Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
United States House of Representatives
27 June, 2001)
Wang Guoql was a doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Hospital who
willingly participated in organ harvesting from executed prisoners. However,
after a particularly gruesome experience he experienced a conflict of conscience
and tried to avoid further involvement in the process. His initial attempt was
rejected and he was met with various forms of pressure to continue his
participation. He eventually left China and appeared before a subcommittee of
the US House of Representatives, where he provided the following testimony. [Full text]
Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience
In a controversial policy change, announced this week the College of Pharmacists of B.C. decided to allow pharmacists to hand out the morning after pill, Preven, over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. In response, Greg Eberhart, registrar of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) has stated that “The APhA hopes to follow B.C.’s push…”
“There has been no dialogue between the membership of the APhA and its executive, as to how pharmacists stand on this position,” says Ms. Maria Bizecki, spokesperson for the group Concerned Phamacists for Conscience (CPC). Ms. Bizecki further states the APhA executive finds itself under increased pressure from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), to dispense this product over the counter.
In 1995, the issue of a “conscience clause” came before the APhA membership and was passed, but, after consideration, dismissed by the APhA’s self-appointed Regulatory Affairs Committee. “Forcing pharmacists to dispense or refer patients requesting Preven, an abortion causing drug developed to primarily act during Implantation of an embryo, is an insult to the autonomy of the pharmacist, the profession of pharmacy, and a health risk to women” adds Ms.Bizecki.
Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience (CPC) is opposed to pharmacists dispensing medications that violate their conscience on moral, medical ethical, or religious grounds.
For further information: Ms. Maria Bizecki, spokesperson Tel: (403) 228-2190 Fax:(403) 228-2249
Protection of Conscience Project
Two new advisors joined the Project in March.
J. Budziszewski, Ph.d, is Associate Professor, Departments of Government and Political Philosophy, University of Texas (Austin), U.S.A.. He is a specialist in ethical and political philosophy, is the author of five academic books, most recently “The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man” (1999) and “Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law”(1997). He has contributed numerous articles and reviews to both scholarly and popular periodicals, including “First Things”, the “American Journal of Jurisprudence”, the “Journal of Politics”, the “American Political Science Review”, the “Weekly Standard”, the”National Review”, and Public Choice”.
David Novak, A.B., M.H.L., Ph.d., is the Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is Professor of the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, and also Professor of Philosophy, with appointments in University College, the Faculty of Law, the Joint Centre for Bioethics, and the Institute of Medical Science. He is also Director of the Jewish Studies Programme. From 1989 to 1997 he was the Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia. He had taught previously at Oklahoma city University, Old Dominion University, the New School for Social Research, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Baruch College of the City University of New York. From 1966 to1969 he was Jewish Chaplain to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, National Institute of Mental Health, in Washington, D.C.
T. Everett Julyan, MBChB BSc *
INTRODUCTION The practice of discriminating between applicants for posts within obstetrics and gynaecology on the basis of their beliefs about the status of the embryo is becoming increasingly common. This affects not only the individual discriminated against, but also medicine and society as a whole. When this discrimination is faced because of a desire to please the God of the Bible it is more accurately described as persecution (Matthew 5:10-12).
EFFECTS ON THE INDIVIDUAL The effects of this persecution on the individual may be vocational, social, financial, emotional or spiritual. These include influencing ultimate choice of career, rejection by colleagues, unemployment in extreme cases, disappointment, disillusionment and temptation towards compromise. The only positives may be the maintenance of personal integrity and promise of heavenly reward.
EFFECTS ON MEDICINE & SOCIETY Excluding all those who refuse to end a human life simply because its existence happens to be inconvenient to another does medicine a disservice. It is antithetical to historical medicine which calls for self-sacrifice on the part of the doctor in order to preserve the patient according to an established ethical code. It seems that contemporary medicine only wants doctors who follow the status quo by changing their ethical framework to suit the wishes of their patients. The logical outcome of this kind of thinking is that autonomy may be considered to be of greater value than human life in a variety of clinical situations. But medical practice will become unethical if doctors are expected to give treatment which they consider to be inappropriate, such as killing an unborn child. The practice of medicine is in danger of becoming a commodity marketed with the expedient business ethic of supply on demand, where the value of human life can fluctuate as a relative integer. Denying employment to those who seek to preserve life instead of destroying it is a logical step of pragmatism in a culture where abortion is on demand. But medicine should not be a business designed to supply every demand indiscriminately when the demand may not be in the patient’s best interests. If medicine evolves by defining good practice simply as what the patient wants then society will ultimately become a victim of its own unethical requests (cf. Romans 1:28-32).
CONCLUSION Discrimination against those who refuse to include ending human life as part of their job description is becoming increasingly common. However, this serves neither doctors nor patients and is a symptom of a relativistic view of medical ethics. Its detrimental effects are far-reaching, affecting individuals, the medical profession and society in general. Those who see the dangers in this trend have a duty to protect society, the future of medicine, their colleagues and themselves from wrongly redefining beneficence and non-maleficence. [Full text]