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Rome Reports

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Dying to keep a job? Freedom of conscience, abortion and euthanasia

In some hospitals, doctors and nurses who are not willing to carry out abortions or euthanasia on their patients, are sometimes forced out of their jobs. It's a rising threat several doctors and nurses are dealing with.  FR. RICHARD TAYLOR MaterCare International  (UK) "We have met people who have lost their profession, who have had to emigrate to make a living where it is possible to honor their consciences.â?  This Vatican conference deals precisely with freedom of conscience. Titled,  'Maternal Health Care and the Catholic Conscience' it brought in medical specialists from all over the world, so they can share experiences. It's a way for them to learn about their rights, especially when it comes to keeping their jobs.   MARGARET SOMERVILLE  Professor of Ethics, McGill University (Canada) "We must always kill the pain and suffering, but we must never kill the patient with the pain and suffering.â?  Some of these doctors and nurses are sometimes told that if they are not willing to perform an abortion or administer euthanasia because of their faith or conscience, they should have simply chosen another profession.  It's a threat younger generations are also hearing. Different medical associations are fighting back.   FR. RICHARD TAYLOR MaterCare International  (UK) "So the pressure is on for people to not to go into sensitive areas where the consciences are likely to be forced and especially forced by legal pursuit if they do not conform.â?   Margaret Somerville is an Ethics professor in Canada, where legalized euthanasia is moving forward. She says, options include practical solutions that respect one's conscience.  MARGARET SOMERVILLE  Professor of Ethics, McGill University (Canada) "One possibility would be to let doctors sign up on two different lists. Either you are willing to do this or you are not willing to do it and then patients can decide which doctors they can and want to go to.   I chose to go to doctors that are not doing euthanasia.â?  She says patients shouldn't be able to demand procedures, while ignoring the conscience of doctors and nurses.  Especially since the ultimate goal in the medical field, is to protect life, and not destroy it.  KLH  AA JM PR Up: KLH