Public ethical issues
One of our Aims is to promote humanist views on public ethical issues. We focus on those issues that are either important to humanists in particular or have high social importance, especially where others are actively promoting views opposed to humanist values or the humanist voice is excluded or weak. Humanists have always been at the forefront of promoting a rational, secular approach to ethical issues in public policy. We are focused on developing and promoting expert and nuanced critique of issues including abortion and assisted dying, and on emerging contemporary issues, such as the state-funding of homeopathy and the shortage of organs available for donation.
Humanists form their views on the often-conflicting ideas and unpredictable consequences arising from, for example, new developments in medical science, using reason, evidence and compassion and putting human wellbeing and the wellbeing of other sentient animals at the centre of their thinking. We base our responses on the humanist principle that individuals should have the right to live by their own personal values and the freedom to make decisions about their own lives, as long as these do not result in harm to others or to the general aim of minimising suffering and advancing human happiness.
We do recognise that some values are not shared by everyone. Humanists do not share the attitudes to ‘interfering with nature’ or ‘playing God’ or the same definitions of personhood held by some religious believers. We respect the right not to participate in some procedures of those holding religious beliefs about the sanctity of life and the limits of medical intervention. Equally, we deny them the right to impose their beliefs directly or indirectly on others.