Implications of Christian Truth Claims for Bioethics

christian-bioethicsAbstract: Christian bioethics starts with different metaphysical, epistemological, and teleological assumptions. It starts with God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe who as the second person of the Godhead became incarnate as our Redeemer and Lord. Morality reflects God’s nature and is known through reason and intuition guided by revelation. The end of a Christian bioethics is to discover the way our God intends for us to live and to discover the type of person He intends for us to be in order to live a holy and sanctified life. Christian bioethicists will seek integration among their core beliefs and between their beliefs and actions, and they will bear witness to their beliefs in a world that is not yet redeemed. Each contribution in this issue represents an example of these types of Christian integration. Each bears witness to the fact that a Christian bioethics is different.

Parker C.  Implications of Christian Truth Claims for Bioethics. Christ Bioeth (2016) 22 (3): 265-275 doi:10.1093/cb/cbw013

 

Why Are Religious Reasons Dismissed? Euthanasia, Basic Goods, and Gratuitous Evil.

christian-bioethicsAbstract:  Many proponents of euthanasia eschew appeals to religious premises as good reasons for thinking that human life has intrinsic worth. The reasons offered are that religious reasons do not meet some theory-neutral epistemic standard. My first argument is to show that pro-euthanasia arguments fail to meet those same standards. In order to avoid this incoherence, the rejection of religious reasons is a function of thinking that such reasons are simply false. Arguing against religious belief has typically fallen to the evidential argument from evil. My second argument is to show that the argument from evil must hold to a basic goods account of human life. Such an account is contrary to the view of human life held by most euthanasia proponents. So, euthanasia proponents who reject religious belief on the basis of an argument from evil must hold to a contradictory view of human worth. One cannot both be a euthanasia proponent and reject arguments against euthanasia (that are based in part on religious premises). I explore ways to resolve this tension, but none save pro-euthanasia arguments.

Napier S.  Why Are Religious Reasons Dismissed? Euthanasia, Basic Goods, and Gratuitous Evil. Christ Bioeth (2016) 22 (3): 276-300 doi:10.1093/cb/cbw012

   

Bioethicist calls for a ban on doctors’ conscientious objection

The Sydney Morning Herald

Cameron Atfield

Doctors working in the public system should be banned from refusing to perform certain procedures, such as abortions, because of their religious beliefs, a leading bioethicist will argue in Brisbane next week.

Oxford-based Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu will make the argument at a public lecture at the Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research next Tuesday.

In his lecture, Professor Savulescu will also argue doctors and health professionals should only enter medical specialities in which their values would not be in conflict with routine legal medical procedures. . . [Full text]

Vancouver bishop speaks out on conscience rights, end-of-life care

LifeSite News

Lianne Laurence

VANCOUVER, August 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Michael Miller has reaffirmed that health care practitioners cannot be “pressured or coerced” into providing assisted suicide or euthanasia, which are now legal in Canada under Bill C-14, passed June 17.

In an August 11 letter to all hospitals and Catholic health care institutions in his diocese of approximately 430,000 Catholics, Miller stated that the “conscience of caregivers, physicians, nurses, and support staff must always be respected” and health care professionals should not be discriminated against for refusing to kill their patients by medical means or refusing to provide a “direct effective referral.”

“We maintain as a fundamental principle that any action or omission which of itself or by intention causes or hastens death is a grave violation of the commandment: ‘You shall not kill’,” he wrote. . . [Full text]

Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: An Ethical Analysis of Conscientious and Religious Objections

Abstract

Background: The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has ruled that the federal government is required to remove the provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada that prohibit medical assistance in dying (MAID). The SCC has stipulated that individual physicians will not be required to provide MAID should they have a religious or conscientious objection. Therefore, the pending legislative response will have to balance the rights of the patients with the rights of physicians, other health care professionals, and objecting institutions.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to critically assess, within the Canadian context, the moral probity of individual or institutional objections to MAID that are for either religious or conscientious reasons.

Methods: Deontological ethics and the Doctrine of Double Effect.

Results: The religious or conscientious objector has conflicting duties, i.e., a duty to respect the “right to life” (section 7 of the Charter) and a duty to respect the tenets of his or her religious or conscientious beliefs (protected by section 2 of the Charter).

Conclusion: The discussion of religious or conscientious objections to MAID has not explicitly considered the competing duties of the conscientious objector. It has focussed on the fact that a conscientious objection exists and has ignored the normative question of whether the duty to respect one’s conscience or religion supersedes the duty to respect the patient’s right to life.

Christie T, Sloan J, Dahlgren D, Konging F.  Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: An Ethical Analysis of Conscientious and Religious Objections.  BioéthiqueOnLine, 2016, 5/14