Thursday, October 29, 2009

Medical Ethics in thrall to the Authoritarian State

Ian Kennedy is a famous medical ethicist. His books appear on the reading lists of Masters programmes. My friend James is a medical ethicist and GP - a good man and a good Catholic and very pro-life. He points out in a recent article he's had published something Kennedy wrote about the conscientious objections of doctors to abortion.

"[I]t is no part of a doctor’s role qua doctor to legislate morality for others and impose his views on others.... To the doctor who complains that he wants to practise medicine without abortions, the answer must be that he can choose to engage in private practice.... If he joins the NHS, he should remember the last word of the three, ‘service’, and serve."
-Kennedy I. Treat me right . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

[Emphasis mine]

Is that statement merely authoritarian or does it verge on the fascist?



Blogger Londiniensis said...

... and the second word of the three is "Health", with all that implies. This, I believe, trumps "service", as the doctor is obliged to "serve" in promoting health and not for instance, making cars, or selling encyclopedias, or killing babies unwanted by or inconvenient to their mothers ...

9:36 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Not sure Sir Ian is that interested in 'first do no harm' as far as bambinos in the womb are concerned

10:29 PM  

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