Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the House of Representatives of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, three statements on ethics were approved. I don’t have all of the text or the final versions of any of them at this time and will report on them in more detail later, but I would like to brag on the our Ethics Commission and the work of the House. (I’m the Chair of the Family Medicine Section.) Watch for more here and – hopefully – in the Press. I’ll post links as soon as they’re published on line.
The Chair, Dr. Robert Scheidt also gave one of the workshops on Conscience issues, which I’ll discuss after I get home. At the meeting, he introduced statements on “Abuse of Human Life,” “Human Stem Cell Research and Use” and “Human Life: Its Moral Worth.”
These are statements from an unabashedly Christian world view – with strong logic and historic background. And some of the most elegant language on “person,” the image of God, and the moral worth of human life. Here’s a bit of the wording – draft version:
Every being of human origin is a person. A person is not a Homo sapiens with the superadded quality of “personhood.” Some, however would attempt to withhold moral worth from human beings unless they “qualify” as persons. The status of “personhood” cannot be conferred by society.
The beginning and continuity of the moral worth of human life are concurrent with human life itself. Human worth begins with the one-cell human embryo and lasts lifelong. A living human being is an integrated organism with the genetic endowment of the species Homo sapiens. . . . Thus a human being, despite the expression of different and more mature secondary characteristics, has genetic and ontological identity and continuity throughout all stages of development from formation of the human being until death.
There is beautiful language on the image of God, the sacred nature of human life, and the love of God. I will post these more fully as soon as I get home. Now, I have to go catch a 7 AM plane.