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Politicization of Medicine Is Merely a Symptom of Our Culture's Disease

Politicizing health care isn't limited to issues related to the beginning and end of life; it includes crucial developmental milestones along the way.
Lathan Watts
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Politicizing health care isn't limited to issues related to the beginning and end of life; it includes crucial developmental milestones along the way

A pervasive agenda spreading through the medical profession at a viral pace is in and of itself a disturbing trend. But it may reveal an even more perilous cultural decay that, if left untreated, could be life-threatening to our republic. The trend is the coercive use of government power that places a bureaucratic thumb on the scale balancing science and politics. The cultural decay is the rejection of God as the source of life and liberty.

It took an injunction by a federal district court to partially prevent the Biden administration from using the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to force emergency room doctors to perform elective abortions regardless of religious beliefs or conscientious objection. The injunction in the case State of Texas v. Becerra is likely headed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

The federal government isn't alone when it comes to politicizing medicine. In New Mexico and California, doctors now face civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses, if they decline to participate in assisted suicide. The laws require physicians to inform patients about assisted suicide, be part of the process for obtaining suicide drugs, or refer patients to physicians and organizations who will participate in ending their lives. Alliance Defending Freedom is challenging New Mexico's and California's laws; the cases are Lacy v. Torrez and Christian Medical and Dental Associations v. Bonta, respectively.

Politicizing health care isn't limited to issues related to the beginning and end of life; it includes crucial developmental milestones along the way. When lawmakers in the state of Alabama wisely chose to protect children by prohibiting the administration of puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical mutilation of minors, the Biden administration and political interest groups immediately sued the state. ADF is assisting the Alabama Attorney General's Office in Boe v. Marshall, defending the law that protects children from harmful procedures that irreversibly alter their healthy bodies without any proven long-term benefit.

Successful court challenges to unjust laws are necessary, but legal victories alone are not enough to sustain the American dream of liberty under law. The symbiotic relationship connecting law, politics, and culture is such that freedom must be exercised to be maintained. And understanding freedom and its origin is key to opposing any imposter's vision.

This political agenda infecting the medical profession has already run rampant through other corners of society, most notably education. Cloaked in terms of liberation, autonomy, and human rights, it embraces the self-centered libertine definition of freedom — "I can do what I want without restriction or consequence" — that is more in line with the 1789 revolution in France than the American Revolution of 1776. The American ideal of ordered liberty — "I have the unencumbered ability to do as I should" — presupposes a moral order that enables a free man to live among free men. This has made America the exception to the general rule of history, where revolutions come and go, ending most often in renewed tyranny.

The politicization of medicine is merely a symptom. The disease is the cultural abandonment of the ultimate value and dignity of humanity and the natural rights inextricably linked to mankind by way of their shared divine origin. In theological terms, this is the notion of Imago Dei, that all men are created in the image of God. The view of mankind as a clump of cells requires no moral consideration of ending life in the womb, forcing doctors to assist in suicide, or inflict permanent damage to those they are called to heal, not harm.

The political expression of man as God's creation is in our nation's birthright: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

While Thomas Jefferson's words may be among the most famous in the English language, the idea has endured because it holds true for all times and in all tongues. This is the fundamental principle upon which our nation rests. Recognition of every human being as an image-bearer of God equal in value and worthy of respect is the necessary pre-condition of American liberty. It is no surprise that Jefferson's protégé James Madison saw to it that our Constitution would protect the proper role of religion in a civil society. Here, there would be no state-imposed orthodoxy or religious test for public office, but the free exercise of religion would be protected to influence all aspects of life and produce a common understanding of morality necessary to live freely together.

If that "self-evident truth" of a Creator as the objective source of right and rights is supplanted by the view of humanity as a cosmic accident, with each individual beholden only to his own subjective morality, the result leaves only one absolute: power. When might makes right, freedom's days are numbered.

As President Ronald Reagan put it in 1984, nearly two centuries after the founding, "Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience[.] ... [W]ithout God, there is a coarsening of the society; without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure[.] ... If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

Lathan Watts, VP of Public Affairs
Lathan Watts
VP of Public Affairs
Lathan Watts serves as VP of Public Affairs at Alliance Defending Freedom