Commentary by Judie Brown
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is once again attempting to hijack medical ethics. Because of ACOG’s history of mass deception, which I will detail in the paragraphs to follow, this latest action should not have surprised me. But because of the organization’s growing audacity, its most recent pronouncement shocked even me.
The political effort to protect so-called reproductive medicine has led ACOG to the conclusion, according to its Committee on Ethics, that even when healthcare providers have moral concerns about a decision a patient has made, they may not allow those concerns to translate into a refusal to provide a “service” or a prescription to that patient.
If one examines this premise and the committee’s language, it becomes painfully clear that the target for the statement is the Christian medical community. For example, in the ACOG statement, we find the following:
When conscientious refusals conflict with moral obligations that are central to the ethical practice of medicine, ethical care requires either that the physician provide care despite reservations or that there be resources in place to allow the patient to gain access to care in the presence of conscientious refusal.
In other words, if the physician is unwilling to perform an abortion because he has ethical problems with the practice, that physician is obligated to refer the patient to someone who will perform the abortion. The reason for this is, according to the committee, that such an act ? the abortion ? is part of the ethical practice of medicine. While this may sound reasonable in the morally relativistic culture in which we all live, it is actually a slap in the face of reason and common sense.
Abortion is an act that results in death ? the death of a human being. It is not the doctor who refuses to kill who should be the focus of such ethical studies and commentaries, but rather the doctor who has the ability to kill without batting an eyelash. But due to the flimflam that runs throughout the fabric of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ rubric, quite the contrary is true. After all, the act of abortion is protected by law in the United States.
But history shows that ACOG is always at the forefront of promoting concepts that will later be affirmed in law.
When it became clear to ACOG’s leadership in the 1960s, for example, that the birth control pill would be a boon to their patients, to population control and to their wallets, they went to great pains to redefine when pregnancy occurs and when the child’s life actually begins. In the ACOG Terminology Bulletin #1, dated September 1965, the following definitions appear:
- FERTILIZATION is the union of spermatozoon and ovum
- CONCEPTION is the implantation of a fertilized ovum. ‘This definition has been selected deliberately because union of sperm and ovum, cannot be detected clinically unless implantation occurs.’
The reason given in defense of the new definition of conception is bogus. The very date of the bulletin makes that obvious to anyone familiar with the history of the birth control pill. The FDA had approved the birth control pill in 1960 and concerns were being raised about how that pill might work. Thus it was in the best interests of ACOG’s membership to study the manner in which they might successfully ease the concerns about early-day abortion and increase their income, all in one fell swoop.
In the Declaration of Life, signed by hundreds of pro-life physicians, the point is made that, during the discussions about the inaccurate definitions, there was debate within the group:
Not everyone accepted these manipulations. Dr. Richard Sosnowski said he was troubled: “… that, with no scientific evidence to validate the change, the definition of conception as the successful spermatic penetration of an ovum was redefined as the implantation of a fertilized ovum. It appears to me that the only reason for this was the dilemma produced by the possibility that the intrauterine contraceptive device might function as an abortifacient.”
Sadly, the forces of greed and deception won the day and ACOG successfully denied the existence of the child during the first eight days of his life within his mother.
The intervening 40-plus years have witnessed unknown numbers of silent deaths because doctors have refused to be honest. Expectant mothers have unwittingly aborted their own babies by the chemicals they ingested and the devices they utilized. As a result, big pharmaceutical companies have grown exponentially into financially profitable giants.
But who would have guessed, even in 1965, that the day would come when members of the medical profession would be placed in the position of choosing between career and moral conscience? Well, that time has arrived.
ACOG claims that if a woman wishes to exercise her “right” to pay a doctor to kill her baby, then it is the professional responsibility of the physician to carry out her demand. The statement claims that “‘a collective obligation does not mean that all members of the profession are forced to violate their own consciences.’” But the same statement also says systems must be in place to provide counseling and referral, “particularly in resource-poor areas where conscientious refusals have significant potential to limit patient choice, and that individuals and institutions ‘act affirmatively to protect patients from unexpected and disruptive denials of service.’”
The statement cites the emergency room scenario as one example of places where physicians who have a moral problem with the morning-after pill should simply not be present. It goes on to say that institutions such as Catholic hospitals, which have doctrinal objections, “should not position themselves as primary providers of emergency care for victims of sexual assault.”
The committee’s answer to the moral dilemma faced by the doctor who does not wish to kill a preborn child is totally unacceptable. The doctor who has such conscience problems is not going to be able to live with himself if he refers his two patients-mother and preborn child ? to another doctor who will kill one of them. So where will that put the physician with a commitment to protect and respect human dignity? Only time will tell.
But this is where the examples provided by ACOG’s history really trouble me.
In 1965, when ACOG forced a new definition of pregnancy on the unsuspecting world, there was no hue and cry either from the Catholics in the medical profession or from the Catholic bishops of the United States. There was no definitive critique indicating that such a definition was false, misleading and completely political in nature. There was no demand that Catholics in health care stand up and defy the ridiculous inanity ACOG was propagating.
Now, in 2007, we have to ask: Will those in a position to lead a charge against this debacle do so? Will they assure that the statement of ACOG’s ethics committee receives the public denunciation it deserves? Will Catholic doctors rise up and say no? Will Catholic pharmacists defy the statement and work with doctors to reverse it? Will Catholic bishops demand that the statement be challenged, even in court, if need be?
When all is said and done, the ACOG committee’s statement is but another in a continuing series of cheap shots against God, the Creator of every human being, and it could not have come at a more opportune time for Christians to decry it. But as I sit by and read the news, I wonder if I will find a single rebuke of ACOG’s position, especially from the very people chosen to serve as God’s shepherds.
Cheap shots must be challenged. I fear for the babies and the doctors, for the families that will be devastated and for the nation that will fall further into the clutches of evil if, once again, good men and women do nothing.
Release issued: 18 Dec 07