Bioethicists Want To Purge Christian Doctors

No more saying no to abortion, euthanasia and contraception

By William M Briggs Published on November 29, 2016

Two academic bioethicists want to bar Christians and those who hold other traditional religious beliefs from practicing medicine, and even from attending medical school. The pair fear, as the National Post summarizes, doctors might “impose their values on patients.”

Of course, it is impossible — not unlikely: impossible — for doctors not to impose their values on patients. Even using a tongue depressor on a patient presupposes certain moral values. (Presumably the doctor is doing this to aid in his goal of healing the patient, a moral value.) Since morality infuses all actions, the only real question is this: what moral values should doctors hold?

Julian Savulescu and Udo Schuklenk (I will refer to them as “the SS” hereafter), in their paper “Doctors Have No Right to Refuse Medical Assistance in Dying, Abortion or Contraception” in the journal Bioethics, argue that conscientious objectors not be allowed to train for or to practice medicine. “The problem with conscientious objection,” they write, “is that it has been freely accommodated, if not encouraged, for far too long.”

Conscientious Objection

In their definition, conscientious objectors are those medical professionals who refuse to kill or to disperse contraception for traditional religious reasons. Throughout their paper the SS assume, but never argue, it is a moral good that doctors kill patients when patients demand to be killed, or that doctors kill the lives inside would-be mothers when requested.

“Enlightened, progressive secular countries like Sweden, have labour laws in line with our arguments. Sweden provides no legal right of employees to conscientious objection.” To the SS, the more enlightened and progressive a country is, in effect, the farther it is from Christianity.

The SS say anti-conscientious objection laws have “not had a detrimental effect on applications to these countries’ medical schools.” This must be false. If these laws have been applied, then they have prevented faithful Christians and other religious from (openly) entering these schools. If this turning-away hasn’t happened to many, it proves only how quickly Christianity has faded in these countries.

Religion in Medicine

“We don’t know of any evidence that those with religious beliefs make better medical doctors,” say the SS. This is proof the SS aren’t up on medical history. If it weren’t for Christianity, the tradition of hospitals, nursing, and even doctoring would be far different, notably far less prevalent. They say, “We are deeply sceptical that holding religious beliefs makes one better at the practice of medicine.” But the opposite of these religious beliefs lead to killing patients and the lives inside women, as opposed to healing and preventing death. In their scheme, medicine is no longer what is best for the patient or mankind, but what is most expedient.

They assert contraception is a “social good,” “one of the greatest and most valuable of human achievements.” This is false. It is by definition an anti-human achievement. Where contraception has been adopted, birth rates have plummeted, often below replacement levels. And there are many other detrimental effects (many are listed here).

Who Decides Right and Wrong?

The SS continue with their reasoning:

If society thinks contraception, abortion and assistance in dying are important, it should select people prepared to do them, not people whose values preclude them from participating. Equally, people not prepared to participate in such expected courses of action should not join professions tasked by society with the provision of such services.

That “tasked by society” bit comes dangerously close to arguing that morality can be decided by vote. If a society decides it wants a thing, then that thing is “right.” But then the SS also admit this kind of “ethical relativism is practically ethical nihilism. If one accepted ethical relativism, the holocaust was, from the Nazi’s perspective, right. It is just that today we have a different set of values from the Nazis.” This is true. Ethical relativism is ethical nihilism. And since this is so, theirs is a direct admission that we need seek for morals truths which transcend societies and times.

That truth can be found in the natural law. There is a lot more too it of course, but very briefly, the natural law states that that which goes against human nature is wrong. Impeding the results of sexual intercourse, and the direct killing of innocent human lives are antithetical to human nature, and they are therefore immoral.

Rights Don’t Trump Wrongs

It is important to understand that when doctors have a monopoly over a procedure like surgery, it is not a luxury that they can choose to give or withhold on personal grounds. There are criteria around justice, autonomy and interests that determine whether it is provided. When contraception, abortion or euthanasia are made legal and they become part and parcel of medical services over which doctors have monopoly power, patients do acquire a right to them.

It is an absurd argument that because a thing is legal that therefore people have a “right” to it. Driving is legal; do people therefore have a right to free cars?

Excepting contractual agreements and the like, it is just not true that a doctor is, as the SS say, ethically bound to provide any service asked of him.

Of course, potential employers (like hospitals) may choose not to hire doctors who refuse to kill or dispense contraception. If these acts are legal, this is the employers’ right. And given that legality, it does follow that certain medical schools may also bar entrants who do not promise to abide by that school’s ethics.

The SS have much of the law on their side. But that only demonstrates the well known truth that what is legal is not always what is right. So far, conscientious objection is still legal. Yet the SS gleefully look forward to a time when faithful Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other conscientious objectors are barred from practicing medicine. If we aren’t vigilant, they’ll get their wish.

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  • Charles Burge

    A pair of self-appointed cultural gatekeepers want to impose their values in order to prevent Christians from imposing their values. Apparently their irony detectors aren’t working well.

    • Keith

      That applies pretty much everything the left fights for. Pretty much every liberal who I spoke to when they were protesting prop 8 (keeping marriage between a man and a woman) said that we shouldn’t legalize polygamy because it is wrong.

  • simplynotred

    SS, “If I were God for a day, what would I like to do?” Seriously ethicist, or do they actually have deadly cyst in their brains. Really, and then no Jewish Doctors, or Muslim Doctors, or Hindu Doctors…. where does it end.

  • NWaff

    How did Julian Savulescu and Udo Schuklenk ever get the title “bioethicists” ?
    It sounds like “biofacists” would be more appropriate.

    • realDEEBEE

      Yeah sort of like the title of a journalist

  • imamazed

    So sad to think they would not want Ben Carson to be able to operate. :o( I imagine all of the Siamese twins he separated would have a different opinion :o)

    • Jl Lin

      Or Dr. C. Everett Koop as well…he did some great work.

  • Jl Lin

    This way, what is most “pragmatic” won’t be hampered down by the influence of Judeo-Christian ethics. Ah and those pesky Commandments…like don’t murder. Trust me. There are already a ton of these people as professors and on medical school admission committees. They detest people of true faith, particularly Christian faith.

  • 4TimesAYear

    The so called bioethicists aren’t very ethical.

  • C.A.Martin

    The pair fears that doctors might “impose their values on patients.” So in order to combat this he wants to impose his “values” (or lack thereof ) on all patients and on all doctors as well. The bioethicists also wants to do away with conscientious objection; now isn’t this just a walking breathing example of an oxymoron.

  • CT

    Medical care is just that; caring about healing people. Otherwise, it is a farce and a front for a massive, systematic, depopulation event via euthanasia. Of course, just get rid of the ones that hold a respect for human life. Then it is a free -for-all for any heinous abuse.

  • ClareClare

    Bravo, thanks for laying out their frightening argument using their own quotes. If you had just summarized their positions, who would have believed you?
    As an academic, I have actually been told–get this–that since I am a Christian, I can’t teach a college course on religious freedom objectively. As a Christian, I surely HAVE to be biased against those students who are not Christian. Therefore (so I was told) only someone with no faith can teach a religion course properly, with objectivity. I swear I’m not making this up! Of course the field is very different from medicine, but the irrational approach is much the same, isn’t it?

  • Alleged Comment

    Would bioenthnicist like it if we banned them for beiing irreligious?

  • violettablooms

    So because Doctors with morals don’t want to kill others, they should be banned. Yup, let the killers have free reign. That’s the best for everyone? In what alternate universe are we currently in?

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