At a Southwest Ontario Regional Birthright Conference, held in Kitchener on November 10, Dr. Donald DeMarco, professor of philosophy at St. Jerome’s College, raised some of the issues associated with the new reproductive technologies. He paid particular attention to the weakening of parenthood and the intensification of individualism.
Dr. John Meenan, a general practitioner from Kitchener, prominent member of Physicians for Life, and a Family Coalition Party candidate in the recent provincial election, discussed past, present and future aspects of medical practice. He quoted another physician, Walker Percy (also a novelist), who pointed out a paradox concerning our own times: the twentieth century has been both the most murderous and the most compassionate of centuries. Essential truths have been lost, because truth is equated with the opinion of the majority.
Medicine is in decline as an art, Dr. Meenan said, because o flack of attention to its moral effects: secularism, a hidden religion, affects all medical decisions, rendering it very difficult for a physician to hold to a moral commitment. It is especially difficult, he pointed out, for a pro-life doctor to become an obstetrician. In some Ontario medical training centres, it is clearly impossible; pro-life views will effectually make him ineligible to complete the training, he added.
Former Liberal cabinet minister John Sweeney described some of the problems which a politician must face in a regime hostile to some of his own views. In effect, he attempted an apology for and a defense of his own participation in the former Peterson government.