In his letter in the September 1 issue, John Bezirganian, M.D., takes the
position that "[p]eople who want doctors not to take part in the death
penalty on `medical ethics' grounds are simply using a ploy to force their
moral beliefs on the majority."
First, to merely "want" something does not force anything on
anybody. Second, ethics and morality are intrinsically related to each other.
Ethics can be defined as "a system or code of morals," while
morality is defined as "principles of right and wrong in conduct;
ethics." Who among us would advocate an ethical position that we believe
to be immoral? Does this intrinsic relationship make advocacy of an ethical
position into a "ploy"?
Either Dr. Bezirganian is doing exactly what he accuses others of doing
(that is, advocating an ethical position that reflects his moral beliefs) or
he is advocating an ethical position that he believes to be immoral! I suspect
that the first alternative is correct, but in either case, he undermines his