These statements are based on scientific, moral and ethical principles. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with them in an effort to adopt the ethical tenets as defined by Hippocratic tradition within your work as a healthcare professional.
As healthcare professionals dedicated to saving and protecting human life, we affirm that all human life has special value derived from being a part of the human family.
- The value of human life is independent of an individual person’s genotype, developmental stage, age, sex, ethnicity, place of origin, disability, or perceived worth.
- The value of human life is continuous throughout lifetime, from fertilization to death.
Since the time of Hippocrates, a fundamental tenet of medical ethics, a cornerstone of professionalism, and an expectation of the public, has been that those who profess to accept the responsibilities of providing healthcare do not deliberately kill their patients. This commitment, coupled with the other virtues of the healing arts, has allowed society to trust and empower healthcare professionals with unique and tremendous yet restricted freedoms, expecting that those professionals would use those freedoms to pursue the best interests of their patients and the public health.
Respect for conscientiously-held beliefs of individuals and for individual differences is an essential aspect of our free society. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority."
In healthcare the right of choice of moral refusal is foundational and applies to all participants, including patients and healthcare professionals.
Personal Safety and Public Health
Since the pioneering work of Edward Jenner and others in developing a vaccination for smallpox over 200 years ago, immunization has been of great benefit to individuals as well as the public. Immunization practices have prevented outbreaks of communicable diseases and resultant deaths or disability and continue to prevent an ever-increasing variety of illnesses.
Limits to Parental Authority in Medical Decision Making
Parents are entrusted with the responsibility to love, nurture, protect, and train for their children. In our society, when parents fail to carry out their fundamental responsibilities, the state is empowered to intervene to protect vulnerable children.
The American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME) has developed this policy on “medical marijuana” based on the Hippocratic tradition and the most recent scientific evidence.
Moral Complicity with Evil
Moral complicity with evil is culpable association with or participation in wrongful acts. Evil is defined as anything immoral or wrong based on various religious texts. Questions about moral complicity with evil can arise in regard to an individual’s relationship to or involvement with past, present or future evil.
The American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME) affirms that children at all stages of development are precious human beings, belong to their families, and share in their communities. The family is the normal environment wherein children are to be cherished, protected, and prepared to take on adult responsibilities. Families are prior to the state, which has the obligation to protect children and the family structure.
Pornography and Interactive Sexual Devices
Pornography is any medium that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to entice sexual imagination. Pornography has no beneficial use but damages human relationships. Mass communication technologies such as the Internet have expanded its reach to an unprecedented degree. Video and virtual reality have intensified their content. The introduction of sex robots that imitate human speech and sexual behaviors and are designed to perform sexual acts with humans is an extreme elaboration of pornography.
The American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME) affirms the historic understanding of humankind as consisting of two sexes, male and female. The AAME has concerns about recent usage of the term “gender” to emphasize an identity other than one’s biological sex, that is, a sense of self based on subjective feelings or desires of identifying more strongly with the opposite sex or with some combination of male and female.
The American Academy of Medical Ethics promotes the interests of medical educators, medical practitioners and scientists, the care and well-being of patients, the protection of public health, and the betterment of the medical profession, as well as protects and promotes the historical values that have provided the longstanding foundation for Western healthcare. We foresee the standard of healthcare in North American once again defined by the Hippocratic tradition.
We would love for you to join us in our efforts to promote ethical healthcare.
When you invest in the American Academy of Medical Ethics, you join us in our efforts to protect the foundation of Western healthcare. Your donation will make a difference for our profession, our patients and our culture.