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Crushing Medical Conscience Rights

Got this in the mail from a friend who is a well-known activist involved in fighting assisted suicide. I publish it with his permission, with his name redacted:

I sense such exhaustion among pro-lifers and religious conservatives. When I speak, I tell them that people are saying, “Fine, do what you want. Just leave me alone.” And I tell them the problem with that is they WON’T leave you alone.

The same dynamic about which you write regarding LGBT issues is playing out in bioethics with regard to medical conscience. It isn’t enough that abortion is legal and euthanasia. It isn’t enough that children are being mutilated who are gender dysphoric or their normal puberties blocked-with unknown consequences later in life. Doctors MUST do it when asked-even if it violates their religious beliefs or professional consciences.

In Canada, the Charter has stronger protections in this regard than our First Amendment, explicitly protecting “freedom of conscience and religion.” That didn’t help the Catholic doctors who sued to keep from having to participate in euthanasia as required by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (!!!). These MDS must either kill or provide an “effective referral,” which is procuring the doctor willing to commit homicide. An idea used in other provinces for the government to publish a public list of willing MDs was rejected because it would create stigma around MAID (medical aid in dying, the euphemism of choice for mercy homicide).

A court of appeals has now ruled that all doctors must perform all legal medical procedures when asked-known as assuring “equal equitable access to healthcare”-or find an area of practice in which they won’t be asked, or get out of medicine.

I have long written they want to drive pro-lifers out of health care. (I talk with pro-life students who are rejected from nursing and medical schools mysteriously.) It’s clear.

And they don’t care if there is a brain drain or that good doctors retire instead of bend the knee.

That crap is coming here once Trump is gone. The explosive reaction to his conscience rule at HHS proves it.

So, what choice do we have?

When people say they can’t understand how any Christian can vote for Trump, they need to think hard about this. Abortion and assisted suicide might seem like relatively minor things to you. Most assuredly they are not to us. We are talking about a regime under which physicians and other medical personnel are compelled to participate in what they regard as suicide, and/or a form of murder. This has never been the case before, but now it is in some places, and is coming here quickly.

Those who say that Christians have no business voting for Trump need to explain why it is morally preferable to vote for a president who would support these anti-life policies.

My feeling is that at best the Trump presidency buys us time. Maybe this means time to prepare the resistance. Maybe this means time for Christian and other dissident medical personnel to prepare for other careers. Maybe this means time for conservative political leadership to get its act together and fight hard to protect conscience rights of doctors and nurses. It ought to mean all three, at least. In The Benedict Option, I quoted someone who is very high up in the US medical profession:

Christian students and their parents must take this into careful consideration when deciding on a field of study in college and professional school. A nationally prominent physician who is also a devout Christian tells me he discourages his children from following in his footsteps. Doctors now and in the near future will be dealing with issues related to sex, sexuality, and gender identity but also to abortion and euthanasia. “Patient autonomy” and nondiscrimination are the principles that trump all conscience considerations, and physicians are expected to fall in line.

“If they make compliance a matter of licensure, there will be nowhere to hide,” said this physician. “And then what do you do if you’re three hundred thousand dollars in debt from medical school, and have a family with three kids and a sick parent? Tough call, because there aren’t too many parishes or church communities who would jump in and help.”


Does this mean that no Christian should go to medical school or law school or enroll in professional training to enter other fields? Not necessarily. It does mean, however, that Christians must not take for granted that within a given field, there will be no challenges to their faith so great that they will have to choose between their Christianity and their careers. Many Christians will be compelled to make their living in ways that do not compromise their religious consciences. This calls for prudence, boldness, vocational creativity, and social solidarity among believers.

I’m telling you: it’s coming, and it’s coming hard and fast.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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