The Ethics of Evangelism: Why You Can’t Be a Good Physician and Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are a worldwide phenomenon typically run by religious organizations who aim to prevent abortion by disseminating misleading and false information about abortion and/or contraception through volunteer-run centers that advertise themselves as medical clinics. CPCs violate basic principles of biomedical ethics through these actions by inhibiting patient autonomy via incomplete disclosure of information, making it impossible for patients to make autonomous decisions about their pregnancy options. This is comparable to not providing risks and benefits before a planned surgical procedure. CPCs also create potentially hazardous medical situations and perpetuate imbalances in social justice, violating other biomedical principles as well. Patients must be allowed to decide what is beneficence for them, including whether the fetus should be considered a patient, invalidating the potential argument that CPCs practice beneficence by preventing abortion. Given these violations, medical professionals cannot ethically support CPCs and should advocate against them given their potential to undermine the doctor-patient relationship.
KeywordsAbortion Autonomy Crisis pregnancy centers
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