I received this link from a good friend who is, incidentally, a pro-life physician.
I am always puzzled by statements that uphold freedom of conscience while denying the ability to act upon it. What worries me is not that our freedoms and liberties would be limited, but the absence of discussion as to why this particular freedom (conscience) should be limited and how.
In the case of pro-life physicians, they think that abortion is wrong and this thought is expressed by their refusal to have anything to do with it. This is socially relevant because abortion is legal in Canada and women are free to request one.
Many pro-life physicians don’t only believe that abortion is wrong for them but wrong period. Morally wrong, yes. But also medically wrong and this is where the issue gets really sticky: Physicians are never forced to perform procedures that would go against their patient’s best medical interest. If I suffer from arthritis and want my arm amputated and my physician thinks it can be controlled with acetaminophen, she is under no obligation to cut my arm off. If I want to treat my clinical depression with high doses of morphine, no physician has to give it to me. Yet, amputation and morphine are legal in Canada, and women are free to request them until the burly men in white come to escort them out of the building.
Now, what if a physician thought abortion was not in the best medical interest of a woman? The more I reflect on this question, the more the ACOG’s position starts looking like a pro-life doctor witch hunt. If you oppose abortion on medical grounds and are pro-choice, you are acting within the parameters of ethical medical practice. But if you oppose abortion on medical grounds and are pro-life, we will get your license. Troubling.
Quite right. Roy Eappen at torydrroy.blogspot.com frequently writes on abortion, freedom of conscience, and doctors and has discussed this in the past.
Look, the whole point of doctors is to evaluate what treatments are medically necessary or appropriate. One reason antibiotics aren’t sold OTC is that most laymen without access to a lab don’t know if they actually need them. If you walk into a doctor’s office with a cold, whether or not you want antibiotics, the doctor shouldn’t give them to you. And if birth control pills, which are ethically and medically much less problematic than abortion, are subject to a doctor’s prescription to ensure that they’re medically appropriate for the woman who wants them, how on earth can abortion not be?
Or, we can dispense with the fiction that abortion on demand has anything to do with medical necessity. Even if terminating a pregnancy had the same moral status as getting breast implants or a nose job, we would have no business forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for it. Since it is on a different moral plane, to all but the most die-hard Pete Singer types, it is increasingly barmy that we ask medical professionals and taxpayers to treat abortion as if it were as neutral and necessary as a tonsilectomy.
Tanya is reminded: Dr. Chris Kempling has been on this bandwagon for several years. He’s quite adamant that the Canada Health Act is violated when abortion is covered by our tax dollars.
“The Canada Health Act says that to qualify for public funding, a health procedure must
1) be medically necessary,
2) be beneficial,
3) have benefits that outweigh the risks, and
4) be the result of informed consent.
Abortion, as it is currently practiced in Canada, meets none of the four requirements of the Canada Health Act. http://www.chp.ca/forum/Kempling/Abortion.htm
I rather tend to agree.by