Appeal to sound medicine, not conscience rights: expert

Defenders of life called to polish arguments for the right to life

BC Catholic

Deborah Gyapong

U.S. physician and theologian is warning appeals to conscience rights may no longer be effective because they appear to pit physicians against their patients.

Instead, defenders of conscience rights must polish their rhetorical arguments in defence of good professional judgment and sound medicine, said Dr. Farr Curlin March 16. He was giving the annual Weston lecture sponsored by Augustine College.

A palliative care physician and co-director of the Theology, Medicine and Culture Initiative at Duke University in Raleigh, NC, Curlin has been called as an expert witness in the case of five Ontario doctors who are challenging the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policy that would force physicians to make effective referrals on abortion, euthanasia, and other procedures they may find morally objectionable.

“The policy is outrageous and unprecedented,” Curlin said. “It’s also incoherent.” . . . [Full text]


One thought on “Appeal to sound medicine, not conscience rights: expert”

  1. Dr. Curlin emphasizes the importance of establishing and defending sound medical judgement, which cannot be neglected. However, in Canada, the only readily available legal protection for objecting health care workers is found in constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. There is no comparable protection for professional judgement. Thus, one can argue that the law requires that a belief that abortion or euthanasia is immoral must be accommodated. However, one cannot readily argue that the law requires similar accommodation of professional judgement about abortion or euthanasia.

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