Medical Ethics (Particularly UK)

I have been wondering this for a few years now and have never really found the answer. For those who are in the medical profession: doctors, nurses, HCAs etc, we are not allowed to place our religious beliefs on our patients.

Now in terms of abortion and euthanasia (at the moment that’s illegal in the UK but I can take a bet it won’t be long before they legalise it), I can imagine this causes a problem for those asked to perform them who hold the belief that they are wrong. I THINK in the UK, they are able to not perform them as long as they refer to another practitioner?

Does anyone know anything about medical ethics and how it works for those in the medical profession with beliefs which state abortion and euthanasia etc are wrong? Has anyone been in this situation?

One may not “refer” one to another doctor etc for an abortion or euthanasia -anymore than if someone asked you to help him to knock off his annoying neighbor -can one say “hey I cannot do that …but I know this guy…I know he is in the mafia…go talk to him…”

Contact the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia USA…they can refer you to someone in the UK or give you info etc themselves on Bioethics

This is why I want someone who knows about it, I don’t think you have a choice to decline a patient fully…that or be struck off.

One cannot refer a patient to have an abortion etc.

Rather must follow ones conscience -as did St. Thomas More.

There may be a way to decline a patient where one is not pointing them to another to commit such a thing…but that would be a local question of “right good means” and avoiding legal problems . Thus contacting the above and asking them who in the UK is good to talk with about local issues. Thankfully you note regarding those two issues it is still illegal -so much would be unknown at this time I would think-and hopefully such will not come to pass for you there in the UK -as to the “hows” in avoiding such sinful cooperation.

Abortion is legal, it’s euthanasia that is illegal but with Belgium now allowing child euthanasia, I can’t see us being far behind.

Yes - the professional Codes of Practice for medical staff in the UK allow them to the right to not participate in Abortion.

Article 4(1) of the Abortion Act 1967 (Scotland, England and Wales)

This provision gives medical staff with a conscientious objection a qualified right to refuse to participate in the process of treatment where termination of pregnancy is the object.

Under section 4(1) no person who has a conscientious objection to participating in any activity governed by this Act shall be under any duty, however arising, to do so.

Euthenasia remains illegal - there was a recent case of a man who was dying from Motoneurone disease who tried to assert a legal right to be Euthenised but it was unsuccessful in the High Court and and the Court of Appeal. The Secretary of Sate for Health said they have no plans to change the illegality of the practice.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.