Friday, March 3, 2006

In debate over the mythical "conscience clause" that supposedly allows pharmacists not to do their job and impose their moral obligations on their customers, people have said things to the effect of "What if they decided it was unethical to treat black men? Or gays? Or Jews?"

And we inch up that slippery slope:

A small-town police chief was accused in a federal lawsuit Thursday of stopping a would-be rescuer from performing CPR on a gay heart attack victim because he assumed the ailing man had HIV and posed a health risk.


The lawsuit accuses [Police Chief Bobby] Bowman of pulling off Green's friend Billy Snead as Snead was performing chest compressions on the man. Snead was a passenger in Green's pickup when Green collapsed; Snead had managed to pull over the vehicle.

Snead said in an interview that he didn't realize at first it was Bowman giving the order and continued working on his friend. Bowman repeated his command to get away, saying that Green was HIV positive, then grabbed Snead by the shoulders and told him to sit on the curb, Snead said.

"He was a police officer so I got out the way. I assumed he would help. I didn't want to be a hindrance," Snead said. "He also told the ambulance drivers that he was HIV positive and to be careful."

Mr. Bowman is, of course, denying any such thing.

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