Do No Harm. . .To Freedom?

The excerpt below is part of “Do No Harm…To Freedom? which Crisis Magazine published on April 26, 2021

During this 117th Congressional Session, certain Members of Congress reintroduced the “Equality Act” (H.R. 5, S. 393), which would, among other provisions, amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Adoption of this bill would release one of the final restraints on abuse in health care, which from ancient times has been philosophically based on the principle to “do no harm”—supposedly even now. 

With legal prohibition of this particular form of discrimination, the autonomy of medical professionals will grow weaker, as a denial to perform sex reassignment surgery, transgender hormone therapy, procedures destructive to unborn life, or related interventions will constitute unjust discrimination against the patient requesting treatment. 

How did we get here? The principle to “do no harm” has been philosophically altered to “do no harm to freedom.” More accurately, “do no harm to personal choice,” since “detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth” returns an empty shell of freedom in the form of personal choice, as Pope John Paul II’s insight would lead us to realize in Veritatis Splendor.