Killing for a clear conscience

It is said that those who reject abortion benefits at any cost, strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. We sacrifice the old and the vulnerable to satisfy our myopic obsession for personal purity in an unavoidably messy world.

The selfish doctor

This scenario is based on the probably mythical Jewish soap:

In 2020 a hospital doctor delivering a baby needs to wash his hands in order to prevent the woman from dying of infection. The only soap available is one made from Jewish fat from WW2.

Is it morally acceptable for the Doctor to use or refuse it? Can the Doctor refuse to use it and keep a clear conscience — given that such refusal exposes others to greatly increased risk of death?

His employers, fellow staff and patients say: “Now is not the time to make your moral stand! Lives are on the line…”

I hope that is a fair illustration? The selfish doctor can be seen as ‘pro-death’, though he pleads a tender ‘pro-life’ conscience.

The hospital directors

The question is falsely framed. Instead of turning the spotlight on the Doctor, it should be directed higher up the chain: “Is the hospital moral to only stock soap made from Jewish fat, and put the Doctor in this position?”

The Doctor might say:

You ignored me in fair weather, but in the storm you must listen.

Though it is I that will not use the soap, know for sure it is you that have killed this woman, her blood is on your hands. You knew my conscience, and you insist on trying to corrupt it. That you show such contempt for a reasonable moral stand, and portray it as evil, shows a deeper evil.

Far more is at stake that the life of this woman and child: the very world they inhabit and the notion of right and wrong within wider society. And when that goes south, typically much more life is harmed…