The Christian Institute
Christian pharmacists will remain free to do their jobs in line with their consciences after regulators published new guidance recognising the “positive” role of religion.
Earlier draft guidance by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) could have forced Christians to provide access to abortifacient or hormone-blocking drugs.
The guidance now states: “Pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs”. The changes were made after The Christian Institute threatened the GPhC with legal action and hundreds of Christian professionals raised objections. . . [Full text]
Pro-life medics in the US are ‘under attack’, an academic has warned.
Author and bioethicist, Wesley J. Smith, said medics who are morally opposed to abortion and assisted suicide may soon be forced to choose between “their careers and their convictions”.
He made the comments in an article for First Things, an influential journal of religion and public life.
In support of his case, he highlighted work published in the New England Journal of Medicine which described abortion as “a standard obstetrical practice” and “not medically controversial”.
Smith said: “The authors take an absolutist position, claiming that personal morality has no place in medical practice.”
He went on to highlight several examples where doctors are being forced to refer patients for abortion and assisted suicide “even if they are morally opposed”. . . . [Full text]
A leading Christian nurse is warning that nurses and midwives could find themselves under new pressures to be involved with abortions and other procedures that go against their conscience.
Steve Fouch, head of nursing with the the Christian Medical Fellowship Head of Nursing, warns in a blog of a challenge to the rules that allow doctors to opt out of abortions.
He is writing after a new study, headlined ‘Vacuum aspiration for induced abortion could be safely and legally performed by nurses and midwives’, questions the need for abortions to be carried out by doctors in the first place. . . [Full text]
Guidelines confirm that doctors and nurses who oppose controversial emergency contraception on ‘moral or religious’ grounds cannot receive key specialist qualifications
Doctors and nurses who object to providing controversial emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds are being barred from specialist professional qualifications under official guidelines.
They class Roman Catholics and others motivated by pro-life beliefs as “ineligible” for important qualifications provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) even if they complete the training programme.
It led to accusations that the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, a branch of the RCOG, is unfairly discriminating against medical staff who act on grounds of conscience. [Full Text]
When two Glasgow midwives won the right to opt out of supervising abortions last April I suggested that the General Medical Council (GMC) needed to revise its professional guidance on the matter which now seemed to be at odds with the law.
At the time Niall Dickson (pictured), the GMC’s chief executive, actually told the Guardian that the GMC would need to consider the implications of the judges’ decision on its guidance. He is quoted as saying:
We will study the outcome of this ruling, which has just come out, to see if there are any implications for our guidance. We already have clear guidance which says that doctors should be open with employers and colleagues so they can practise in accordance with their beliefs without compromising patient care.
As I have heard nothing further from the GMC about the matter, and almost two months have passed, I have today written to Mr Dickson to ask what is happening. [Full text]
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]