St. John Health System issued a statement this afternoon. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports:
Contrary to reports last week that contraceptives could only be prescribed for medical reasons, the statement released Monday appears to indicate that physicians employed by SJHS and practicing at Jane Phillips Medical Center can prescribe contraceptives to be used as birth control, leaving the decision to individual physicians.
“Appears to” is right – it’s very muddy. Very Cover Your Ass; very waffling; very You Can Have Both.
The unsigned document states in full:
“Consistent with Catholic health care organizations, St. John Health System operates in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, and therefore does not approve or support contraceptive practices. However, only physicians (not institutions) are licensed to practice medicine and make medical judgments. While our physicians agree to abide by the Directives, they also have the ability to prescribe medications, including hormonal medications, in accordance with their independent professional medical judgment. This includes informing patients when they are operating under their own professional medical judgment and not on behalf of St. John Health System.”
Our physicians agree to abide by the Directives, and they also have the ability to prescribe medications, including hormonal medications, in accordance with their independent professional medical judgment. The ones that are contrary (in the official view) to the Directives. So what does that even mean? If the doctors agree to abide by the Directives and then don’t abide by them, what happens? Is that a firing offense?
Also – fuck the fucking Directives. Again: clerics should not be issuing religious “Directives” to health care institutions. Period. Health care should be secular. Period.