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The gift each of us receives of our virginity, simply by being human, is a precious and beautiful thing. It is precious, because it is a treasure, which holds the guarantee of our fertility and sexual health to offer to the one permanent spouse who wins our hearts. It is a wonderful protection of the fertility, which we bring to such a union – a freedom from the (often asymptomatic) sexually transmitted diseases, which rob us of fertility. It is the guarantee we can offer to our spouse and our children of their protection from dread diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
But it is precious for more than physical reasons.
The original concept of dignity in our culture, shared by Christians, natural law protagonists and others is that humans have “inherent worth of immeasurable value that is deserving of certain morally appropriate responses.” So it is seen to be a reality, which remains real even when it is neglected or violated. It is the basic truth, which underlies the command, “You shall not murder.”
Following the Stransham-Ford case in the Pretoria High Court, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) has stated clearly that it does not support the right to die in law, and opposes euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in line with the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s policies and the World Medical Association’s guidelines and codes on the subject. Yet this is an emotive issue, and this letter is written in the hope of clarifying the issues that are at stake in South Africa (SA) for the sake of those who do not agree with SAMA.
Political correctness seems to have become a new over-arching value in our society, and one which limits honest dialogue even in medicine. Every health worker will acknowledge that being politically correct is a foolish position to hold when political correctness flies in the face of the evidence. Yet, when one looks around at current dialogue in this nation, political correctness seems to keep many silent who should be speaking.