Thursday, November 10, 2005

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

In testimony heard by the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion back on September 21, 2005, expert witness Dr. J.C. Willke, who has lectured on and written about the issue of abortion for more than 30 years, provided the committee with a historical account on abortion. As I revisited that testimony, something struck me.

Dr. Willke first took the committee back to the earliest abortions.

"...We hear constantly that abortion was common in the ancient world. I haven't found it to be so. One method of abortion was to feed her poison...a concoction of crocodile dung and a few other things. Now, the idea here was to kill the baby before the mother died of the poisoning. Sometimes that worked, and sometimes they both died."

He described another method which involved trying to "dislodge" the baby, thus causing a miscarriage. However, this resulted in many complications, and often even death. Dr. Willke asserted that because of such negative consequences, abortion was not commonly practiced.

Dr. Willke testified that in those earliest of days, the role of the "doctor" was to both cure and to kill. He spoke of the fact that people would seek the services of the medicine man for remedies to what ailed them. However, if a person's enemy had previously gone to the medicine man and offered a higher payment, the doctor would provide a poison rather than a remedy.

That was prior to the arrival of the Greek physician named Hippocrates, from whom the Hippocratic Oath derives its name. Hippocrates lived roughly from 460 B.C. until around 370 B.C. According to Dr. Willke, "Hippocrate's great contribution to medicine was that he separated the healing and the killing function of the physician." Over the next several centuries, the standard was for physicians to cure only, and not to kill.

An internet search for the Hippocratic Oath shows that it has been modified over the years. It is notable that in a translation of the original version, the following language was present.
"I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion."
With the legalization of abortion, the Hippocratic principle (separating the healing and killing functions of the physician) was undone.

Now, we live in a time when physicians are able to provide "safe and legal" abortions. One method by which they perform abortions is chemical in nature. Such an abortion utilizes two different pills. The first, mifeprex (a.k.a. mifepristone or RU-486) essentially cuts off the child's nutrition source. The second, misoprostol, causes contractions and results in the miscarriage of the child.

The more I read about RU-486, the more horror stories I encounter. I've read of one woman's violent reaction that rendered her bedfast for several days. She literally thought she was going to die. Still others have died (including four California women) from this chemical abortion procedure.

Doesn't this seem strikingly similar to the above-mentioned abortion method from the days of yore when physicians attempted to feed women enough poison to kill their babies, but not enough to kill the women they served? Perhaps following the lead of those who choose to thumb their noses at the "Father of Medicine" by turning back the clock 2400 years isn't such a good idea, after all.

For more on the very real side-effects of RU-486, there is some good information at the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life website. Here is a direct link to one article entitled "RU-486: A risky and deadly abortion drug."


At November 15, 2005 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

abortion in noones buisness than that of the woman/couple involved.
lets keep this out of politics. You guys have much larger issues to deal with, so please stay out!


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