As the world of medicine changes in the United States, its founding principles become more daily compromised and challenged. Medical ethics have become defined by limiting, human institutes such as the Code of Medical Ethics by the American Medical Association, which the courts have interpreted in light of the Constitution. But what if our Constitution violates particular moral principles—like the legalization of terminating life [the first right legally recognized in Amend. V of our country’s Bill of Rights]? The effect of legally permitting terminating life has permitted the policies of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, etc. to be pursued in our culture—policies of death. What definitive measures can one return to for moral guidance in these times of confusing moral standards? Surprisingly, it is not the legal system, but something more deeply ingrained in our being that offers the answers to such situations—natural law, which defines the very principal of our very being, body and soul.
The very first accord of the Code of Medical Ethics states: “A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights”, interestingly using terms that refer to a deeper understanding of human beings—creatures that are a body and soul composite with certain rights. But who defines these rights? If the health industry must recognize and respect these rights, what authority do they turn to? They now limit their moral obligations solely to the government, while the natural rights instilled in us by our Creator go ignored, such as the right to life deterioration through abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and stem cell research. His power cannot be limited to Constitutional definition of human dignity. For government is defined, run, and implemented by man, an imperfect creature. The beauty of the human person cannot be defined, regulated, and literally executed by an institute that does not embrace a higher authority, Him who created man’s very being.
Medical ethics must recognize the need for spirituality in order to fully comprehend the true, full dignity of the human person. The contradictions that have permeated the standards of the “health” industry have only grown worse over the past few decades—what can be done in order to salvage human dignity in a country that has been formerly recognized as a beacon for the protection of human rights, as referenced in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United States adopted: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”? The answer is found in prayer. The future of medicine ethics promises to become more distorted and confusing as government attempts to define who has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Only in humble acknowledgement of our natural need for the protection and love of God in our lives can the future of medical ethics be salvaged through our vocalization in policy and prayer for our country to listen to the One who can grant us true physical and spiritual strength—Jesus Christ, our Great Healer.
image credit: shutterstock.com