In an article published in the September issue of the journal Bioethics on the matter of conscientious objection, bioethicists Udo Schuklenk of Queen’s University and Julian Savulescu of Oxford University argue against maintaining this fundamental right for physicians. Both are known for their pro-euthanasia views. The National Post reported on the paper in a piece entitled Conscientious objection by MDs stirs heated debate by Tom Blackwell. He writes:
“They suggest doctors do not necessarily have to perform the service themselves, though they must at least ensure someone else provides it.”
These two academics brook no dissent. They would not only deny freedom of conscience to physicians who will not participate in abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide but ultimately seek to bar like minded applicants from the medical profession. Forcing physicians to refer for services to which they object on moral grounds contravenes their right to freedom of conscience and religion enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A refusal to be involved with killing is not unprofessional, it is good medicine. Lethal injections and lethal prescriptions are not health care. The majority of physicians do not wish to be involved with these procedures. Eliminating the right of conscientious objection for physicians would be detrimental to the practice of medicine. Many patients would like to receive care from physicians who abide by the Hippocratic tradition to “do no harm”. Conscientious objection protection must be maintained for healthcare workers.
Larry Worthen of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada comments in the National Post article:
“The only governments in the history of humanity that have stripped away the conscience rights in this way are totalitarian governments. Are we going to get to the point where there’s an ethics test at the beginning of medical school, and if you have too much in the way of ethics, you’re going to be screened out?”
Yes, well that’s exactly what Schuklenk and Savulescu would like. If you are unwilling to put aside your morals and integrity, then they say you shouldn’t be allowed in medical school.