In Pennsylvania, doctors openly meddle in politics | Midterm elections in the United States
Doctors have chosen to very publicly oppose their state's Republican candidates because they fear abortion rights will be in jeopardy in the aftermath of the mid-election. mandate. Here is my road book.
Members of the group “Physicians for Fetterman and Shapiro” before their door-to-door on a Saturday.
PHILADELPHIA – The title of the Politico web publication article was catchy: Election campaign in Pennsylvania, the doctor will see you now. I immediately thought that it would be about Mehmet Oz, a well-known cardiologist on television, who is running as a Republican candidate for the position of senator.
But it was an entirely different prescription: the unprecedented involvement of state health professionals in the election campaign, driven by the issue of abortion and their concerns for their profession. .
In the United States, most doctors are entrepreneurs. How many of them are willing to alienate patients by speaking publicly about politics? It would be one of the most personal things for Americans after religion.
So it was out of curiosity that I made an appointment with some of them, Lisa Goldstein , a child psychiatrist, Ann Steiner, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, and Zeke Tayler, an anesthesiologist.
None of the three is new to political volunteering. They began to lend a helping hand to the Democratic Party, in the case of Lisa and Zeke, with Trump coming to power. Ann has mainly campaigned to defend abortion and contraception.
But all three are surprised at how many Pennsylvania medical professionals are willing to publicly say what's wrong with Republican policy proposals.
In my opinion, there are three factors that are pushing them to do so this year, even if the midterm elections are not as important as the presidential elections.
Obviously, says Lisa Goldstein, what motivates many health professionals to join the group is the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which, by overturning the judgment Roe v. Wade, allows a questioning , in the States, of access to termination of pregnancy. Currently, Pennsylvania law allows all abortions before 24 weeks, and even after if the mother's health is at stake or in cases of incest or rape.
But, according to Zeke Tayler, clinics in Pittsburgh are already seeing a 60% increase in appointment requests, mostly from women in neighboring states of Ohio and West Virginia, where the access window has narrowed. . And colleagues of Mr. Tayler are considering opening satellite practices in Delaware or New Jersey if the liability of medical personnel becomes criminalized in Pennsylvania. Because the tone could rise.
Republican candidate for state governor Doug Mastriano is advocating a complete ban on the procedure, without exception, even if the health of the mother is at stake. The group of doctors therefore favors the candidacy of its Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro.
That this group of doctors chooses to get actively involved in politics in the year when it is precisely a retired heart surgeon, Mehmet Oz, a well-known American television star, who is running for the post of senator, is not insignificant. .
None of the three doctors we met carries Mehmet Oz in his heart. Lisa Goldstein and Ann Steiner even refuse to call him doctor. Ms. Steiner calls him an empty shell, then, fearing that's too mean, uses the term opportunist.
For them, he is parachuted into the state by Donald Trump, he was not even a resident when he launched. But what angers them the most are all the bizarre therapies and miracle potions he has promoted in his career with little regard for their safety and effectiveness. Nor the image he gave of their profession by doing spectacle medicine. Dr. Oz was also, from the first months of the pandemic, one of the defenders of hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19.
They speak little, but the fact that these 2022 elections are the first normal elections since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic weighs in the balance. Healthcare professionals have not had it easy, and the administration of President Donald Trump cannot be said to have eased their burden.
Questioning of health measures and the effectiveness of vaccines, promotion of unverified miracle cures, overloaded health system, doctors perceive that science and their credibility have been damaged for more than two and a half years. And they want a return of the pendulum. But Lisa Goldstein wants to believe that their credibility is intact.
Last thing, and I'm not making it a factor, but Ann and Lisa confided in me that they are worried because they see conservatives trying to impose a view they don't agree with in every sphere of American life: what books the library can have, what can be taught in school, children's rights trans, adaptation to climate change.
They say this is what motivates them not to let their guard down. For years to come.