After Ireland’s tragic reversal of its pro-life legacy, culminating in last year’s undoing of the Eighth amendment in May and subsequent passing of the Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in December, the Medical Council of Ireland, one of the main regulatory bodies for medical professionals, is seeking to make room in its ethical guidelines to allow doctors to kill — as long as it’s legal.
The Medical Council of Ireland regularly issues guidelines that help doctors navigate ethical situations that may arise in the course of practice; for example: how to treat a patient who cannot give consent, how to protect the safety and welfare of children, and how to approach end-of-life care. But since abortion is now legal in the country, the updated guidelines must reflect the new pro-abortion law of the land.
Currently, one section of the ethics guidelines reads, “You must not take part in the deliberate killing of a patient.” The proposed change would have that changed to prohibit only the unlawful, rather than deliberate, killing of a patient.
The Life Institute’s spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain stated: “It’s very clear that they understand killing is involved, but they want to reflect that some killing – that of innocent, tiny babies – is to be permitted. It’s appalling, but it does reveal the reality of this cruel abortion legislation, and what the government is trying to force doctors to do.”
Moral theologian Fr. John McKeever, Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Armagh, spoke to Live Action News about the potential new guidelines: “The proposed changes have been made solely with the view of making the provision of abortion ‘normal’ work for doctors […] Traditionally, the unborn child has been regarded by Irish doctors as a patient, and the old 8th amendment […] explicitly placed the right to life of both mother and baby on an equal level […] The guidelines are also being reworded so that the doctor’s ethical duty to do no harm to a patient no longer applies to the unborn.”
@MedCouncilIRL is carrying out a survey at https://t.co/zGuaD5J04N. The proposal to equate the term “ethical” with “legal” would rob the guidelines of any moral force. Will healthcare professionals stand by as this change is made? pic.twitter.com/UvQBBhCDnR
— Medico-Legal Alliance (@MLAIreland) February 13, 2019
More troublingly, McKeever points out, the revised ethical guidelines would give the state unprecedented power to dictate whom it is and is not lawful to kill. “This could easily open the way to doctors seeing euthanasia as an acceptable part of their work, should parliament ever legislate for it,” McKeever told Live Action News.
The survey is available while the government seeks responses here.
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