The issue of the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) and its potential impact on the local community have recently become a point of concern for numerous health experts and organizations. Therefore, the goal of this letter is to convey the message concerning the key problems that the proposed division creates for marginalized populations in the American community. By shifting the reasoning for decision-making in the healthcare setting from health-related guidelines and standards to personal perceptions of ethics, one will create an environment that is potentially dangerous and damaging to LGBT people.
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The Potential Impact of the New Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom
The problems that the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) opens are particularly linked to the use of personal ethics as opposed to a professional one. By moralizing health issues, one will set the premises for healthcare experts to fail to deliver the services that patients belonging to the LGBT community may require. However, the problem under analysis is far broader than the management of LGBT concerns. Numerous people that fall under the category of a protected class, such as women, in general, may face significant challenges accessing the healthcare support that they need.
The rationale for the Position
Under the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) regulation, healthcare providers may refuse to provide services such as abortion or even participate in them, thus causing women to experience severe challenges in getting the needed healthcare support (Congress of the United States, 2018). For this reason, the provisions of the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) can be seen as rather questionable.
Moreover, the problematic aspects of the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) extend to more general concerns that may affect the entirety of the American population. For instance, the refusal to refer patients for services that can be seen as incongruent with a healthcare professional’s personal beliefs, such as the provision of assisted suicide, will cause significant harm to a wide range of citizens (Sofer, 2018). Thus, by introducing policies that are ostensibly inclusive and appreciative of cultural differences, the new Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom also limits the rights of a range of vulnerable and socially ostracized groups to receive proper treatment.
Admittedly, the changes that the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) has brought can be seen as progressive given that it acknowledges cultural differences between American citizens and allows them to maintain their religious and cultural integrity. However, even with the noblest intentions, changes in the current legal healthcare practices should not come at the cost of other marginalized groups, which the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom “ (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) specifically entails. Seeing that the restriction of healthcare options for women and people belonging to the LGBT community, as well as several other vulnerable populations, will inevitably follow the execution of the proposed regulation, it has to be reconsidered.
Suggestions or Recommendations
The current standards for care in the U.S. suggest that people of all social and ethnic groups are entitled to receiving high-quality healthcare services. Although it is critical to reinforce the described principle, the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20), on the contrary, sets the premises for subverting the ideas of equality and equity on which the very foundation of the American society resides. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the ideas promoted by the new “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” (Kritz, 2018, p. 20) act should be scrutinized before integrating them into the American healthcare setting. Specifically, the rights of women and people belonging to the LGBT community have to be taken into consideration when shaping the regulation.
Congress of the United States. (2018). Letter to House Leadership in support of the Conscience Protection Act. Web.
Kritz, F. (2018). Trump Administration Opens Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom. The American Journal of Nursing (ANJ), 118(6), 20-21. Web.
Sofer, D. (2018). HHS division to enforce ‘conscience and religious freedom’. The American Journal of Nursing (AJN), 118(4), 12. Web.