Can a group of Christian Scientists buy a hospital, convert it to reading rooms, accept patients and operate as a licensed hospital? Okay, that’s ludicrous as well as being a simplistic stereotype of Christian Science, so let’s go with some slightly less ludicrous examples.
Can a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses operate a licensed hospital that refuses to give blood transfusions?
Can a group of Hindus operate a licensed hospital that refuses to use any animal derived medications or treatments? Can a Hindu pharmacist do the same? (I’m not positive that Hindus have such restrictions, so correct me if I’m wrong about that.)
I’m not posting this to be inflammatory. I think there’s an interesting and important question here regarding medical treatment and religious freedom and I think it could be helpful to discuss it without the emotional and political baggage attached to conception and pregnancy.
My initial thoughts: A hospital is a limited commodity. A given community can only support a limited number of hospitals. Groups that refuse to offer the full spectrum of available and medically approved treatments should not be able to control this commodity.
I don’t feel totally comfortable with that opinion, but I feel less comfortable with allowing hospitals to base care on anything other than currently accepted scientific medical thinking.