Physician Declares Right to Follow Conscience
Poland’s prime minister has ordered a Catholic doctor to violate his conscience and perform an abortion.
Dr. Bogdan Chazan, a Warsaw-based obstetrician, has denied a request to abort an unborn child who had been diagnosed with serious brain defects. On Tuesday, Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a statement: “Regardless of what his conscience is telling him [the doctor] must carry out the law.” “Every patient must be sure that … the doctor will perform all procedures in accordance with the law and in accordance with his duties,” Tusk said.
The mother of the child had filed a complaint against the doctor, claiming that she was being forced to bear a deformed child. Dr. Chazan is one of 3,000 physicians who had signed a “Declaration of Faith,” calling for the recognition of physicians’ rights to perform their duties in line with their religious convictions with regard to certain medical practices, such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia.
The declaration goes on to say that the doctors “recognize the primacy of God’s law over human law” and see the need to “counter the imposed, anti-human ideologies of contemporary civilization.” In Poland, abortion is legal until the 25th week of pregnancy in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, if the unborn child is seriously disabled, or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. MaterCare International, an initiative which gives support to mothers and their children, is standing by Dr. Chazen.
“The simple fact is that the majority of people who have ever lived, and quite probably a large majority of people today, see abortion as the execution of an innocent life,” said MaterCare’s executive director, Dr. Robert Walley. “Demanding that citizens abandon their morality and conduct executions at the command of the government is the hallmark of the most totalitarian and sinister states in human history. We are saddened and outraged that with this measure against Professor Chazan, Poland seems intent on joining their ranks.” “People of faith become doctors, because they want to help people,” he continued. “They want to offer healing and hope, not death and despair. We look to them to give us their best advice and opinions. If we say doctors cannot have opinions, that patients are allowed to dictate their wants to a physician, then what good is a doctor?
“Whether or not to do anything is a moral decision, and to point the finger at those with religious backgrounds is prejudice. We should value their morality and not punish them for it. Dr. Bogdan Chazan, like Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others, equates this ‘procedure’ with murder, being forced by the law to commit murder is something we can all surely reject.”