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« STR Face to Face | Main | Families That Eat Together... »

October 02, 2008


Should doctors who are Jehovah's Witnesses be forced to give blood transfusions, or should they be allowed the right of conscientious objection?

They should be allowed their right. Of course, if it restricts their ability to do their job significantly, then their employer should be able to fire them.

Same thing here- while I agree that they shouldn't be forced to do something like that legally (and would have the same conscientious objector status), they could in practical terms be forced to either do it or leave the industry. If that's what that job requires you to do, you shouldn't take the job unless you're willing to do it. Like a teetotaler working for Jack Daniels- there are some career choices that are just dumb.

I doubt that's the case for most of these doctors- they can probably do their jobs quite satisfactorily without being involved in abortion- the fact that they still have those jobs points to that. I'm just pointing out the general principle that sometimes certain people just shouldn't be in certain industries. It doesn't mean that the government needs to force them to act against their conscience.

Clarification: (and would have the same conscientious objector status myself)

As a response to the blood transfusion question.
I would make the first distinction that during a blood transfusion no-one looses there life. Abortion might be a medical procedure but it results in the death of and individual. A blood transfusion is only done to save life and it dose not medically damage the donor or the patient when done correctly.
The fact that someone is killed during an abortion is not really open for debate. In one case we are asking the doctor take a life and in the other we are asking them to save a life. They have very little in common.
To be clear. I am not saying we should force the Jehovah’s Witness doctor to perform a blood transfusion. I am saying they are very different issues.

Bob, both issues are the same in that they deal with whether a doctor should be forced to perform a procedure they think is wrong or whether they should have the right of conscientious objection. I think Dennis is entirely right that if a job description is against your morals, you shouldn't take the job, and if you do take the job but are unwilling to perform the job description, your employer should have the right to fire you.

I definitely see your point about conscientious objections but this article is not addressing doctors in abortion clinics. These doctors are already performing abortions. If they were unwilling to perform abortions they would have chosen another practice. We are talking about doctors who do not perform abortions being coerced into a pro abortion position. This is not the job that they signed up for. If the job description changes while they hold the job then I suppose they may have to change careers.


I agree entirely with your last post- most of the doctors this legislation would affect went into jobs where their morals should allow them to perform their duties effectively. The reason for the legislation, I imagine, is that "women are having their abortion rights restricted by these doctors".

The fact that these doctors still have their jobs tends to go against that claim, was my point. If referring people to abortions were really a big part of their jobs, they'd have been fired for not doing it, and we'd be hearing about one of those cases. An argument that it's hard for women to go to different doctors who will give them the abortion referrals/services they want would be entirely unconvincing- this legislation itself indicates that there's likely plenty of pro-abortion people around, many of whom are likely to be doctors. That's without having any data about Australia except this article- I'm sure a much better argument could be made with even limited research.

All to say that this legislation is unnecessary and problematic: These doctors are able to perform their jobs, and forcing them to act against their conscience is both immoral, and going to result in a number of doctors going to other fields. The only way they would need to do this is if somehow the entire Australian medical industry revolved around abortion- in which case they've got bigger problems than I can comprehend.

Had a thought- the other way they could keep their jobs without doing these referrals is if they run their own practice- common enough, I think.

In that sort of case, the legislation is still unnecessary. It's hard to feel much sympathy for the woman who goes to her pro-life private practice doctor, finds out they won't help her, and then throws up her hands, not knowing where else to go. You think you'd either already know the doctor was pro-life, in which case even going was stupid (or at least quite rude), or just go to, oh I don't know, perhaps a hospital, or abortion clinic when you were refused at the private practice. If they can't figure that out, I'm not sure the government can really help them, no matter what legislation they pass.

Dennis, I understand the points that you're making about the medical profession.
Remember, however, the Hippocratic Oath that is supposed to guide the medical community in its mission?
"First, do no harm."
Pro-life doctors are abiding by the Hippocratic Oath. They are being logically and morally consistent with their calling. And medicine -- unlike, say plumbing or electrical work -- is a unique calling. The decisions a doctor makes have powerful repercussions for the patient.
Abortion takes human life.
Since it is taking human life, it is causing harm.
Therefore, doctors who abort are living up to the Hippocratic Oath.
You can say that abortion is necessary when the mother's life is in danger. However, any doctor worth his salt is going to try desperately to save the lives of the mother and the baby. If he can't, he will save who he can. That's call triage.
Arbitrarily taking the life of an unborn baby for any other reason is not right. The vast majority of abortions do not occur because of life-threatening situations. They are performed because of basis selfishness and short-sightedness.

Quick correction to my initial post: "Therefore, doctors who abort are NOT living up to the Hippocratic Oath."
Oh, the perils of typing when you're in a hurry ...

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