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Clamoring for Hippocrates

By Judie Brown

The World Medical Association amended its Physician’s Pledge during a recent general assembly, much to the chagrin of culture-of-life physicians worldwide. The newly revised language respects the “autonomy” of the patient, which could signal approval of choices to end one’s life or the life of a loved one.

In addition, this new pledge may suggest that patients who seek abortion or other unethical services will receive unconditional respect, as nothing will “intervene between my duty and my patient.”

The full implications of these modifications are not fully understood, of course, but what is clear is that the age-old Hippocratic Oath has been tossed into the waste bin of history. For more than 2,000 years physicians took an oath that specifically stated: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” Where once acts that threatened and indeed took the lives of the innocent were the antithesis of medical practice, it would appear that, today, nuanced phrases protect the unthinkable under the guise of protecting patient autonomy.

This modern advancement in medical ethics, which is actually an outline for cruel and inhumane practices, will not only jeopardize the lives of the innocent and vulnerable, but places ethical physicians in the crosshairs of the culture of death.

Events like the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ latest video presenting us with an interview of former StemExpress staffer Holly O’Donnell make us think twice about why physicians and researchers are comfortable with a medical oath of ethics that appears to condone killing. We wonder this when we hear O’Donnell confess that when she used tongs to touch fetal remains in a petri dish, she became woozy and passed out. A nurse in the room with O’Donnell when she came around told her not to worry about the fact that she passed out when she touched the limbs and tissue of a dead preborn child. The nurse explained: “Some of us never get over it.”

If these women understand that “an abortion remedy” is a heinous act, why don’t doctors? Why aren’t doctors standing up and protesting this latest revision of the WMA oath and exposing it for what it actually is?

Actually, we are happy to tell you that some are. Specifically, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists is working hard to host Hippocratic Oath ceremonies at major medical campuses and in communities across America.

AAPLOG describes itself as an organization that exists “to reaffirm the unique value and dignity of individual human life in all stages of growth and development from fertilization onward. . . . We view the physician’s role as a caregiver, responsible, as far as possible, for the well-being of both the mother and her unborn child.”

Organizations like AAPLOG cannot accomplish the task of getting the medical profession back to ethics by themselves. They need the help and the involvement of Americans in every community. American Life League invites you to begin the process of introducing actual medical ethics back into your community by getting involved in activities that expose the horrors promulgated by the culture of death. As you ponder this, consider contacting Dr. Harrison ( and offering to work on hosting a Hippocratic Oath ceremony in your community or at a local university hospital.

We pray that all doctors come to agree with Mildred F. Jefferson, MD, who said that the reason she “became a physician [was] in order to save lives, not to destroy them.” Jefferson believed that to be a physician is to uphold the Hippocratic tradition “infused with the Judeo-Christian sanctity of life ethic.” This drove her work, her words, and her hours of teaching by example that living a pro-life life requires absolute commitment to principle.

Doctors should clamor for a return to the Hippocratic Oath!


Combat the evil with truth! Join American Life League in defiance of the culture of our day—this culture of death. Through your actions and words, become a part of our movement to build a culture of life. Pray, be informed, and educate others.

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