Ethics Statements

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Suicide Ethics Statement

We, as Christian Physicians and dentists, believe that human life is a gift from God and is sacred because it bears God's image. One of the ramifications of societal acceptance of suicide is further devaluation of the biblical view of human life.

The role of the physician is to affirm life, to relieve suffering and pain, and to give compassionate, competent care as long as the patient lives. The physician as well as the patient will be held accountable by God, the giver and taker of life.

Suicide is an intentional act with the express purpose of ending one's own life, often occurring in the context of isolation, pain or mental illness that may alter the victim's perceptions, thinking and judgment. We believe it is only for God to judge the ultimate moral culpability of those who take their own lives.

Suicide is in opposition to the sovereignty of a loving God, the Creator of all life, and it is an inappropriate exercise of the control that God has given us over our own lives as created beings.

Release from suffering is thought by some to justify suicide. However, suffering is a part of the current state of God's redemptive plan. Relief of family or societal burden is thought by some to justify suicide. However, the biblical view of family and community includes an obligation to attempt to meet the needs of the individual.

For those family members who feel stigmatized by a sense of shock and shame when a relative commits suicide, our task is to be agents of grace and healing in the midst of their loneliness, their isolation, their grief and anger.

We do not oppose withdrawal or withholding of artificial means of life support in patients who are clearly and irreversibly deteriorating, in whom death appears imminent and who are beyond reasonable hope of recovery.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations advocate appropriate use of treatment for clinical depression and physical pain as well as support for depressed or suffering individuals by family, church and community.

Approved by the CMDA House of Delegates
Passed unanimously
May 1, 1992. St. Louis, Missouri.

Download file Suicide Ethics Statement with References