National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Don't Trust The Doctors

 |  NCR Today

Eugene Robinson wrote some of the best commentaries on the election of President Barack Obama last year. But, this morning he addressed the issue of doctors and psychologists who participated in the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogations.” He writes: “Doctors and psychologists might have been able to prevent this whole shameful episode by refusing to participate. Instead, professionals who were trained in the healing arts used their experience and skill in a way that facilitated harm.”

I agree with Robinson that such participation was shameful but I do not share his sense of surprise or shock. Among the saddest reading in the annals of recent Catholic commentary are the articles by Father Robert Drinan in the late 1960s and early 1970s when state legislatures were debating whether or not to liberalize abortion laws. “The question is no longer the possibility of a total prohibition of abortion but rather te question of weighing the long-range evil effects of permitting the government to establish standards as to who will live and who will die rather than simply having the government withdraw from the area of protecting the first twelve to twenty weeks of non-viable fetal life,” Drinan wrote in Commonweal in 1970. He preferred to put his hope in the medical profession which wad pledged itself to protect life. He did not foresee that some doctors would soon be making a livelihood performing abortions.

Catholics need to be especially concerned that a similar misplaced hope is not enacted in the health care reform pending before Congress. Leaving decisions about whether or not to provide abortion coverage cannot be left to panels of experts or doctors. The application of government funds to abortion services is a matter for our legislature to adjudicate, and the reform legislation must decide the issue. Referring the matter to panels of doctors or experts is “too cute by half.” Last night, I saw a Rep. Jan Schakowsky argue that the legislation passed by the House would not result in federal funds going to cover abortions. She was wrong. And, we can’t afford to be fooled again. Father Drinan can be forgiven for failing to anticipate doctors participating in the destruction of human life. We have no such excuse.

screen-shot_FB-video-promo-9-12.jpgOur Sept. 12-25 edition is in the mail, on its way to subscribers. Take a look inside.

Not a subscriber? Become one today!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.