Local pro-life groups Friday night encouraged life-affirming physicians to make a stand for their moral beliefs as delineated in the Hippocratic Oath.
In fact, the local physicians who attended a dinner at The Hoppy Gnome Friday recited the oath in a show of unity in affirming their right to practice moral medicine in spite of a cultural climate and political agendas that threaten the sanctity of life in our country.
Dr. Francis for Life and Allen County Right to Life sponsored Friday's gathering. The doctors were invited because, according to new chair of the board of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists Christina Francis, M.D., “They may soon be put in a position where their morals and medical practice will conflict. As laws change and people devalue life, physicians may face situations where they are forced to end lives or withhold lifesaving care or lose their licenses.”
Not long ago I wrote in this space about Dr. Francis' speech to the Indiana Right to Life Legacy of Life Banquet in Kokomo in May where she spoke about the tradition of the Hippocratic Oath. She said then that there is pressure on physicians to abandon their moral principles on the sanctity of life.
Named president in December, Dr. Francis, a practicing OB/GYN in Fort Wayne, says AAPLOG is “an organization of medical professionals dedicated to providing evidence-based medical information about the effects of abortion on women and to defending the right of health care professionals to practice medicine according to the Hippocratic Oath.”
Friday night, she, AAPLOG Executive Director Donna Harrison, M.D., Allen County Right to Life President Cathy Humbarger, Dr. Andrew Mullally of the Catholic Medical Association and Indiana Right to Life Vice President of Public Affairs Sue Liebel outlined the very real threats to the practice of what they call Hippocratic Medicine, which explicitly separates medical care from the intentional killing of human beings. They outlined threats to the dignity of life through abortion, physician-assisted suicide and restrictions on physicians' rights to practice ethical medicine.
Dr. Harrison emphasized the importance of the age-old Hippocratic Oath as the basis of a physician's conscience. But the reality is that forces in the government and the health care industry are successfully attempting to make health care professionals submit “to legal coercion to force them to participate in or perform the killing of their patients.”
According to AAPLOG, “Over half of the citizens of the United States identify themselves as pro-life. One of the most important considerations for patients is to find a physician who shares their underlying values. The elimination of Hippocratic physicians from medical practice does injustice to those patients who do not want physicians that they cannot trust — physicians who do not adhere to the Hippocratic Oath.”
At the end of the evening, Dr. Harrison led the many physicians who attended as they stood and read together a document handed out that was “A Pledge to My Patients: The Essential Hippocratic Oath.”
In part, it said, “I will not help a patient to commit suicide, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly, I will not help a woman obtain an elective abortion. In purity and holiness I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, carefully guarding my role as a healer.”
Kerry Hubartt is editor of The News-Sentinel.