Thursday, July 03, 2008

Hippocratic Oath Not Alone in Condeming Abortion

The Hippocratic Oath, written in the 4th century BC by the Father of Medicine Hippocrates, is an oath that all Western doctors took until very recently. It tells how doctors should care for their patients. It says a physician should not abuse his patient, physically or sexually, he should not take too much money, he should keep his patients' information private, etc. For years this was practiced by doctors. One of the imperatives of the Oath was to not commit abortion.

But the Hippocratic Oath is one of several world-wide medical oaths taken by doctors and physicians. What was their stance on abortion?

The Seventeen Rules of Enjuin, a Japanese Oath from the 16th century states: "you should not give abortives to the people."

The Oath of Asaph, the oldest known Hebrew medical oath, dating to the 6th century, states: "Do not make a woman [who is] pregnant [as a result of] of whoring take a drink with a view to causing abortion"

After the world realized the atrocities of Nazism, the Declaration of Geneva was drafted in 1948. Part of this document stated: "I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity."

The International Code of Medical Ethics was put together the following year in 1949, and read: "A doctor must always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life from conception."

As you can see, Hippocrates was not unique in his statements against abortion.

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