Christina Davis, Contributing Writer
As the world of medicine changes in the United States, its founding principles become more daily compromised and challenged. Medical ethics has become defined by limiting human institutes, such as the American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics, which the courts have interpreted in light of the Constitution. But what if certain interpretations of our Constitution violate particular moral principles through such acts as the legalization of terminating life, the first power legally recognized in the Fifth Amendment of our country’s Bill of Rights? Because this grants legal permission for the termination of life, the policies of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research—policies of death—are pursued in our culture. What definitive measures remain for moral guidance in these times of confused moral standards? Surprisingly, it is not the legal system, but something more deeply ingrained within us that offers answers for such situations: natural law, which defines the principle of our very being, body and soul.
The very first accord of the AMA 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, this uses terms that reveal a deeper understanding of human beings, as composite creatures of body and soul, possessing certain rights. But who defines these rights? If the health industry must recognize and respect these rights, to what authority does it turn? It now limits its moral obligations solely to the government, while the natural rights instilled in us by our Creator—such as the right to life, which is attacked through abortion, contraception, euthanasia and stem cell research—go ignored. God’s power cannot be limited to the 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.
In order to comprehend completely the true, full dignity of the human person, medical institutions must recognize the need for spirituality. The contradictions that have permeated the standards of the “health” industry have only grown worse over the past few decades. Our country was formerly recognized as a beacon for the protection of human rights, as suggested in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.” What can be done in order to salvage respect for human dignity?
The answer is found in prayer. The future of medical ethics promises to become more distorted and confusing as the 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. We must call on 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.