Physician states case against abortion [letter to the editor]

Social IssuesWomen's Issues

  • Author Judith Moss Hughes, Md
  • Published July 29, 2022
  • Word count 665

To the Editor: The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion will make Jan. 22, 1973, a memorable day—not for the freedom of women, as the head of Planned Parenthood of America remarked—but a memorable day on which the United States of America parted legal company with freedom and justice and began perpetuating feticide.

I am a woman, a medical doctor and mother of three children and feel fully qualified to respond publicly against this body of male lawyers, who have washed their hands like Pontius Pilates and thrown the dirty water to the doctors.

As a doctor, I feel indignant and fearful, for few members of the profession are ready for this tremendous ethical responsibility.

Courses on law, philosophy, theology and ethics are not part of a medical school education. We are too ignorant to be “killers,” yet know too much to be innocent bystanders. Thus, with every intuitive, educated and noneducated atom within me, I must personally denounce abortion as an act against life and therefore, against the nature of the medical profession.

For every doctor that removes a fetus that is not threatening its mother’s life, that doctor’s humanitarian nature will be threatened; he will no longer claim those qualities a doctor is not taught but simply “acquires”: compassion, empathy and a sense of responsibility to perpetuate the life force under siege of true invaders.

If pregnancy is an “invasion of privacy,” and the fetus is an invader in the medical sense—then that fetus joins the list of other invaders in the medical sense: viruses, bacteria, worms, amoebae, fungi, etc. And that includes all fetuses—for does the wanting of a fetal implantation change the physical characteristics of that fetus? No. A fetus is a fetus—in the medical sense.

If this fetus is invading the mother’s privacy in the medical sense, as a parasite invades a host, does she know? The same way in which she can tell if other invaders are present? How do we know consciously we have cancer—can we tell in our mental awareness that a microscopic malignancy is present in the center of our liver?

Do we know instantly when our privacy is invaded—whether by tumor or fetus? Of course not. Then when does a woman know she is invaded? She seeks medical opinion and submits herselves to known tests of various kinds.

It should be clear to any sane mind that a doctor can do only this—test for pregnancy and indicate to the woman whether this test is negative or positive. He does not usually ask immediately whether she wishes prenatal care or preabortion-prep. The woman is the one that says whether the fetus is not wanted— therefore, a birth control failure, foreign invader or whatever term she likes—or wanted and called a baby and therefore, destined for something more.

If she puts her thumb down, then the doctor can add his X if he too chooses. If he goes along and puts his thumb down with hers, then he has ceased being worthy of a scientific profession and becomes a hired assassin, who for a fee and no other motivation squashes the life of a potential human being in the same way he would a growing abscess or gangrenous toe – and on far less clinical indication.

Either you believe in life or you don’t. I can think of no greater act of male chauvinism than to pretend to identify with a pregnant woman’s doubts, enter her uterus and remove a fetus that is half her genetic material and half that of a wandering sperm whose donor shall remain anonymous.

We only stand to lose as a nation. Abortion is where humanism and liberalism part company. The same knife that cuts placenta from uterus cuts humanity from its own life source. We cannot sleep to what is happening.

I think it is justifiable uneasiness a woman experiences if her obstetrician does 50 abortions to her one delivery.

JUDITH MOSS HUGHES, MD (1973 February 24) Physician states case against abortion [letter to the editor] Saturday, February 24, 1973 The Detroit News

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