Forced abortion and euthanasia?

‘Bioethicists’ want to force doctors to murder



A group of ‘bioethicists’ have recently released a 10-point “consensus statement” that outlines how they think doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who conscientiously object to ‘medical’ procedures like abortion and euthanasia should be forced to believe in and practice them (all quotes will be from this consensus statement unless otherwise noted).1 Indeed, abortion and euthanasia are specially singled out in the preamble to their statement:

Conscientious objection is the refusal by a healthcare practitioner to provide a certain medical service, for example an abortion or medical assistance in dying, because it conflicts with the practitioner’s moral views.
Thus, when God tells us none of us have the right to deliberately kill any innocent human, ipso facto we have no right to do so.

But this would apply to other so-called ‘medical’ procedures like ‘gender reassignment’ surgery, medical treatments sourced from unborn babies killed for that purpose, or to harvest organs from the disabled and euthanized patients.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the signatory list of this consensus statement reads like a who’s who list of Peter Singer’s acolytes and fans. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who argued for the murder of newborns (Abortion ‘after birth’? Medical ‘ethicists’ promote infanticide). And the earnest editor that defended them and baby murder, Julian Savulescu, who also thinks killing babies because of their sex (Legalizing abortion: no-one is safe anymore) and using cloned babies to harvest their organs (Legalized Cloning in Australia: What are the issues?) is OK.

neuroethics.ox.ac.ukJulian Savulescu
Julian Savulescu

So, how do these anti-ethicists justify the idea that healthcare professionals should be forced to condone and commit abortion and euthanasia? They say that a patient’s desire for abortion or euthanasia is enough reason to obligate any healthcare provider to ‘help them out’:

Healthcare practitioners’ primary obligations are towards their patients, not towards their own personal conscience. When the patient’s wellbeing (or best interest, or health) is at stake, healthcare practitioners’ professional obligations should normally take priority over their personal moral or religious views.

Why? They are “a legal, professionally sanctioned medical service”, so they think doctors should be forced to provide them at a patient’s whim, regardless of what the doctor thinks. They don’t seem to like that “Healthcare practitioners can conscientiously refuse access to legally available, societally accepted, medically indicated and safe services requested by patients in practice for any reason.” Apparently this “status quo” is “indefensible”. After all, it’s “indefensible” that healthcare professionals should have the freedom to refrain from killing innocents, isn’t it? And it’s not like anyone might think that calling abortion and euthanasia ‘safe medical procedures’ is an oxymoron, right? After all, who would ever think that ‘medical care’ is about treating illness, injury, and disorder rather than murdering people?

In other words, if anyone wants to be a health practitioner, according to these ‘ethicists’ they should be ready to commit and be complicit in murder. This amounts to telling healthcare practitioners that their “professional obligations” to regard some lives as more worthy of life than others are more important than anyone’s “personal” view that all human life is intrinsically valuable.

This is not a new idea; it’s a very old one. All that changes is which human lives are deemed worthless. For Aristotle, it was slaves and Persians. For Muhammad, it was anyone who disagreed with him. For Hitler, it was non-Aryans. For these people, it’s unwanted babies and people who might indicate that they want to die (or be talked into it?). However, the Nazis and these Singerite death-worshippers have something in common that they don’t with Athens or Mecca—evolution provides the key pseudo-scientific justification for their disdain for human life.

Here’s the problem—God disagrees, as per Genesis 9:5–6:

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

God’s reason for the death penalty for murdering anyone is that everyone is made in His image. This includes the unborn, as Jonathan Sarfati spells out in Antidote to abortion arguments:

Genesis 25:21–22 states: “and Rebekah his [Isaac’s] wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; …” Note that Rebekah’s unborn twins, Jacob and Esau, are referred to as “children” (the Hebrew word used, banim, is the usual word for sons after birth). Unborn babies are not disposable clumps of tissue, despite the claims of many pro-abortionists. And they are always human right from fertilization, because all the DNA coding needed to build each individual’s physical features is there in the fertilized egg.

And there are no ‘exception clauses’ in Scripture for those that want to die. Rather, as Lita Sanders points out in Can we choose our end?

In the Mosaic Law, murder was punished with mandatory execution; no ransom could be accepted (Numbers 35:31). And even in the case of accidental death, the manslaughterer faced exile to one of the cities of refuge, meaning his entire life was uprooted in an instant for an indefinite period of time (until the death of the current high priest).

Since God is the ultimate good, His character provides the standard for goodness. Thus, when God tells us none of us have the right to deliberately kill any innocent human, ipso facto we have no right to do so. Even Peter Singer agrees that Christianity is the main reason why people still object to abortion and euthanasia in the West: “On abortion, suicide, and voluntary euthanasia … we may think as we do because we have grown up in a society that was, for two thousand years, dominated by the Christian religion.”2 See Can we be good without God? and What is ‘good’? Answering the Euthyphro dilemma) for more information.

Now, they do ‘kindly’ allow for ‘conscientious objectors’ to murder to register their disagreement: “Healthcare practitioners who are exempted from performing certain medical procedures on conscientious grounds …”. This even sounds like they would be exempted from performing abortion and euthanasia, right? Wrong.

First, they will still be required to refer patients to people who will kill them or their babies for them:

When they have a conscientious objection, they ought to refer their patients to another practitioner who is willing to perform the treatment.

Worse, they will still be required to perform abortions and euthanasia under certain circumstances:

In emergency situations, when referral is not possible, or when it poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system, health practitioners should perform the treatment themselves.

And of course medical students will be forced to learn how to perform abortions and euthanasia, since:

Even if they become conscientious objectors, they will still be required to perform the procedure to which they object in emergency situations or when referral is not possible or poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system.
So, it doesn’t actually matter if you register as a conscientious objector to abortion or euthanasia; you will still have to do it when they tell you to.

So, it doesn’t actually matter if you register as a conscientious objector to abortion or euthanasia; you will still have to do it when they tell you to.

But that’s not all they have planned for registered conscientious objectors. They “should be required to explain the rationale for their decision”. They will be forced to do community service to compensate for not doing abortions and euthanasia (point 7). Regulators will make it hard for them to even find a job (point 6). But worst, perhaps, is point 9:

Healthcare practitioners should be educated to use a framework of decision-making incorporating legal, ethical and professional arguments to identify the basis of their objection.

This ‘re-education’ to learn that ‘Some Lives Don’t Matter’ sounds eerily like the chilling ending of George Orwell’s 1984. The protagonist Winston Smith is brought into Room 101 in the Ministry of Love, which contains “the worst thing in the world”, i.e. a person’s worst fear (which in Winston’s case was rats). This is used to make dissenters to Big Brother submit to his will. In the end, Winston succumbs by betraying his lover Julia (and she betrayed him in the same way), essentially ‘breaking’ both their spirits and forcing them to ‘love’ Big Brother.

These anti-ethicists used to tell us that abortion and euthanasia should be permissible for doctors to do. Now they’re telling us that it should be mandatory for doctors to do, and that anyone who disagrees needs to be ‘re-educated’. What God calls ‘evil’, they are calling a mandatory public good. Isaiah’s words are apt: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Only the grace of God in the Gospel can deliver people from such dreadful evil.

Published: 27 September 2016

References and notes

  1. Consensus statement on conscientious objection in healthcare, blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2016/08/consensus-statement-on-conscientious-objection-in-healthcare/, 29 August 2016. Return to text.
  2. Singer, P., Ethics and Intuitions, Journal of Ethics 9:331–352, 2005; quote on p. 345. Return to text.

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