By Wesley J. Smith, J.D.
As the bioethics movement’s most prominent members write stridently in favor of stripping medical professionals of conscience rights in the
A doctor refused a patient’s request to insert an IUD because it acts as an abortifacient, that is, it prevents the early embryo from attaching to the uterine wall. She objected to this on moral grounds and was fired. She sued. Victory! From the invaluable Bioedge’s report:
In its judgement the Court (PDF) cited a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights:
“… as enshrined in Article 9, freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the foundations of a ‘democratic society’ within the meaning of the Convention. In its religious dimension it is one of the most vital elements that go to make up the identity of believers and their conception of life, but it is also a precious asset for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned. The pluralism indissociable from a democratic society, which has been dearly won over the centuries, depends on it.”
We live in a morally polyglot society. Medicine and healthcare are at ground zero of these societal moral disputes. If we are going to live together and continue to be served by the best and brightest doctors, nurses, and others–rather than those with the “right” moral beliefs–legal protections for, and societal respect of, medical conscience are an absolute necessity.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with the author’s permission.
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