A Medical Student Speaks Out on Oaths vs. Beliefs in Abortion

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If you’re not reading the blog KevinMD, you should. It’s one of the rare places where you can learn what it’s like to be a physician today, from the inside, whether it’s legal, professional, medical or ethical issues.

On April 11, there was a remarkable post from an anonymous medical student who found himself or herself at the difficult point where the realities of legalized abortion meet the doctor’s obligation to “first, do no harm.”

It’s indisputable that a child is harmed — killed — in abortion, but doctors still perform them. They’re not all staggeringly evil butchers like Kermit Gosnell, and often doctors who don’t perform abortions have to deal with the aftermath of them.

That’s what this medical student talks about. Here’s an excerpt:

Historically, I am a medical student who tries my best to avoid conflict and confrontation. However, two recent events have led me to speak out as a medical student, future physician, Christian, and fellow human being.

Abortion is a sensitive topic that often can spark emotionally-driven arguments. Whether abortion is right or wrong will not be directly discussed, as this article is only meant to create a healthy dialogue about how health care providers can be caught between the Hippocratic Oath and one’s personal beliefs.

Read the rest here (including a description of abortion-clinic protesters that I hope weren’t Catholic). God willing, one day, there may be no doctors terminating pregnancies, but in the meantime, this is the world we — and doctors — live in.

And if you want to dive deeper, click here for a survey about Americans’ disturbingly complex views on abortion.

NOTE: Some commenters have wondered why I posted this article, since it’s not overtly anti-abortion — which I knew from reading it. It’s here as a glimpse into the thoughts of a future doctor, who identifies as a Christian, dealing day-to-day with the ramifications of legalized abortion. It’s a complicated issue for many physicians as they try to treat patients, follow the law and still, if they’re serious Christians, respect the Gospel message of the sanctity of life. It’s not easy; it’s not simple. We can’t only read things that agree with our point of view, because, as Catholics, we have to engage the world as it is, not as we wish it could be. It’s hard to find anyone willing to speak honestly on their feelings about abortion; this is one of those moments.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

A native of the Adirondacks and Saratoga Springs in northern New York State, journalist and fiction writer Kate O'Hare now lives in Los Angeles, where she's on a neverending quest to find a parish in the L.A. Archdiocese with orthodox preaching, excellent traditional music and parking.

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