The World Medical Association (WMA) is largely an association with little impact among professionals, but its policies are important. They can be used as a reference point in bioethical debates in jurisdictions around the world. American bioethics journalist Wesley J. Smith has harshly attacked the WMA’s latest code of ethics as a betrayal of doctors’ conscience rights in National Review. He claims that “the WMA has eviscerated medical conscience rights in a way that would force doctors to engage in interventions and actions that they oppose on ethical, moral grounds. «He doesn’t do it blatantly, but subtly.»
The WMA code of ethics is reviewed periodically. The latest edition, which Smith criticizes, was published last year after a conference in Berlin. He points out that his defense of the rights of conscience is very weak. The code says: “A doctor’s conscientious objection to the provision of any lawful medical intervention can only be exercised if the individual patient does not suffer harm or discrimination and if the patient’s health is not in danger.” Obviously, a patient who believes that transgender surgery is necessary for the sake of her mental health could use this clause against a doctor who opposes it. Effectively, it means that any request that is “lawful” must be honored.
As Smith points out: ““Lawful medical interventions” include actions that take human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, as well as what many doctors consider death procedures. harmful and/or permanently disfiguring gender transitions (even in children), such as puberty blockers, adolescent mastectomies, facial reconstructions, and genital removal and reshaping.»
Smith warns readers: «The issue of conscientious objection medical is now an international controversy. If the WMA Code becomes enforceable or adopted into law, it will drive many pro-life doctors and believers in the traditional Hippocratic Oath, or those with religious principles, from their profession around the world. In fact, I suspect that is the intention.»