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What is the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life?

It is an affiliation of medical doctors throughout the world who support the traditional medical ethic of service to the life and health of their patients. There are members in more than 70 countries and membership numbers over 350,000 (situation 1995).

The Aims of the Federation
1. To uphold the Hippocratic tradition.

2. To support doctors and health personnel who are discriminated against because they uphold this tradition.

3. To call for legal protection for all members of the human race, from conception/fertilisation until natural death, in accordance with:
-the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, and
-the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1959.
-The Declaration of Helsinki, 1975, where #III(4) states: "In research on man, the interest of science and society should never take precedence over considerations related to the well-being of the subject".

4. To found an active section of this Federation of Doctors in every country world-wide.


The Medical Code of Ethics

Declaration of Geneva, 1948
At the time of being admitted as a Member of the medical profession I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity :

I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due;

I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity;

The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration;

I will respect the secrets which are confided in me;

I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;

My colleagues will be my brothers : I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception;

even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;

I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour…

The Second General Assembly of the World Medical Association 1948.


Extracts from the Dutch Physicians' Protest
..We discontinued our membership in the Dutch Medical Society … to express our conviction that the function of the physician is born of his own high moral and spiritual norms and … should be free from political control
.. The Physician is the undisputed protector of two holy and precious values; the respect of life, and charity towards the sick human being. From time immemorial the vocation of the physician has been a vocation of confidence …

The physician … realises the smallness of his knowledge in the face of the magnitude of the mystery of life, suffering and death … We do not deny that social hygienic measures constitute part of the task of the physician; we can recognise the duty only insofar as it proceeds from and is not in conflict with the first and holiest precept of the physician … the respect for life and for the physical well-being of the individual …

The Netherlands in Time of War. Vol.II Translated by Conrad W.Baars, M.D.


"This World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life

– States that each human life is sacred, is unique and of infinite value from fertilisation to natural death and that one may never end the life of a patient no matter his/her age or illness.
– In accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1975), we affirm that a human being may never be used as an object of experimentation or exploitation, and
– consider that extracorporeal fertilisation which inevitably involves experimentation and selection in the youngest human beings, is therefore unacceptable."


Euthanasia, that is the act of commission or omission with the deliberate intention of ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.

The 39th General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Madrid October 8th 1987.