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The purpose of this blog is to stimulate thought and discussion about important issues in healthcare. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of CMDA. We encourage you to join the conversation on our website and share your experience, insight and expertise. CMDA has a rigorous and representative process in formulating official positions, which are largely limited to bioethical areas.
Freedom. It’s an important word to us in the United States—arguably the most important word to the founding of our country.
While COVID-19 has consumed the attention and energies of the world for the last year, other bioethical and scientific challenges have not gone away and are set to burst back to the forefront this year. Significant advances were made in 2020 to move away from the antiquated science using human fetal tissue from abortion and toward development of modern techniques and biological models that do not use fetal tissue. However, a resurgence of research using trafficked aborted fetal body parts is likely with the new White House Administration. Calls have already been made to gut the current ethical regulations on federal funding of fetal tissue research. The drumbeat for taxpayer dollars to pay for experiments using fetal organs and tissues from abortion continues, trying to make use of the crisis to justify unethical research, e.g., making humanized “lung-only mice” to investigate COVID-19. In the meantime, adult stem cells have made “mini-lungs” in the lab that faithfully model normal lungs, and they are already being used to study COVID-19 infections and therapies.
CMDA members Drs. Greg and Ali Tsai live and practice medicine in Manhattan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis when the pandemic initially broke out in the United States. Greg is an ENT physician, while Ali is an OB/Gyn who works part-time with a homeless shelter.
The U.S. Congress has taken one step closer to ending religious protections—and medical judgment for health professionals—on gender issues, by passing the Equality Act by a largely partisan vote in the House of 224 – 206.
A multitude of states, counties and cities have banned “conversion therapy,” usually for minors only, with efforts underway to issue a national ban for all through the so-called “Equality Act” (HR 5). Yet, “conversion therapy” is a misrepresentative, maligning and summarily ill-defined term employed as a jamming tactic to capitalize on an allusion to implicitly forced religious conversion while stigmatizing and intimidating any therapist who would engage in change-allowing therapy. It implies coercion and suffering, neither of which are true of modern change-allowing therapy (aka SOCE for sexual orientation change efforts). Modern SOCE therapists uniformly view old aversive techniques (think shaming, electric shocks, etc.) as unethical and ineffective. Tellingly, no state or municipality enacting a therapy prohibition has yet to ban aversive practices, only counseling that allows clients to explore their potential for change of SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity). Why not ban aversive measures too, if abuse is really the issue?
“You can’t handle the truth!”
That classic line from A Few Good Men from Colonel Jessup in the witness stand became a waving flag for many. It is enticing to think we own the truth, and that those who can’t “handle” it are naïve, weak or cowardly. Delivered to perfection by Jack Nicholson, Jessup hammered a wedge between truth and fantasy, and of course we all know which side we’re on, don’t we?
A growing proliferation of blog posts, podcasts and online videos presenting confusing information regarding COVID-19 has increased over recent months. Many of these controversies are propagated by physicians speaking to large church audiences. In this blog post, I will address the most common disputes.
This is a non-partisan site, and this is a non-partisan blog. I have not posted opinions supporting any candidate anywhere, and I will not do so here.
Like me, you probably entered the medical field because you wanted to help people who were in significant need, facing challenges, and for whom you could have a substantial positive impact. You may have gone in with the goal to save lives. In healthcare, we have the privilege of helping people at some of their most vulnerable points, while also being a light shining into their darkness. For many women, that moment arrives for them after they have taken mifepristone (RU-486) with the intention of ending their pregnancy.
A federal court has provided protections for physicians committed to following medical evidence and conscience convictions regarding the transgender and gender-questioning patients for whom they care.
When my husband and I worked at a mission hospital in Kenya for six weeks in 2013, we ate dinner every evening with another volunteer doctor, an orthopedic surgeon. We often discussed the use of opioids, or rather, the seldom-use of opioids in Kenya. After a U.S. surgery, he said his patients would receive opioids round the clock in the hospital, and they’d go home with a prescription for 30 to 60 pills. Yet here, patients’ pain was managed with non-opioid pain medications, and nobody was prescribed opioids after discharge.
A physician member of CMDA recently asked me for a perspective on the tragic temporary takeover of the U.S. Capitol and the role of politicians before and after that tumultuous event. The physician’s email began, “I’m so saddened by this incident and so appalled….”
I’ve been asked to share the response to that physician more widely, so my edited response is below, followed by some thoughts on public policy ministry, the last four years and the next four years.