The debate on medical ethics has definitely moved from “Our Bodies, Our Choice,” to “My Choice, You Don’t Have a Choice.” Autonomy, the “I want” ethics, trumps the right to life, the right to liberty and the physician’s duty to do no harm. Where once laws were written to punish doctors who harmed patients, doctors are now threatened with lawsuits and the loss of our licenses for refusing medications or procedures demanded by patients and their surrogates.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ethics statement, “The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine” is a case in point. Abortion is so important to the ACOG Ethics Committee that they deny the right not to be killed and threaten the right not to be enslaved by calling abortion the “standard reproductive care that patients request” and demands that doctors who “deviate from standard practices” (object to abortion) “practice in proximity to individuals who do not share their views or ensure that referral processes are in place” (with a willing abortionist). The President of ACOG then wrote letters asking Congress for laws to force these limits on our consciences: doctors who object to abortion should either change their practice so that they don’t take care of women and girls or move close to a willing abortionist.
The Christian Medical Association and 28 other pro-life, pro-family organizations have written a letter criticizing ACOG’s Statement as “a profound misunderstanding of the nature and exercise of conscience, an underlying bias against persons of faith and an apparent attempt to disenfranchise physicians who oppose ACOG’s political activism on abortion.”
GrannyGrump posted several reasons conscientious doctors should consider elective intentional abortion bad for the mother. I agree with her that abortion is wrong because it is bad for women. I also believe that she begins from the same viewpoint that I do: Even if abortion weren’t bad for women, it would still be wrong.
Elective intentional abortion is immoral because it takes the life of a human being. If the mother’s life is in danger, she has the right to self preservation and it is moral to help her save her life. Even then, the child’s life should also be protected if at all possible. The intent can never be to produce a dead child.
State officials have mandated that all medical students learn to perform abortions in New York and that all pharmacies stock and dispense contraceptives in Illinois and Washington. ER doctors are forced to dispense Emergency Contraception in Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Washington. How long before autonomy supersedes the physician’s right to conscience at the end of life since the American Medical Association has condoned the use of Oregon’s “Physician Assisted Suicide” law (now renamed and redefined as “Aid in Dying”)?
Laws against the conscience are a poor substitute for medical ethics and will result in the death of those same ethics. The end result of limiting the physician’s conscience is cook book health care written in court rooms by lawyers and judges. The practice of medicine will no longer be a profession, much less a calling, practiced by men and women of conscience. It will become a job done by people capable of following orders, doing what they believe is wrong.