Coalition of Latin American Doctors Combats Culture of Death

Physicians Concerned About Continent's Rejection of Church Values

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SANTIAGO, Chile, MARCH 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- An organization of Catholic physicians is trying to create awareness about some of Latin America's most pressing moral issues: in vitro fertilization, the morning-after pill and changing family values.



"Death itself is beginning to be institutionalized," said Dr. Francisco Díaz Herrera, president of the Latin American Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. "There are issues that are questioned at present as if they were a matter of opinion, such as the right to life, from conception until natural death."

Díaz Herrera referred to the problem as "an international campaign" with a "strategy to infiltrate legislation in our continent, taking advantage of scientific novelties."

The doctors federation, which was set up eight years ago, focuses on social, academic and apostolic activities and tries to foster awareness. Díaz Herrera stressed the importance of the group's task, saying that as the "continent of hope" still maintains in force the values of the Church.

Díaz Herrera and his colleagues are concerned that some aspects of modern science will endanger the family.

"Some laws of in vitro fertilization do not just help infertile couples, but declare the right of unmarried couples to have children by IVF," he said.

"Hence, a law on IVF can also be used to introduce in the legislation a definition of a de facto couple as a stable couple that has shared a roof for two years and intends to continue to do so," said Díaz Herrera. "They have suddenly introduced a civil state that did not exist before in that legislation."

The group also warns about the introduction of new legislative concepts when deliberating about the morning-after pill, which "introduces a form of abortion in countries that do not allow abortion," Díaz Herrera explained.

He also mentioned that "from abroad, we receive international actors who speak to us about different types of families; some even say that a family is all those who live under the same roof, when we all know what a family is: a father, a mother and some children."

He took consolation in John Paul II's commitment to the culture of life. "The moral conscience of doctors is growing thanks to the help of the Holy Father and to the guidance that the Church is now giving more directly," Díaz Herrera said.

The Latin American Federation of Catholic Medical Associations is a member of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, and includes doctors from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Central American associations are being organized.