A pro-life group has warned that a change to Ireland’s medical ethics guide represents a “seismic shift” that could pave the way for legalising assisted dying.
The comments come after the Republic of Ireland’s Medical Council removed a critical statement from its latest medical ethics code.
The 9th edition of the Guide to Professional Conduct & Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners no longer contains the statement: “You must not take part in the deliberate killing of a patient,” previously present under its end-of-life care section.
The Iona Institute claims the ban on deliberately killing a patient is an “age-old principle of medical ethics with roots going back to ancient Greece” and that changing this code of ethics “represents a seismic shift.”
“The absence means that if the Government were to legalise euthanasia, as seems to be the intention, the ethics code for doctors would no longer provide a barrier,” the pro-life group said.
“It is shameful that the Medical Council has gone down this path, clearly with the blessing of the Minister for Health. Hopefully the doctors of Ireland will push back against this incredibly retrograde step.”
Premier has contacted the Republic of Ireland’s Medical Council for comment.
Irish parliament established a special committee on assisted dying in 2023 to examine the issue, including safeguards, processes and potential recommendations for legislative change.
The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) – the largest body of doctors in the country - has stated that it “opposes the introduction of legislation for assisted suicide because it is contrary to best medical practice,” arguing that the “potential harms outweigh the arguments in favour of legislation.”