CONSCIENCE DEFENCE TODAY IS A FIREWALL AGAINST TOTLITARIANISM TOMORROW
The Faith Declaration of catholic doctors initiated by dr. Wanda Półtawska, undertaken for celebrating the canonization of John Paul II, made politicians of the Civic Platform outraged as well as leftist groups connected with them. What is wrong in the fact that some doctors, who want to be in harmony with their conscience, stated publicly that for them the human body and life are holy and inviolable from conception to natural death which means the refusal of cooperation during the in vitro, abortion or euthanasia as well as prescribing contraceptive medications? Whereas minister Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, being outraged at the doctors, compared the Declaration to Islam Sharia, while the health minister Bartosz Arłukowicz threatened: ‘We will apply the human law towards those who will cause a threat for a patient, following the God’s not human law, and we will be determined’. Similarly the health vice-minister Sławomir Neumann warned employees of health service, stating that ‘doctors can add a sentence to the declaration that God’s law, not human law obliges them, but it is quite a naive thought because if somebody breaches law, he is accountable for it not to God, but to the court’. He emphasized that patients have their rights and can make a complaint or change a doctor – ‘and we will impose consequences and if faith does not somebody to be a doctor, the person will not work as a doctor’. This statement reminds of the actions of soviet commissioners, and, precisely speaking, all totalitarian systems where doctors were faithful executors of orders of the authority also the anti-human one.
The Faith Declaration met with the unusual wave of aggression. Doctors who signed it, are discriminated. They are accused that they hurt women, contribute to their suffering or even potential death. Even the German newspaper ‘Die Welt’ informs that Polish doctors treat the Bible over the rights of a patient, that they do not intend to follow ‘the chapter of the secular and spiritual authority’ and even ‘warns the Church which interferes into the state matters’. Whereas the Faith Declaration does not differ in anything from the writing about the conscience clause which is in the Act about the job of a doctor. What hurt opponents of the Faith Declaration so much, and mainly the so-called neutral Catholics, concerns the public manifesting of faith in God by doctors. I will add: not only its verbal manifestation but compatible with faith and the conscience of proceeding.
How silly a parliamentarian must be who states that the ‘Faith Declaration shifts medicine back to the XIX century’. Or somebody who appealed to the health minister so that doctors who will refer to the Faith Declaration and will refuse to do abortion, have lost contracts within the NHS. Why cannot many politicians who consider themselves as Catholics, imagine that it is possible to join their job with one’s belief? After all, a doctor who refuses to do abortion, does not force a woman mother to give birth to a baby. What is more, a doctor behaving in accordance with his conscience will even take more care of somebody’s health and life. Shortly speaking, the Faith Declaration is an expression of Catholic doctors about people towards whom they do not want to use procedures bringing them a harm or even leading to their death.
It is also good to emphasize that none of commitments included in the Faith Declaration is contradictory with the Polish law. And, on the medical market there are thousands of doctors who did not sign the declaration, and one can also assume that they will do everything what a patient and an employer want. However, if somebody want to be sure that going to hospital will get into the hands of a doctor who treats and helps with baby births, not kills – should also have a possibility of choice. The more a patient knows about his doctor, the better.
It is difficult to understand, why, enjoying the 25th anniversary of independence, media and pseudo-catholic groups deprive catholic doctors of rights to express their opinions and do job in harmony with their conscience. Atheists can boast about their lack of faith, gays – can organize parades humiliating human dignity, whereas believers do not have a right to refer to God as the source of values and norms of proceeding! Doesn’t this attack on Catholic doctors prove the existence of hatred to faith? Doesn’t it result from fear of the leftist politicians that the Catholic majority will not allow for liberalizing the Act about concept life protection in Poland, that it will not give a permission for the right to euthanasia or registration of homosexual couples on marital rights?!
We experienced the unusual event which was the canonization of John Paul II, but also how universal his words became which were said in Skoczów in 1995 that ‘contrary to appearances the rights of conscience must be defended also today. (…) Under the mottos of tolerance in the public life and in mass media, there is maybe more intolerance towards believers’. Therefore the conscience defence is a firewall today against totalitarianism tomorrow.