Oklahoma Rape Victim Denied Emergency Contraceptives. Doctor Cites Religious Objection As Reason

Author: May 31, 2012 7:11 am

Remember when doctors did what was in the best interest of the patient? Remember when refusing to provide care could get you fired or even arrested? Well, those days are coming to a close as doctors and nurses have been freed by the GOP from any ethical or moral restraints. These days, a medical practitioner can simply ignore a patient because treating them goes against their “religious beliefs.”

This was the nightmare scenario for a 24 year old Oklahoma woman and her mother. Via Raw Story:

The woman and her daughter were reportedly turned away because the hospital did not have any nurses who conduct rape exams on staff. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are specially trained professionals who deal only with the delicate process of conducting rape exams. The SANE program is coordinated through the YWCA and is a collaboration with local law enforcement, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and public health officials. The collaborative effort is designed to ensure evidence is properly collected and stored without re-traumatizing the victim and ensuring the most effective prosecution of the perpetrator possible.

Well, OK. Fair enough. If they have specialized staff specifically for that purpose and none were on hand, then I could see the doctor not wanting to interfere with the process of gathering evidence. But was that really the problem?


In this case the doctor involved refused to conduct any exam, nor would she dispense any emergency contraception. The hospital issued a statement grounding those decisions in the need to coordinate through the SANE program.

Wouldn’t dispense emergency contraception? That’s odd. Emergency contraception wouldn’t interfere with a rape kit at all or impact the investigation in any way. What could that be about?

The young woman asked the doctor whether or not emergency contraceptives were available and whether the doctor was simply refusing to provide them. The nurse told her “I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my belief.” The doctor refused to help her, even though she had just been raped, and refused to find another doctor to help her.

Ah. I see. So the doctor and nurse really refused to help because of their twisted beliefs. On top of that, according to the mother “Her (the doctor) attitude was so condescending. It was like she was treating my daughter like she had done something wrong.”

Heap some slut shaming on top of the religious fanaticism and you have the perfect Republican hospital visit: It’s your fault for getting raped and how dare you try to stop the potential pregnancy that is your just reward for being a whore?

The First Amendment guarantees both freedom of and from religion. No one forced these fanatics to become doctors or nurses. They have no right to force their religious delusions onto others and if they cannot perform the duties required of them, they should find another place of employment more suited to their beliefs. Further, what happens when one of these “true Christians” decides they don’t have to provide emergency services to a Muslim or a black person or a homeless person? All they have to say is “it’s against my religion” and that’s that. Where’s the morality? Where’s the accountability? Will it be OK for a Jewish doctor to refuse service to a Christian? Of course not. Like all conservative “beliefs,” it only exists to justify their callousness and can never be used against them. That would be “persecution.”

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11 Comments

  • I am teaching in the Middle East at the moment. I see the behavior of the fundamentalist christianists getting closer and closer to the extreme fundamentalists over here. I wonder when the christianists will demand that the rape victim must marry her rapist, or be stoned to death for her sin of being raped ?

    • Expat: I too, am becoming increasingly alarmed at the rise in fundamentalism in our country. I worry that it is being fomented by people to be used for their own personal and political gain as happened in Germany during Hitler’s rise. Clearly the hate has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ, as he taught just the opposite. I think it is time to recognize that many of these “churches” are just PACs in disguise and should be taxed and regulated. I think it is also time to recognize that separation of church and state is being abused and twisted by the fundamentallists, and the non-religious in this country need laws in place to protect their rights.

  • I am sure those kind of people can find work in Afghanistan or in just about any theocratic country, but we are a Democracy and a Republic, not a theocracy. They should not be allowed to practice their kind of “medicine” here.

  • Although I disagree vehemently with the Dr.’s failing to provide the morning after pill based on religion, I do know an OB/Gyn (female) who would do the same thing. She has been counseled and put on probation for praying with her patients against their objections. She also has an extreme bias towards patients she finds obese (she looks anorexic) and has had numerous complaints for her inappropriate comments to patients regarding their weight. These people do exist, but if she were on call in the ER and refused to do a rape kit I feel that she could face some legal and certainly medical ethics charges within the hospital system and if the patient wanted to push it, there is a process through the Medical Board of Examiners. It would be a long drawn out process. I just hope this female physician is skirting on the edge of some kind of disciplinary action and this will be the last straw. The nurse can always skate by saying she was just following Dr. orders.

    • After nearly 20 years as an RN, I have become appalled at the biases medical professionals bring to work with them. This is not a profession of “it’s all about me”. I once supervised a new nurse to tried to refuse to care for a single teen who was having a baby. If anyone needed our help, it was her. I explained to this young nurse, in no uncertain terms, that this patient could have been me more than 30 years ago. We are called “professionals” because we act in a professional manner; we do our best for our patients without judgement.

      • Doing a rape kit is required in rape cases. For a doctor or a nurse to refuse to do a rape kit for any reason other than danger to the patient is obstruction of justice. File criminal charges and file a civil lawsuit against the hospital, the doctor, and the nurse. Doctors and nurses may not refuse to do a rape kit. If SANE certified personnel are unavailable, the rape kit must still be done, and rape kits include contraception (Plan B Pill). The companies that make them put it in there. For the doctor to refuse to do the rape kit and give the Plan B pill is grounds for revocation of license, obstruction charges, and civil lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor personally. The same goes for the nurse. It is not following doctors orders to refuse. It is a violation of the law. It makes the nurse and accomplice to obstruction of justice and she/he can also be sued personally along with the doctor and the hospital.

  • Instead of the Hippocratic Oath, this asshole must have taken the Hypocritical Oath!

  • One of our wonderful FB readers is this young woman’s mother–and our entire community is outraged on her behalf.

    The doctor’s name is Dr. Anastasia Fisher.

    Here’s an interview with more info: http://www.news9.com/category/116601/video-page?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7337429

  • I hope that doctor and nurse get cancer.

  • I’m not versed on the Bible. Is anything like birth control or abortion even mentioned in there?

  • My heart aches at the callousness with which the mother and her daughter were treated. Imagine getting beat up and the staff refusing to treat one’s injuries because of “religious” beliefs. It seems people with such twisted beliefs are giving a go-ahead to rapists by doing nothing to mitigate the effects of the attack on the survivor. Indeed, the doctor and nurse are heaping more injuries on the survivor and her family. Have they no shame?

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