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September 8 2014

Rabbi Avraham Steinberg: Honor life against the ethical drift of autonomy

 
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“My way of exercising my profession, my duty and my responsibility to my patients is to honor the sanctity of life, charity, solidarity and socially shared values”. Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, professor of medical ethics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, made this statement while taking part in a round table discussion held in the realm of the International Peace Conference, Peace is the Future, Religion and Cultures in Dialogue 100 Years after World War I, organized in Antwerp today and tomorrow by the Community of Sant’Egidio.

Steinberg complained that “The contemporary medical ethic considers ‘autonomy’ to be the dominant ethic, which requires us to facilitate any action desired and considered acceptable by someone on the basis of his personal judgment and  in accordance with his own personal choice”.  As a result, he said, we “recognize and accept the free choice of everyone, even if that choice appears to be inappropriate, wrong and even capable of endangering the patient’s life”.

The rabbi asserted that “saving lives is considered extremely important by all religions and all moral theories”.


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