John & Lizzie's - new code of practice questioned

The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St John's Wood is a Catholic hospital, founded in 1856. In 2003, the Hospital invited the St John's Wood Medical Practice to become a part of the hospital. At the time, Catholics familiar with the present workings of the National Health Service warned that such an invitation would present problems for a Catholic hospital since an NHS medical practice is bound to offer "sexual health services" which conflict with Catholic moral teaching.

Last week, the Hospital Board approved a new Code of Ethics which, on the surface, looks good. It specifies that such things as euthanasia, sex-change operations, the fitting of intra-uterine devices, and IVF are forbidden. However , the Code does not mention abortion referrals or the prescription of the (abortifacient) Morning After Pill.

Today, there are two articles in the National Press which highlight the Linacre Centre's criticism of the Code of Ethics: in the Daily Telegraph Celebrity hospital in abortion row and in the Daily Mail Cardinal caught up in Catholic row...

Abortion referral is a "hot button" issue for Catholics in Britain today. Catholic doctors and others who will not kill unborn children cannot in conscience refer patients to other doctors who will. Many secularists would like to try and force them to do so or leave the profession. It cannot be acceptable for a Catholic hospital to allow such referrals, nor can these referrals in any way be "approved by the Catholic Church."

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