Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm Sorry, Tim LaHaye

Excerpted from the Brussels Journal.
A European Union advisory panel has issued a statement saying that medical professionals are not allowed to refuse to participate in abortions. According to the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights doctors should be forced to perform abortions, even if they have conscientious objections, because the right to abort a child is an “international human right.”

The Network, which consists of one expert per EU member state, assists the European Commission and the European Parliament in developing EU policy on fundamental rights. The Network wrote a 40-page opinion stressing that the right to conscientious objection is not “unlimited.” The opinion was given in connection with a proposed treaty between the Vatican and Slovakia. This treaty includes a guarantee that Catholic hospitals in Slovakia will not be legally obliged to “perform artificial abortions, artificial or assisted fertilizations, experiments with or handling of human organs, human embryos or human sex cells, euthanasia, cloning, sterilizations, [and] acts connected with contraception.”

The Network states that agreements which guarantee Catholic doctors and nurses a right not to be involved in abortions violate EU law. Leftist groups have complained that some new EU members – namely Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – are so overwhelmingly Catholic that far too few doctors are willing to perform abortions. This makes it hard for women who want an abortion to find a doctor who has no conscientious objection. In such cases, the EU experts say, doctors should be forced to abort:

Indeed, the right to religious conscientious objection may conflict with other rights, also recognized under international law. In such circumstances, an adequate balance must be struck between these conflicting requirements, which may not lead to one right being sacrificed to another.

The experts declare that the right to religious conscientious objection

should be regulated in order to ensure that, in circumstances where abortion is legal, no woman shall be deprived from having effective access to the medical service of abortion. In the view of the Network, this implies that the State concerned must ensure, first, that an effective remedy should be open to challenge any refusal to provide abortion; second, that an obligation will be imposed on the health care practitioner exercising his or her right to religious conscientious objection to refer the woman seeking abortion to another qualified health care practitioner who will agree to perform the abortion; third, that another qualified health care practitioner will be indeed available, including in rural areas or in areas which are geographically remote from the centre.”

You know, I’m not a Premillenial Dispensationalist or whatever it’s called. I don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out prophecy or worrying about the end times. I figure that, whether Christ comes back in my lifetime or not, I’m still obligated to go at some point, and that is what I need to pay attention to. Even if I were convinced that the second coming was on January 4th, there’s no guarantee I won’t get whacked by a bus on Jan. 3rd. My eschatological viewpoint is basically “things will get really, really bad; then Jesus comes back.”

But reading something like this makes me wonder if the Tim LaHayes and Jerry Jenkins of the world may not be right. Maybe the EU really is the resurrected Roman Empire and the Kingdom of the Antichrist. My gosh, forcing doctors to kill babies, because the right of a woman to off her kids trumps the right of others not to kill. Hippocrates must be spinning in his grave. I wonder if “I was only following orders” will play as well before the Great White Throne as it did at Nuremburg.

Sometimes I feel like we’re recapitulating scripture:

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, "When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live." But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. (Exo 1:15-17, NRSV)

I only hope there are a few Shiphrahs and Puahs left in the Land of Egypt Europe.