Quick Takes – Unethical Medicine: Woke Activism; World Medical Association vs. Medical Conscience; A Rare Reversal

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: Just following orders…

     First, a little mood music:

     Carrying on…

Death, Rx

     Of course you’ll have near unanimity in medicine when you’d kept out doubleplusungood people with their wrongthing…

“There the New England Journal of Medicine goes pushing woke agendas again. This time, the extremely politically progressive medical journal has published an article urging that medical students be taught that left-wing social-justice engagement should be among their professional duties. From ‘Physicians as Activists’:

“‘This question [the social justice role of the physician] is even more pressing today, given the vast inequality in the distribution of wealth, racial and socioeconomic inequities in health and health care, catastrophic global dangers, and astounding failures of leadership. Such challenges have stimulated additional discussion about whether physicians should “stay in their lane” — as the National Rifle Association directed them to do in 2018 — or should instead help fill the leadership void and fulfill their roles as advocates for the sick and the poor, as Bernard Lown passionately believed. . . .

“‘We believe that social issues ought to be part of medical school curricula, not only because doctors need to know that the social determinants of health account for 80% of health outcomes, but also because students should understand that only by addressing social issues can they truly improve the health of the population. Whether physicians push for change as advocates, activists, or legislators, we contend that social involvement should be part of the job description. . . .

“‘Current Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in 2019 about the need for physicians to be guardians of integrity: “People will accuse us of being political, but if people accuse you of being political because you’re standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves, then you should do it anyway, because that is at the heart of our profession.” The misinformation and mismanagement surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic have reinforced the need for physicians to speak up regarding moral issues. The alternative approach — indifference — reflects the narrow view that being political is not what doctors do.’”

     Gotta git rid of that pesky Hippocratic Oath…

“With the effective destruction of the Hippocratic Oath, doctors who wish to follow the Oath’s maxims of not participating in abortion or assisted suicide are in danger of being kicked out of the lifeboat by the World Medical Association.

“Specifically, the WMA has a draft proposal to amend the organization’s ethical rules to require that physicians with a conscientious objection to an intervention refer patients to other physicians without the moral reticence. Specifically, the draft ethical revision reads (with the proposed change in bold):

“‘Physicians have an ethical obligation to minimise disruption to patient care. Conscientious objection must only be considered if the individual patient is not discriminated against or disadvantaged, the patient’s health is not endangered, and undelayed continuity of care is ensured through effective and timely referral to another qualified physician.’

“If adopted, it would mean that physicians would have the ethical duty to be complicit in actions to which they are opposed for religious or moral reasons, including abortion, euthanasia (where legal) — i.e., homicide, assisted suicide (where legal), blocking puberty of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, transition surgeries , infant circumcision, etc. This would not only violate the human rights of physicians by forcing them to do things they believe immoral or harmful to the patient, but require them in abortion/euthanasia/assisted-suicide cases to be complicit in the taking of innocent human life.”

     On rare occasions, the gutting of ethics from medicine hits a road bump

“HHS passed a rule under Obamacare that punished refusal to perform abortions and transgender-transition interventions with fines and other penalties for ‘discrimination.’

“The Trump administration reversed that coercive approach, but Biden’s HHS is again on the hunt for Christian and Hippocratic Oath-believing doctors, seeking to obliterate ‘medical conscience.’ Now, a federal judge has granted a permanent injunction under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protecting Christian doctor plaintiffs from having that rule enforced. From Franciscan Alliance v Becerra (citations omitted):

“ ‘Here, the RFRA violation, the success on the merits, is all but conceded. No party disputes that the current Section 1557 regulatory scheme threatens to burden Christian Plaintiffs’ religious exercise in the same way as the 2016 scheme: namely, by placing substantial pressure on Christian Plaintiffs, in the form of fines and civil liability, to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures and abortions.

“‘Like before, the current scheme continues to fall short of the “more focused” RFRA inquiry. The government asserts no “harm [in] granting specific exemptions” to Christian Plaintiffs. Accordingly, for these reasons and those laid out in greater detail in the Court’s October 15, 2019, Order, the Court holds that Christian Plaintiffs have shown success on the merits for its RFRA claim because the current Section 1557 regulatory scheme substantially burdens Christian Plaintiffs’ religious exercise in clear violation of RFRA.’

“The Court ruled that the consequential infringement on religious beliefs constituted sufficient ‘irreparable harm’ for the injunction to issue:

“‘For irreparable injury, the mere ‘possibility’ of injury is not enough. Plaintiffs must demonstrate that irreparable injury is likely in the absence of an injunction.’ In the context of RRFA, if a plaintiff demonstrates a violation, that ‘loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.’ Here, Christian Plaintiffs contend that violation of their statutory rights under RFRA is an irreparable harm. The Court agrees and concludes that enforcement of the 2021 Interpretation forces Christian Plaintiffs to face civil penalties or to perform gender-transition procedures and abortions contrary to their religious beliefs—a quintessential irreparable injury…Because the Court finds the permanent-injunction factors weigh in favor of granting an injunction in this instant, the Court concludes that Christian Plaintiffs are ‘entitled to an exemption’ from HHS’s religion-burdening conduct.”


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