Any objections? Doctors still pressured against following conscience

Catholic News Service

Carol Glatz

ROME (CNS) — When St. John Paul II called for conscientious objection against laws legitimizing abortion and euthanasia 20 years ago, one Catholic doctor never imagined the struggle and sacrifice to carry out that duty would last for so long.

Dr. Robert Walley, a British obstetrician and gynecologist who founded and heads MaterCare International, organized the group’s very first world conference in Rome in 2001 on the question of conscience in maternal healthcare. And now, 14 years later, “the problem hasn’t gone away, it’s still here.”

To address the ongoing dilemma, MaterCare held its 10th international conference in Rome Aug. 31-Sept. 4 to look at the problem of discrimination against Catholic obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, medical students and health care staff when they object to training and procedures that go against their beliefs. Part of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, MaterCare was founded in 1995 to serve mothers and their children.

“In 1973, I had three choices” when he practiced under Britain’s state-run National Health System: do the abortions, change his specialization or leave the country, Walley said. “So we left and went to Canada” to start life over with his wife and seven children to support.

While he was “prepared to accept that cross,” he said he felt he did not receive enough support or encouragement from the church and feels medical professionals who become conscientious objectors are still “basically on our own.” . . . [Full text]

MaterCare International stands firmly behind Dr. Bogdan Chazan




June 12, 2014- MaterCare International stands firmly behind Dr. Bogdan Chazan, who is being told by the Polish Prime Minister to put the laws of the nation state above his Catholic faith.

Dr. Bogdan Chazan, a distinguished and celebrated obstetrician in Warsaw, has denied a request to abort an unborn child diagnosed with serious brain defects. An openly Catholic obstetrician, Dr. Chazan previously signed a “Declaration of Faith”, along with approximately 3,000 other physicians, which calls for the recognition of a Roman Catholic doctor’s rights to perform their duties in line with their religious convictions. Dr. Chazan argued that an abortion is against his faith and has come under siege from the Polish government and has been the victim of hateful attacks from fringe groups who oppose his rights as a Roman Catholic doctor.

Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, has remained in favour of positive alternatives to abortion for decades. Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a statement on Tuesday, reducing doctors to servants of the nation state, “Regardless of what his conscience is telling him [the doctor] must carry out the law.”

MaterCare International’s Executive Director Dr. Robert Walley commented, ““The simple fact is that the majority of people who have ever lived, and quite probably a large majority of people today, see abortion as the execution of an innocent life. Demanding that citizens abandon their morality and conduct executions at the command of the government is the hallmark of the most totalitarian and sinister states in human history. We are saddened and outraged that with this measure against Professor Chazan, Poland seems intent on joining their ranks.”

Walley continued, “People of faith become doctors, because they want to help people. They want to offer healing and hope, not death and despair. We look to them to give us their best advice and opinions. If we say doctors cannot have opinions, that patients are allowed to dictate their wants to a physician, then what good is a doctor? Whether or not to do anything is a moral decision, and to point the finger at those with religious backgrounds is prejudice. We should value their morality and not punish them for it. Dr. Bogdan Chazan, like Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others, equates this ‘procedure’ with murder, being forced by the law to commit murder is something we can all surely reject.”

Through his decades of service, Dr. Chazan, as a physician and professor of gynecology and obstetrics, has gained the respect of colleagues, his fellow staff, and his patients. He is a graduate of the Medical Academy in Warsaw. Previuosly, he worked as a professor at the National Research Institute of Mother and Child and was the national consultant in obstetrics and gynecology. Since 2004 he has served as a director of the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw.

Since 1994, Dr. Bogdan Chazan he has been a member of the Government Population Commission and a member of the Committee of the Demography of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He continues to work as a strong proponent of natural family planning and Naprotechnology in Poland. He was nominated twice, in 2010 and 2012 for the award “Totus” for “courageous and consistent activities for the benefit of the civilization of life in the spirit of St. John Paul II’s teaching”. He is the chairman of the Council of MaterCare International and director of MaterCare Poland.

-Dr. Robert Walley, Executive Director of MaterCare International

MaterCare International is an organization of Catholic health professionals dedicated to the care of mothers and babies, both born and unborn, through new initiatives of service, training, research and education.

Email: Ph: 1-888-579-6472

Do it anyway

More and more Canadian workers are being compelled to violate their own beliefs

 Terry O’Neill

Two of the most commonly heard expressions uttered in the name of modern egalitarian society are “workers’ rights” and “freedom of choice.” Let an employer order a non-Christian to put up Christmas decorations, and it will not be long before news-hungry media and human-rights enforcers show up in the employee’s defence (as happened in B.C. not long ago). However, a growing number of Canadian workers are being discriminated against on  conscience-related issues, and the institutions that should be protecting them are turning a blind eye to their plight. As is becoming increasingly apparent, the double standard seems to be entirely political. [Full text]

Question of conscience

R. L. Walley, FRCSC, FRCOG, MPH *

It was quite a surprise, back in 1973, to be informed by an eminent professor of obstetrics and gynaecology . . as a Roman Catholic specialist, that “there is no place for to practice within the National Health Service . . .” [I]n order to stay in the specialities in the United kingdom, I would have had to compromise a  conscientiously held abhorrence to the direct taking of human life. I refused and as a consequence became unemployed with a wife and three children and had to leave country, home and family in order to practise my chosen specialty in full freedom.[Full text]