The two articles above should trouble everyone concerned about human rights and the protection of life and conscience.
The first link discusses the arguments put forth in an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine by Drs. Ronit Y. Stahl and Ezekiel J. Emanuel against the right of medical professionals to refuse to participate in certain procedures or practices recognized as standard medical practice. The two doctors compare the right of refusal of military conscripts to that of medical professionals insisting that, while military conscripts are granted the right of conscientious objection because they didn’t choose to enter the military, but were drafted, medical professionals, because they willingly choose to enter the field of medicine, have no such right, but are duty-bound to carry out whatever procedure or practice is asked or required of them, so long as that procedure or practice is recognized as standard by the state and/or their profession.
We immediately see the problem in this argument, though the kind politicians of the Netherlands have offered an example, just in case it wasn’t clear. The Dutch are considering a law that would allow anyone over the age of 75 years to request and receive assistance in committing suicide, regardless of their health status. They call it the “Completed Life Bill,” which basically allows anyone over the age of 75, even those in perfectly good health, to decide that his or her life is “complete” and he or she would like to die now. Please provide the injection, thank you! Those in support of this bill are not subtle about their intention to carry the law to the logical next step and allow anyone of any age to request assisted suicide. I suppose the next logical step would be to offer assisted suicide to those who don’t want to die. Oh, wait. That already happens:
There is the added threat of insurance companies denying coverage for procedures but offering to pay for the medications needed to commit suicide.
There is also the threat of the state imposing itself on the wishes of parents, even those who have the resources, who want to offer every chance for their child.
The argument against conscious laws for medical practitioners is that, once given a license, the doctor (or nurse, anesthesiologist, respiratory therapist, etc…) is a tool of the state, and that what the state says, goes. No questions asked. If the patient wants assistance in committing suicide, it is not for the doctor to consider if such is moral, or even in the best interest of the patient. It is for the doctor to comply. Of course, the same is true if the procedure requested was an abortion, a sex-change operation, or sex hormone therapy for a six year old. If the state determines it is legal, the doctor is to comply.
Few people are able to develop a healthy, mature conscious, only to set that conscious aside once they enter the workplace. Do we even want people to do that? Do we want doctors who regard themselves as tools of the state and the desire of their patients? It doesn’t take a long look back in history to see the horrors committed by doctors in the name of “professional standards” or state law. Eugenics, anyone? How about that lobotomy? Medical research using black folk as guinea pigs? What could go wrong?
We complain constantly of insurance companies playing doctor, making decisions about what will and won’t be covered, regardless of their lack of medical expertise. Now, we have the state with which to contend, dictating what doctors may or may not do, or must or must not do, based on whatever law can succeed in attaining passage by the legislature.
Fools are rushing in where angels fear to tread.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.