Turning agents of life into agents of death: Abortion V Medicine
According to the daily mail, a Catholic midwife was forced to quit her Job because she refused to Supervise abortions. After 30 years as a midwife and delivering a total 5,000 babies Mary Doogan a devout Catholic has had to quit her job after the London supreme court ruled that she had to supervise abortion procedures.
During her career as a midwife in the NHS hospital, Mary had to supervise colleges as they participated in abortions. Although she never had to do it herself, she admits she always felt that she was complicit.
Mary saw herself as a driver in a band armed robbery. If she were caught, the police would arrest her even if she were not in the bank brandishing the gun.
“I don’t believe any midwife should be put in that position. It goes against why I went into midwifery in the first place. ‘My role was to bring life into the world. My patients were the woman and the baby. I have always felt a professional duty to both. ‘The thing that I could never get my head around was how you had to watch the words you used,’ she adds. ‘You’d never say ‘baby’ while with a woman who had chosen a termination. You’d talk about her ‘pregnancy’ or her labour”
The supreme court in 2014 ruled that while midwives can opt out of abortions, those in senior positions were still required to supervise in abortions.
One of the reasons abortion keeps on coming back in the news over and over is because just like the civil rights movement and more recently euthanasia, abortion is a matter of ethics. The problem here is that we have competing rights, the rights of the doctor as a person and the rights of the patient to decide what happens to their own body. Pro-choice advocates will say leave your religion at home and “just do your job”. Religious people, I know also believe in treating people with dignity and respect because they believe people have intrinsic worth and should be treated as such. Should they leave that at home as well? I am of the view that everyone has an ideology, and when we are put in positions of power, we find ways to have the laws fit our ideology. For example, some doctors view the human body has a machine and if they don’t fix it they have failed, this is a biomedical model of health. Others see health as a product of social, environmental, biological and economic factors.
As for physician assistive suicide, recent polls show that most medical professionals are against euthanasia or assistive suicide, it is the public that is overwhelmingly in favour of it. Medical professions over the last few hundred years have been about serving lives, preserve life and do no harm. Before the Hippocratic Oath you did not know what to expect from the doctor when you visit one, the doctor back them could give life or take life away. This has changed, medicine has become more patient-focused, doctors, nurses and allied health are now taught a client-based approach to medicine, where the needs of the patient should always come first and this is a good thing for the most part.
There are cases in medical settings, where what the client or patients thinks is best for them is medically not right for them. For example, an overweight patient, who cannot sleep, and yet keeps on asking for sleep medication. If the doctor keeps on giving that patient medication without treating the underlying cause, then he has failed the patient. The doctor has a duty of care to do what is best for the patient even at the cost of personal preference. Another example, should a doctor instantly help end the life of a depressed, mentally ill person, even though the person has expressed that they want to end their own life?
People from the pro-choice movement say that if the nurse does not want to do her Job, then she should leave or quit. That is true if the abortion in a matter of life or death, like ectopic pregnancies. In an ectopic pregnancy, the doctor will end the pregnancy. Because if they did not the mother will die. If the nurse was refusing to offer care to patients in life or death situation, then this is unethical should have retired or changed career a long time ago.
Distinctions have to be made between refusing medical treatments to people and refusing to take part in medical procedures. Medical treatment denotes evidence-based procedures that have a therapeutic effect on patients. It means management and care of a patient to deal with disease or disorder, medical treatment includes, using prescription or non-medication, wound management after surgery and administration of oxygen in an emergency or non-emergency situation. If nurses or doctors were refusing medical treatment, then that goes against the essence of why people go in the medical field.
Medical procedures, however, are different, they are steps that are taken to improve a person life, they do not necessarily have to be therapeutic, such as, cosmetic surgery, or liposuction. Depending on research therapeutic procedures change, for example, lobotomy was at one time used as a form of treatment for people with mental illness. That procedure has now been outlawed; even if lobotomies were still being used today to treat mental illness and widely accepted by the public, it would still be unethical and morally wrong.
What people do not realise is that depending on the procedure used during an abortion, some babies are born alive and then killed or left to die after the abortion. In America, Congress recently passed laws that mandated abortion providers to care for babies born alive after abortion. The very fact that Congress had to pass laws to protect babes born alive is chilling in its self and reveals a lot about the current state of our moral conscience. The law passed also, raises another question, what happened to the babies that were born alive? Before Roe V. Wade, proponents of abortion used to say we want abortions that are safe legal and rare; this has changed to abortion on demand and abortion at coasts. There has now been about 60 million recorded abortion since Roe V. Wade in 1973.
Finally, the abortion debate, in my opinion, rests these two sets of questions. Firstly, what is a living human person and at what point do we start and stop being living human persons?
featured photo was taken from here