Monday, September 13, 2004


Listening to the Today programme this morning I heard a debate about the fact that a rising number of British GPs are refusing to prescribe the pill, believing that, because in some rare cases eggs can become fertilised fractionally before the pill takes effect, it is in fact a kind of abortion, and they have taken upon their shoulders the mantle of deciding what is or is not 'morally' best for their patients. This raises a whole new host of questions, quite apart from their frankly laughable conjecture. At present, for example, we have a system of assessing the practical, medical abilities of a prospective doctor to ensure that he or she is capable of being a good general practictioner. If, however, we are to believe that GPs are also entitled to make ethical decisions too, even if they are profoundly dangerous, intrusive and backward, do we not need a way to ensure that doctors are ethically and morally safe as well as knowledgeable in the field of medicine? That they do not pose a threat to their patients? It seems to me that we need to find a way, quickly, of ensuring that people with socially conservative, moralistic and downright dangerous positions are unable to force their nasty moral judgements upon the rest of us. Or else just make it clear that no doctor, religious or otherwise, has the right to withhold safe and needed medical treatment or contraception.

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