "life-or-death" situations. From the text of the bill,
This section may not be construed to: (1) authorize a license holder to refuse to provide a medical service within the scope of the person's license that is necessary to prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury; or (2) limit any right, privilege, or protection granted to any person under the constitution and laws of this state and the United States.
Guess we'll not see Texas signing on to that whole 'health care is a right' thing, I'm thinking. And of course, who gets to determine what medical services fall under the 'necessary to prevent death' part of the law? I'd argue that chemotherapy may be considered  as being 'necessary to prevent death' but I'm sure that's not what Texas is thinking. I just think it's noteworthy that 'imminent' only applies to serious bodily injury...

But what - there's more.

There are several bills on the table this year in Texas that are similarly positioned to formalize legal discrimination based on the beliefs of the beholder.
  • SB 1107: medical professionals can refuse non-emergency treatment
  •  HB 4512: individuals can decline to participate in gay marriage ceremonies or provide goods or services for use in one
  • SB 1009: state and local judges can refuse to perform marriages opposed by their religion.
  • HB 103 (the Free to Believe Act): marriage-related businesses can refuse to serve same-sex couple; county clerks can opt out of providing same-sex marriage certificates; regulations requiring transgender-friendly bathrooms can be outlawed; and religious groups can refuse to hire or rent to those whose actions or beliefs conflict with the group's faith.
  • SB 1978: local governments and state agencies can't take "any adverse action" based on a person's religious belief or moral conviction.
  • SB 880: university organizations can limit membership to those who comply with the group's religious beliefs or standards of conduct.
  • HB 4497: state agencies and local governments can't punishing people or businesses that decline to provide "marriage-related goods and services."
  • SB 85: therapists can decline to provide mental health services based on the counselor's religious beliefs, if a referral to another professional is made. 
  • HB 4357: counselors who provide faith-based treatment (which opponents believe would provide support for conversion therapy to 'cure' gays can't be punished
And remember, the same Texas that wants to make all of these discriminatory protections for some of their residents and against others, is the Texas that already discriminates against the moral convictions of people, based I guess on the deeply held beliefs of the state, not even the beliefs of an actual person.

From my post back in 2014, Family Over Hospital, Parents Over Government, which referenced a horrible case from Texas where the state decided that the convictions of the patient, her husband, and her parents must be disregarded, no matter how strongly held:
Marlise Munoz, a mother in her 30's and an EMT, was found unresponsive by her husband Erick, who's also an EMT. He did what he could to try and revive her, as did folks at the hospital, but ultimately the were unsuccessful and Marlise has been on life support since November 26th, after suffering what doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism. She's being kept alive mechanically, even though her husband has indicated that he and his wife had specifically discussed not wanting to be kept alive on machines; her parents agree. 
And yet, there she lies, brainwaves flat, machine-supported. 
Why? Because Mrs. Munoz was pregnant – 14 weeks at the time of her collapse, now nineteen weeks or so - and under Texas law, life support cannot be withdrawn from a pregnant person. 
Apparently, what's good enough to protect public servants and professionals from the LGBTQ goose is not good enough to honor the wishes of the straight gander. 

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