By Dave Andrusko
When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments December 1 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it’s easy to predict there will be virtually no discussion in the popular press of one of the state’s “compelling interests” in protecting unborn babies over 15 weeks: safeguarding the integrity of the medical profession. (The right of conscience—the right of a health care provider not to be forced to participate—is a separate and very important issue.)
Fortunately, Grazie Pozo Christine offers a keen explanation of how “Elective Abortion Undermines Medicine’s Core Philosophy.”
In the amicus brief she and doctors filed in the Dobbs case, they noted
By locking in “viability” as the only legally sufficient reason a State may prohibit abortions, Casey is also out-of-step with the Court’s own recognition of other state interests justifying regulation of previability abortion. Some examples: preventing the coarsening of society to the humanity of newborns; the integrity and ethics of the medical profession, who must simultaneously treat the unborn child as a patient in some contexts and as mere “tissue” in others… [underlining added]
“Coarsening” society is shorthand for abortion’s capacity to brutalizes everything and everyone involved:
In its brief, Mississippi pointed out that abortions performed after 15 weeks “involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb.” Engaging in this “barbaric practice” for non-therapeutic reasons, the state said, is “demeaning to the profession.” Unlike the general public, involved medical staff cannot turn a blind eye to the detritus of a late-term abortion—the body parts of what is so obviously a small human person. Being educated in anatomy and embryology, they cannot pretend that these are only “products of conception,” a favorite euphemism of the abortion industry. Limits like the Mississippi law protect physicians and other staff from exposure to this cruel practice.
But Christie takes her objections another step further: “Asking medical professionals to perform elective abortion right up until birth undermines the philosophy that undergirds and protects Western medicine: the Hippocratic tradition.”
In the United States, elective abortion has been one of the great exceptions to Hippocratic medicine. Roe warped the medical profession by establishing in law the hideous idea that a person can be at once a valuable patient, the object of all our care and skill, and the victim of a purposeful killing. This double-minded thinking has seeped into our medical schools and our professional associations; it has infiltrated the sacred space between patient and doctor, where nothing but trust should abide. Roe casts a long, dark shadow over a profession whose members entered it answering a noble call—the call to heal the sick and protect the vulnerable, to embrace and accompany suffering souls.
Christine points out that physicians “have resisted the debasement of our vocation that Roe has occasioned.” For example, more than 80% of all obstetricians/gynecologists will have no part in performing abortions.
Her conclusion is that “the state has a profound interest in protecting the integrity of the medical profession” by maintaining an impenetrable wall between physicians and abortion. “Doing so also protects our patients—both mothers and their unborn children,” she writes.
Many who are with me in the medical profession across the country hope that the Supreme Court will, at long last, allow states to protect their littlest patients from the cruelty of elective late abortions and protect their caregivers from being exposed to the demeaning practice.
It’s time to restore the honorable, life-affirming ethics of the medical profession, bringing it out from Roe’s dark shadow and into the warm light.