Medical Bioethics

Traditional Medical Philosophy

Sound medical bioethics is grounded in natural law and a respect for the sanctity and dignity of human life. Every human life has moral value. This is why doctors are in the business of saving lives.

The moral value of human life has been so engrained in the medical profession that until the late 1960’s, every physician was required to swear the Hippocratic Oath, a rite of passage for physicians which dates back to 4 B.C. Today in Canada, the oath is no longer mandatory and most physicians do not swear it.

A portion of the oath reads:

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.  I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

Almost nobody will dispute that it is always morally wrong to deliberately kill an innocent human being against his will. Yet this is exactly what occurs in abortion, embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Although very small, it is a human being who is destroyed in each case.

Science has established that human life begins at the moment of conception. This is not an area of legal or moral debate. It is simply a scientific fact.

Therefore, a human life is present in each case of:

  • the unborn who gets aborted during the embryonic or fetal stages of development in her mother’s womb
  • the embryonic human being in the petri dish who is killed in the process of harvesting his stem cells for scientific research
  • the human clone, who although conceived artificially is still a fully human entity with a complete genetic code

Human life is given by our creator as a sacred gift. No human being has the right to kill another. We do not even have the right to kill ourselves via suicide. God alone reserves the right to call each of us into the next life. Physicians who play God, taking life as they see fit, violate natural law and sound bioethical philosophy. Those who play the role of executioner rather than healer, violate the longstanding principles of medicine.