But having completed my last clinical posting for this academic year, I have somewhat become more Zen when it comes to such hotly debated issues.
Having heard enough of this battle of words, and all oh-so-confusing debate on when life begins, I have simplified my approach to something more practical - Believe what you want. Do what you wish. But do not expect me to share your views or support them.
But one thing that pains me is when somebody uses the argument 'My body is my right.'
Well, you are, according to the liberal view, entitled to fornicate with whoever you so please. To fulfill your bodily needs, so to speak. To obtain sexual release. To participate in sexual expression.
If you want to sleep around, go ahead.
But please, do not come asking for an abortion. Not from me, at least. Because I will say no.
Unless your antenatal anomaly scans show that your child is so deformed to the extent that life will be difficult for him, or you are an unfortunate rape victim - then my answer will be quite a clear no. I will not participate in 'prescribed murder'.
I was taught from young that (1) Life is a sacred gift; (2) Nothing happens by chance; (3) All men have a purpose and a potential; (4) That to take away life for the sake of satisfying one's desires is murder. However, in today's medical schools, these beliefs are considered taboo and 'stone age' and should never be found in the writings of medical students who aspire to be so-called 'ethical doctors'. Ethical my rump.
Time and time again medical students are taught that their religious views should not interfere with how they treat their patients. Every now and then, a lecturer will 'remind' students that one should wear different hats - one hat set aside for church, one hat set aside for the hospital. That our patient is the focus of our care, and that our beliefs should not hinder our judgment.
I beg to disagree.
I may be a flawed Christian, with many many shortcomings and failures, but if there is one part of Christian theology which I am truly convinced is true, it would be that there is no such thing as two separate compartments for the religious and the secular aspects of life. There is no such thing as 'wearing different hats'. You either try to live your life as a Christian, or make no attempt.
When I was younger, I used to ask my father as to why he would not perform abortions even though they were a known source of abundant income. Sure, it is enshrined in the Penal Code, but the authorities are, till now, still unable to clamp down on such clandestine practices. And nearly all patients who requested for it were more than willing to go to great lengths to cough up the dollars and were all too eager to consent to undergo rather invasive procedures. No issue with consent. No issue with autonomy. In addition, didn't most of his colleagues say that 'in the workplace, beliefs should not interfere with practice?'
And my father told me: No sincere Christian would have written such rules, or followed them. Period.
You either try to live your life as a Christian. Or be a hypocrite.
The persons who came up with the notion that professional practice entails separating the religious from the secular, was obviously NOT a Christian. Because no sincere believer would write and endorse such lies of the devil.
In medical school, the component of my postings which I tended to dislike the most were the parts that dealt with 'biomedical ethics'. I disliked those components, not only because I found the principles they endorsed repulsive, but also because I found that some of the lecturers running these components refused to allow any other points of view to be accepted. Hypocrisy indeed. I thought biomedical ethics was something where everybody was entitled to a point of view, to a good debate. But no. Christian values are derided as 'old fashioned', 'condescending', 'misogynistic' and 'paternalistic'. The woman's right to her body become everything.
I never could sit still during such lectures. Initially I felt uneasy, repulsed. At one time I felt my ears burning and flushed. And nowadays, I just sit and stare, overwhelmed by this nonsense which I have no say against.
If one is going to be a doctor who practices a dichotomy between the religious and the secular (e.g. abandoning all Christian principles whilst at the wards, and then suddenly regaining all those values and beliefs once he steps back in a church), he might as well just stop professing the faith. Because there is no point declaring one's self to be a believer if he actively lives a life of hypocrisy.
There were many times in my life when I was a hypocrite. And I know how unreal it feels like. I mean, it makes life easier, but at the end of the day, are you able to come before God and pray? I doubt.