Pro-life medics being forced to choose between career or conscience

Pro-life medics in the US are ‘under attack’, an academic has warned.

Author and bioethicist, Wesley J. Smith, said medics who are morally opposed to abortion and assisted suicide may soon be forced to choose between “their careers and their convictions”.

He made the comments in an article for First Things, an influential journal of religion and public life.

‘Morally opposed’

In support of his case, he highlighted work published in the New England Journal of Medicine which described abortion as “a standard obstetrical practice” and “not medically controversial”.

Smith said: “The authors take an absolutist position, claiming that personal morality has no place in medical practice.”

He went on to highlight several examples where doctors are being forced to refer patients for abortion and assisted suicide “even if they are morally opposed”.

Just because a medical act is legal doesn’t make it right.

Wesley J. Smith

‘Under attack’

“There is a reason that moral diversity is under attack in health care.

“When doctors refuse to abort a fetus, participate in assisted suicide, excise healthy organs, or otherwise follow their consciences about morally contentious matters, they send a powerful message: Just because a medical act is legal doesn’t make it right.

“Such a clarion witness is intolerable to those who want to weaponize medicine to impose secular individualistic and utilitarian values on all of society”, concluded Smith.


In the UK, medical ethics expert Dr Peter Saunders recently warned against plans which could force Christian pharmacists to go against their conscience.

In March, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) closed its consultation on new guidance which would require pharmacists to “take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs”, while weakening the right of referral to another pharmacist.

Dr Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, said the plans are “unethical, unnecessary and quite possibly illegal”.

‘Pressured to comply’

Writing on his blog, Dr Saunders cautioned that “pharmacists would be pressured to comply or risk disciplinary procedures and/or possible loss of employment”.

He added that “potential trainees could be dissuaded from pursuing a career in pharmacy altogether”.

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