The end of physician conscience protection in America?

The period of public comment on conscience protection for health care providers will end on April 9. No one wants the government telling physicians they must violate their conscience in the practice of medicine. This is especially important regarding life and death decisions.

This basic principle securing the integrity of physician-patient relationships has been threatened of late. In December 2008 the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation clarifying the protections offered by three civil rights laws for health care providers passed by Congress with bipartisan support. However, the Obama administration has stated its intention of overturning the conscience regulation and not enforcing the existing laws.

To express your opinion be sure to
comment before the deadline.  

If conscience protection for physicians is extinguished, you will be at the mercy of your health plan or government. The Hippocratic Oath ensures that the physician will act in the best interest of the patient. However, in other utilitarian or communitarian ethical systems, that is not the case.

In the 1930's the medical societies in Germany were Nazified, purging the leadership and ranks of the physicians who did not want to go along with the Nazi program. Cardinal George recently warned that eliminating conscience protections "would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism." 

Should medical doctors be forced by government to override personal ethics and moral conscience to serve the utilitarian "common good" as defined by the state?  This is the very matter at stake and is one in the same as that faced by physicians in Nazi Germany, as they were ordered to "exterminate" the handicapped, those with mental disorders and those deemed incurably ill, and then to kill the Jews.   Removing the conscience clause that protects physicians and their patients from imperious rulings by state authorities is indeed the first step on the road to a tragic, totalitarian end.

If you do not want a medical system that forces doctors to participate in medical killing, make your voices heard. Rescinding the conscience regulation is a serious threat to physicians with integrity, our medical system, our republic, and you.
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