Doctor Denounces Conscientious Objection Ban

Says Women Will Lose Choice Rights

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ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland, APRIL 6, 2009 ( A doctor is stating that rescinding the right to conscientious objection from health care professionals will hamper the progressive initiative of the obstetrics field and the choice of women.  

Dr. Robert Walley, executive director of MaterCare International, a Newfoundland-based organization of Catholic health professionals, affirmed this in a statement released today.

On behalf of his organization, encompassing the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland, he expressed “deep concern regarding measures to rescind protection of the human right of doctors, especially specialist obstetricians and gynecologists to practice their professions in accordance with their consciences and best judgments as to the best interest of all their patients.”

During the last 40 years, he pointed out, “developments in fetal assessment technologies” has led to a “new sub-specialty of fetal maternal medicine and the ability to diagnose and treat the unborn child as the second patient from the time of conception.”

“At the same time,” the doctor noted, “legislation was introduced throughout the world such that abortion would become the basis on which maternal health care is provided which has resulted in a profound change in the primary focus of obstetrical practice.”

Thus, he observed, “the humanity and value of the unborn has been significantly reduced.”

Walley continued: “Conscientious objection has long been a tenet of civilized societies and it is now proposed that this right be denied by the rescinding protection of doctors.

“By interfering in the freedom to practice according to conscience, the principles of autonomy of the physician and the rights of mothers will be removed.

“This proposed legislation is an attack on an inalienable right. To force doctors to perform procedures they believe to be unethical, immoral and clearly harmful to mother and unborn child and to threaten their right to practice if they should refuse, is a form of totalitarianism and to amounts to discrimination and persecution.”

The doctor predicted that the practice of obstetrics in the United States “will suffer as there will be a sameness of practice which will stifle further thought and progress in maternal health care.”

“It is accepted by all governments, professions and religious faiths,” Walley pointed out, “that it is unethical for doctors to cooperate with capital punishment by giving the lethal injection, or to use their surgical skills for judicial amputations.”

He concluded: “The so called freedom to choose that one group of women has supposedly gained through the introduction of abortion will now be lost by all women as a consequence of their inability to consult an obstetrician whose practice is based on respect for life and on hope from its very beginning.

“It will be bought at the expense of a once noble profession.”

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