A LEADING Catholic surgeon has vowed to lobby state politicians, and enlist the support of doctors and nurses to highlight the dangers of decriminalising abortion in Queensland.
“We’ve got 13 weeks to get our message across,” Dr McLindon, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital said.
A Labor government bill to be tabled in parliament next month and expected to be debated by mid October, proposes women could abort a pregnancy up to 22 weeks, and with the support of their doctor and another medical professional up until birth.
“The challenge we’ve got is we have to get Labor members not to feel they have to toe the party line, but they have a true conscience vote,” Dr McLindon said.
“The big thing we’ve got to get across to doctors and midwives is that if you’re working in public health, and this is what’s being touted and it gets passed, then you are obliged legally to get involved with that.
“What’s being proposed is the removal of conscientious objection, the ability to practice as per what you (as a doctor) think is best practice for what you can offer.”
Dr McLindon was a speaker at the first meeting of a national body of Catholic doctors and health professionals launched in Sydney on July 21.
The National Catholic Medical Association is newly established to give a unified voice on key issues, and support for Catholic doctors.
“I wanted to focus on our vocational role as doctors – a call to arms for their professional lives, rather than just focusing on the presenting and ever present challenges … because we face the hard yards on a daily basis,” Dr McLindon said.
He shared his reflections on being called to serve life through medicine, while Melbourne specialist anaesthetist Dr Eamonn Matheison discussed the recent congress of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations in Croatia.
“We are all called to respect, protect, love and serve all human life,” Dr McLindon told the inaugural NCMA meeting.
“No doctor, regardless of scientific competence, can claim ownership in the decision of people’s origin or destiny.
“Our vocation as doctors is integral to the divine plan.”
Dr McLindon said his message had direct and important implications as Queensland politicians push to decriminalise abortion.
“You need a prayer life and a bigger dimension for your practice,” he said.
“What I’m hoping to do is talk to politicians, give them the opportunity to approach us and ask questions and try and give them some other insight – because often they’ll only see it from a political viewpoint and social viewpoint without even recognising the difficulties this legislation will give to doctors who are working in public health.”
Speaking to the NCMA, Dr McLindon described the work of a physician as part of church ministry.
“As doctors we share in the pastoral and evangelising action of the Church,” he said.
“Our work needs to be guided by the Spirit and must reveal Christ the healer.
“We become witnesses to the love and beauty of God. (Jn 9:1-3) ‘Jesus passing by, saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked: Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither has this man, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
Dr McLindon said “In today’s world the apparent aim is to control and master our lives”.
“We have lost the sense of journeying in faith, which is true vocation – responding to a call,” he said.
“Sadly, most respond to the echo of their ‘own call’ – in response to the alluring nothingness of fleeting fashion.
“We need to be on guard with a determined vision for a unity of purpose, to an enduring ministry.
“We accompany our patients through life, we encourage and nurture health at every stage.
“We are ministers of life, never instruments of death.
“Medicine is a reflection of the goodness of God.”