Ethicists are recommending that Canadian doctors should not be allowed to opt out of providing services to patients, even if it goes against their conscience. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing
A recent article out of Canada reports that ethicists are recommending that conscience laws be modified for the medical profession.
The argument suggests that physicians should not have the right to opt out of providing such services as prescribing contraceptives when a patient requests those services. According to the authors, “Doctors must put patients’ interest ahead of their own integrity. If this leads to feelings of guilty remorse or them dropping out of the profession, so be it.”
That is truly shocking language that we should take note of, especially since, as the article in the National Post points out, every country in the civilized world recognizes at least some form of conscientious objection. Not only do the authors suggest that certain professions should be closed to those whose integrity would require the abandonment of the conscience to practice, it fails to understand what conscience is.
The reason we provide protections for the exercise of conscience is because people should not be made by the government to make their conscience optional. As Dr. Robert George of Princeton University has put it, “The right of conscience is a right to do what one judges oneself to be under an obligation to do.”
We will see whether Canada takes up the proposal by its professors, but south of the border, we must be vigilant that we never permit the government to make optional what our Creator has made obligatory.
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