The 'Medical Right': Impact on End-of-Life Care
Kathryn L. Tucker, J. D.
Compassion & Choices
July 22, 2008
In The Medical Right, Remaking Medicine in Their Image (2007) (Medical Right Report or Report), the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) applies the term "Medical Right" to refer to religiously influenced medical, bioethics and health policy organizations of the Religious Right. This extremely important, well researched Report examines how the political agenda of the Religious Right, a political force comprised of fundamentalists primarily in the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions, impacts reproductive health care. The growing influence of medical associations that apply fundamentalist Christian "biblical values" to research and policy affecting reproductive health care is explored. The Report reveals that many consortiums, think tanks, institutes, and programs apply Religious Right ideology to medical concerns under the mantle of "bioethics" or "biomedical ethics." These groups work with conservative advocacy, outreach, and legal organizations, along with politicians, to advance the policy agendas of the Religious Right. The confluence of conservative politics, fundamentalist religion, and ideologically influenced medicine and science, poses a threat to reproductive health care services, as discussed in detail in the Report.
While the Report is comprehensive in its discussion of the Religious Right's involvement in reproductive health issues, it addresses in only a cursory fashion how the Medical Right engages health law and policy governing end-of-life care. The purpose of this paper is to explore this area of concern more thoroughly.
Keywords: end of life, end of life care, pain management, access to care, health care restrictions, decision restrictions, aid in dying, physician aid in dying, catholic health care, religious right, religious restrictions, Oregon Death with Dignity Act, Death with Dignity Act, bioethics, biomedical ethics
JEL Classification: I00, I10, I11, I12, I18, I19, I28, J18, K00, K10, K13, K14, K19, K32, K39
Date posted: July 22, 2008