It was nineteen-eighty something and as he lay unconscious on the bed, the EMTs entered the apartment and were greeted by his rather distraught significant other who explained that in spite of taking his meds, his systems seemed to be breaking down. He had never been that unresponsive before.
The EMTs set up their equipment and were preparing to treat the patient, but when my friend brought out his prescribed meds, in case that would be of importance, they immediately realized that the person unconscious on the bed was suffering with AIDS, put their equipment away, collapsed the gurney, and left.
The AIDS epidemic was in full swing, and by this time medical personnel, especially EMTs, had been trained well enough to take the necessary precautions, but the ill man had to be taken to the hospital in the back seat of a car, but even then, he was left alone in a side room of the emergency room until they could get around to him. Not having received the emergency care he should have at home, in the ambulance, and in the emergency room, he was dead within hours.
The EMTs had said nothing as they left. They offered no explanation for their decision to leave. They just packed things up, which to those present seemed to be part of their preparation for the care it was assumed they were about to administer.
It was the 80s, so the decision to leave could have been based on their fear of AIDS, their not wanting to deal with Gay people, or their belief that AIDS was a punishment from God, and for religious reasons,chose not to cross the deity.
Regardless, a person died.
For those who have ever called EMTs or brought someone to the Emergency Room for whatever reason, imagine your feelings and horror if someone refused to do their job because they did not like something about the person needing the care, especially if that person is powerless at that moment.
If you go into a career that deals with saving injured people, making sick people well, and keeping people safe, it would appear to be the wrong career choice if you find ways to avoid doing that,
The Trump White House this week has changed the focus of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) by having it protect the “religious freedom” of health care providers with the institution of the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” (CRFD) whose job will be to ensure providers are allowed to opt out of providing care when they have objections based on personally held religious beliefs.
The obvious victims of this religious preference over civil law are GLBT people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and women who seek to have an abortion, but, considering religions have rejected Black people because their skin color is the Mark of Cain, Jews killed Jesus, Catholics were papists and the church the Whore of Babylon, the Church of England splintered into sects including Puritans and Separatist, the Protestant Reformation split the Catholic Church into many offshoots all of which hated the others and when given the chance persecuted whoever was not in charge at any given time, Special Needs kids are evidence that their parents have sinned, and politics and religion now have fuzzy borders, they are not the only ones who can be left to die or be refused needed care.
The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will be “responsible for OCR’s national conscience and religious freedom program, including enforcement of and compliance with laws protecting conscience and the free exercise of religion and prohibiting coercion and religious discrimination.”
Religion will be free to exercise various forms of discrimination.
Last spring, Trump appointed the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino to serve as the head of Health and Human Service’s civil rights department. Servino was the Director of the DeVos Center of Religion and Civil Society at the Foundation where he spoke against civil rights protections for GLBT people, especially Transgender individuals, and authored a report opposing the implementation of those parts of the Affordable Care Act that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex when it comes to federally funded health programs.
Present at the announcement of this new department were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy who helped kill a GLBT rights bill in 2016, Vicky Hartzler who led the fight to keep Transgender people out of the military, James Lankford who believes it should be legal to fire GLBT people just for that regardless of their job performance, Everett Piper who made it known that Oklahoma Wesleyan University sought a religious exemption so it could discriminate against Transgender people, and Montse Alvarado, head of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an anti-GLBT group.
Add this latest move by Trump to his earlier ones:
trying to ban Transgender people from serving in the military, ending protections for Transgender students in school and transgender employees in the workplace, supporting a court case defending firing people for being GLBT, signing an executive order allowing people to discriminate against GLBT people as long as they say it is because of their religion, lashing funding for HIV research and care, and nominating many anti-GLBT prople to positions where they can exercise their prejudices.
He obviously forgets he is the president of all citizens, not just those who voted for him, and has no problem with the idea that some people will be denied basic medical treatment.
He will soon have the blood of the victims of discrimination on his hands.