Nebraska psychologist opposes freedom of conscience

Dr. William Spaulding, a former president of the Nebraska Psychological Association, has criticized the proposed Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act because it does not force health care workers to refer for services or procedures to which they object for reasons of conscience.  The bill requires an objector to disclose that moral or religious beliefs prevent him from providing treatment so that the patient can seek assistance elsewhere, but does not force them to assist patients to find someone willing to provide the contested service.

Spaulding claims that an objector may refuse to treat a distraught patient who is involved in homosexual activity or who has homosexual inclinations by saying, “I have a religious belief against you and you have a moral problem.”

He refuses a compromise by which patients are provided a general list of alternative practitioners without specific referral to someone willing to affirm and support homosexuality, asserting, “Compromising on prejudice is not a compromise.” [Star Herald]



One thought on “Nebraska psychologist opposes freedom of conscience”

  1. Dr. Spaulding’s accusation that objecting colleagues would demonstrate callous disregard for distraught patients is uncalled for. This kind of hysterical attack misrepresents the position of objectors, obscures the ethical issues and demonstrates surprising intolerance for other views. Psychologists who do not wish to affirm or support homosexual inclinations or activity do not have religious beliefs against the patient. They are not unwilling to treat patients as long as the treatment does not require them to affirm or support what they believe to be wrong. In this respect, they do not differ from colleagues who object to assault, but will treat violent offenders as long as they are not required to affirm or support violence or inclinations to violence. Dr. Spaulding’s claim that refusal to support homosexual inclincations or activity is an unacceptable prejudice demonstrates an authoritarian mindset. It is one thing to claim, as he obviously does, that his view of homosexual inclinations and activity is the only correct view, and that all of those who disagree with him are mistaken. It is quite another to demand that those who disagree with him must abandon their own beliefs and live and practise according to his. One hopes that Nebraska legislators will be more broadminded.
    See Establishment Bioethics ; The Problem of Complicity; Referral: A False Compromise.

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