Member of the European Parliament Roger Helmer has written in favour of assisted suicide on grounds beyond those recommended by a recent report by a private commission, advocating the availability of the procedure for those not terminally ill. He explicitly argues that the cost of supporting people with advanced dementia is one reason to accept the practice. [TFA]
A report produced by a privately established and funded Commission on Assisted Dying has recommended that assisted suicide be legalized in the United Kingdom for any competent person over 18 years old who is terminally ill and expected to live less than 12 months. It also recommends that physicians who refuse to assist with suicide for reasons of conscience be compelled to refer patients to colleagues who will do so [P. 311, Report]. The eleven members of the Commission included Lord Falconer, a lawyer and former solicitor general, who acted as Chair. The validity of the Commission has been challenged from the outset, and a number of groups, including the British Medical Association, refused to take part, though about 1,300 sources gave evidence. [BBC]
(United Kingdom: 2011)
- John Smeaton* | The two nurses . . .were employed at a hospital for ordinary nursing duties. They were then allocated to work once a week at an abortion clinic in the hospital. The abortion process did not involve surgical abortion but the increasingly common process of “early medical abortion” . . .When they became aware that they were participating in abortion they told their management that they did not want to continue but were then told that they had no choice in the matter. . . Full Text
The North Glasgow Universities Trust has said it will look into the interview process involving Dr. Everett Julyan, 26, a Christian, states that he was denied employment with North Glasgow Universities Trust because he would not participate in abortion training. The matter is under investigation by the Trust. See Access to Appointments.
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]
R. L. Walley, FRCSC, FRCOG, MPH *
It was quite a surprise, back in 1973, to be informed by an eminent professor of obstetrics and gynaecology . . as a Roman Catholic specialist, that “there is no place for to practice within the National Health Service . . .” [I]n order to stay in the specialities in the United kingdom, I would have had to compromise a conscientiously held abhorrence to the direct taking of human life. I refused and as a consequence became unemployed with a wife and three children and had to leave country, home and family in order to practise my chosen specialty in full freedom.[Full text]