Sunday, 20 May 2007

The abortion fundamentalists

Pulse magazine found recently that a quarter of GPs were refusing to refer their female patients for abortion. Shockingly it also found that one fifth of GPs wanted abortions banned completely.

The 1967 Abortion act stated that '"no person shall be under any duty... to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection". This is a contentious stance in my view, but at least it gives people with 'religious' beliefs to the contrary the chance to opt out.

The law is clear that if a doctor has religious, ethical or moral beliefs that result in their opting out then they are obliged to refer the patient to a medical practitioner who is willing to carry out the treatment, ie the abortion.

It is quite clear that there is a significant number of doctors who are acting illegally by refusing to refer their patients for abortions. On BBC1 today a Christian GP was interviewed who talked of his objection to abortion and who questioned whether the woman would ever be 'forgiven' for her actions if she opted for an abortion.

Is it just me that thinks we are returning to the dark ages here? What makes these people that they have the right to impose their relgious beliefs on others?

In my humble opinion banning abortion and refusing to refer women for abortion are steps back to medieval times when irrational dogma trumped sensible reasoned debate. It is not a doctor's job to dictate morals to patients, we must respect the autonomy of patients and treat them with respect. These fundamentalists who feel they have the right to make big brother decisions for their patients without their consent are acting unethically and illegally in doing so, they should be ashamed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's an important point you're missing here. Referring the patient to another doctor who WILL set the abortion in motion means that the referring doctor is taking part in an immoral act.

You may not agree, but this is the stance of pro-lifers, plain and simple.

I am anti-abortion, and for that reason I chose not to work as an obstetrician or GP. These specialties throw up too many moral dilemmas for a pro-lifer.

I agree that the situation as it stands is unacceptable for those women who wish to kill their baby, and for that reason i think it's best for pro-life doctors to not put themselves into such a position in the first place.

The pro-lifers (fundamentalists is the wrong word) are acting ethically by their own beliefs, but if accused of acting unethically in their professional capacity, I'd suggest they move to another specialty rather than compromise their beliefs.