Appel aux parlementaires belges sur l’éthique médicale

la Société Médical Belge de Saint-Luc

Nous apprenons que notre parlement fédéral désire légiférer à nouveau dans le domaine bioéthique. En particulier, des parlementaires de plusieurs partis proposent deux choses, qui nous semblent graves de conséquences.

Premièrement, ils désirent allonger la durée permise pour avorter; et porter le délai légal à 18 semaines, au lieu de 12 semaines.

Ces parlementaires votent entre eux, un texte et une loi, qu’ils n’entendent pas porter à discussion dans le public. C’est effectivement ainsi que fonctionne la démocratie représentative ; et c’est donc leur privilège, de ne pas devoir tenir compte d’autre avis que le leur.

Cependant, dans une matière aussi sensible, où l’on décide donc bien quel être vivant pourra être retranché de la société, et de sa protection ; où l’on décide qui peut bénéficier de l’appellation d’être humain, et qui n’en peut pas bénéficier, il nous semble que la voix qui s’oppose publiquement à cette décision , doit aussi être entendue. Il ne pourra pas être dit plus tard, que personne ne s’y est opposé.

Nous appelons donc à un grand débat public sur cette importante question.
Nous nous interrogeons cependant, sur la volonté réelle de prise en compte de propositions de ce type. En effet, l’exemple de la France, nous rend assez pessimistes sur la sincérité réelle des parlementaires ; où les avis reçus lors du débat ont été mis de côté, sans en tenir compte , car le résultat n’était pas le résultat escompté par eux.

Deuxièmement, ils désirent forcer la conscience des médecins.

Les médecins qui ne désirent pas participer à un acte qu’ils ont la conviction d’être mauvais, seront forcés par la loi à y participer. Il n’y aura donc plus de liberté de conscience.

La loi serait elle supérieure à l’éthique médicale?

Ce n’est pas l’avis de notre association.

Bien sur, l’exécution d’un ordre gravement injuste de la Loi atténue la responsabilité du médecin, mais sans la faire disparaitre complètement. La responsabilité du médecin dans la collaboration à cet acte procède donc de la Loi, à laquelle l’obéissance est due.

Mais c’est bien ce même raisonnement qui a fait condamner les exécutants des décisions nationales socialistes, au siècle passé, du point de vue de la responsabilité morale.

La contrainte étatique, ne fait donc jamais disparaitre la responsabilité morale individuelle.

Sur cette base, nous demandons avec insistance que soit reconnue et protégée par la Loi, la liberté de conscience des médecins, et la reconnaissance de l’autonomie de notre éthique médicale.

Cette éthique médicale est actuellement assez largement répandue au niveau mondial, tel que re-précisé par l‘Association Médicale Mondiale, qui conclut en matière de début de vie, que « c’est une question de conviction et de conscience personnelles qui doivent être respectés” (Manuel d’éthique médicale, 3e édition, p. 57).

En foi de quoi, nous lançons cet appel à nos parlementaires.

Dr. Henri Marechal
Président de la Société Médical Belge de Saint-Luc
Bruxelles, le 18 Novembre 2019

Appeal to Belgian parliamentarians on medical ethics

Belgian Medical Society of Saint-Luc

We learn that our federal parliament wants to legislate again in the field of bioethics. In particular, parliamentarians from several parties are proposing two things, which we think have serious consequences.

First, they want to extend the duration allowed to abort; and extend the statutory period to 18 weeks, instead of 12 weeks.

These parliamentarians vote among themselves, a text and a law, that they do not intend to bring to the public discussion. This is indeed how representative democracy works; and it is their privilege not to have to consider any other opinion than theirs.

However, in such a sensitive subject, where it is decided which living being can be cut off from society and its protection; where we decide who deserves the name of a human being and who does, it seems to us that the voice that publicly opposes this decision must also be heard. It can not be said later that no one has opposed it.

We therefore call for a major public debate on this important issue.

However, we wonder about the real willingness to take into account proposals of this type. In fact, the example of France makes us rather pessimistic about the real sincerity of parliamentarians; where the advice received during the debate was put aside, without taking it into account, because the result was not the result expected by them.

Secondly, they want to force the conscience of the doctors.

Doctors who do not wish to participate in an act that they believe to be bad, will be forced by law to participate. There will be no more freedom of conscience.

Would the law be superior to medical ethics? This is not the opinion of our association.

Of course, the execution of a seriously unjust order of the act lessens the responsibility of the physician, but does not make it completely disappear. The responsibility of the physician in the collaboration to this act therefore proceeds from the Law, to which obedience is due.

But it is this same reasoning that has sentenced the executors of national socialist decisions in the last century from the point of view of moral responsibility.

The state constraint, therefore, never makes the individual moral responsibility disappear.

On this basis, we urge the recognition and protection of the law, the freedom of conscience of physicians, and the recognition of the autonomy of our medical ethics.

This medical ethics is currently fairly widespread worldwide, as re-stated by the World Medical Association, which concludes in the beginning of life, that “it is a matter of personal conviction and conscience that must be respected. “(Medical Ethics Manual, 3rd Edition, p. 57).

In faith whereof, we make this appeal to our parliamentarians.

Dr. Henri Marechal
President of the Belgian Medical Society of Saint-Luc
Brussels, 18 November 2019
Catholic Medical Association Belge Saint-Luc
p/a Abdij der Norbertijnen
Kerkplein 1
1850 Grimbergen
info@cathmed.be

Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto: Canadian situation “grim”

Health care professionals who do not wish to participate in killing their patients need protection

Sean Murphy*

Thomas Cardinal Collins, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, in addressing the 40th annual Cardinal’s Dinner in the city, warned that “all people of faith, living in what is more and more an aggressively secular society, must manifest the courage of their convictions.”

After considering the global persecution of Christians, he raised the subject of freedom of conscience and religion in Canada, within the context of the legalization of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

It is deeply troubling that the culture of life seems to be eroding more and more in our country. Canada remains one of the few countries in the world with no law on abortion. The introduction of euthanasia was a sad day for Canada, and all indications are that the government intends to loosen safeguards currently in place. Increased palliative care seems to have taken a backseat to death on demand. I find this to be appalling.

In such a grim situation, it is critical that we at least respect the conscience rights of those health care professionals who do not wish to participate in killing their patients. As there is limited conscience protection at the federal level, most provinces in Canada have legislative protection in place for their health care workers. I hope that our provincial legislature can work to address this issue in the days ahead by enacting legislation that protects the conscience rights of all health care workers. 

Whose Rights Come First: Doctors’ or Patients’?

Medscape

Arthur L. Caplan

Hi. I’m Art Caplan. I’m at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine. Conscientious objection—everybody seems to be talking about it these days. What are the rights of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, or other healthcare workers to say that something may be legal but they refuse to do it?

This issue has come up particularly as more and more health systems are merging. You see Catholic hospitals merging with secular hospitals. Catholic hospitals have a huge presence in the American world of hospitals and nursing homes, probably accounting for 40% of all facilities. When mergers take place, whose values predominate? . . [Full text]

(Project response: Freedom of conscience in healthcare: “an interesting moral swamp?”)

Church supports conscientious objection for medical professionals in Nuevo Leon

Catholic News Agency

Monterrey, Mexico, Oct 30, 2019 / 05:19 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Monterrey said Sunday he supports the reform of the Healthcare Law in Mexico’s Nuevo Leon state allowing conscientious objection for doctors and nurses.

Speaking to the press Oct. 27, Cabrera said that “conscientious objection is a universally established right; I think that sometimes the problem is how it is understood or put into practice.” . . . [Full text]