By Wesley J. Smith
Until recently, physicians who did not want to participate in these human life-ending practices–abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide–were allowed space to practice Hippocratic medicine regardless of the legal status of these killing procedures.
But that right of medical conscience is fast coming to an end, with laws starting to be passed that threaten doctors with what I call “medical martyrdom,” e.g., do the deadly deeds (or be complicit via referral to a doctor known to snuff) or don’t practice medicine.
Victoria, Australia, has that law around abortion and Quebec around euthanasia–now threatening to go national with Canada’s Supreme Court conjuring a right to be euthanized out of the country’s Charter of Rights.
But about a doctor’s right of conscience to refuse participation in killing activities? They will be forced! Most Canadian palliative care docs don’t want to participate in assisted suicide. A recent survey of palliative specialists found that a majority want no part of assisted suicide. From the Canadian Medical Association Journal article:
Dying Canadians should not assume palliative care doctors will assist them if they choose to end their lives, because the majority of those currently practising don’t want that role, says the president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. “Palliative care physicians don’t see assisted suicide as part of palliative care,” Dr. Susan MacDonald told CMAJ in an interview from St. John’s. “Physician-assisted suicide should happen separate from palliative care — absolutely.”
A decent society would not force them. But the culture of death brooks no dissent. Provincial medical associations in Canada are lining up against permitting doctors a moral or religions conscience right to opt out of killing. I already wrote about the Saskatchewan proposed medical martyrdom ethical rule. Now, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario:
The revised policy sets out physicians’ existing legal obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the College’s expectation that physicians will respect the fundamental rights of those who seek their medical services.
The policy also sets out the College’s expectations for physicians who limit the health services they provide due to their personal values and beliefs.
A key feature of the revised policy is that it requires physicians to provide their patients with an effective referral to another health-care provider for those services the physician chooses not to provide for reasons of conscience or religion. An effective referral means a referral that is made in good faith with a view to supporting, not frustrating or impeding, access to care.
This is a blatant effort is to drive all pro-life and Hippocratic-believing doctors out of medicine. Anecdotally, I am increasingly being told stories of Christian and other identifiably pro-life types being black-balled from medical, nursing, and pharmaceutical schools.
Indeed, I tell such students to keep quiet about those beliefs–for the sake of their future careers. We are coming to a time when the only people who can become doctors will be those willing to kill. How frightening is that
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.