Christian doctors unite worldwide to challenge WMA on conscience rights

Sep 14, 2018 by

by Steve Fouch, CMF:

The International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) has called on the World Medical Association (WMA) to protect doctors’ conscience rights on abortion and euthanasia.


ICMDA, which unites national associations of doctors and dentists in over 80 countries, was responding to a move by Canadian and Dutch doctors to challenge the WMA’s longstanding commitment to protecting freedom of conscience at a meeting in Iceland later this year.


The WMA was established after the second world war in the face of the atrocities carried out by Nazi doctors. It exists to ensure the independence of physicians, and to work for the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour and care by physicians, at all times.


Since 1947 the WMA has published a number of key policies, which have shaped medical ethics including the Declaration of Geneva – the successor of the Hippocratic Oath (1947) – the International Code of Medical Ethics (1949,) the Declaration of Helsinki on research involving human beings (1964), the Declaration of Tokyo commanding physicians not to participate in torture or degrading treatment (1975) and the Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers (1991).


But at its upcoming Medical Ethics Conference (2-4 October 2018) and General Assembly (3-6 October) in Reykjavik, it will be debating proposals that would significantly weaken its stance on the freedom of conscience rights of doctors with respect to abortion and euthanasia.

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