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Message to doctors and healthcare professionals Print E-mail
By John Cardinal O’Connor   
Thursday, 31 July 2014

You know that to many lay persons your words border on the divine. We still hear such phrases as, “The doctor has ordered me to...” You have tremendous authority. Your entire lives are devoted to healing, to picking up the pieces of broken lives; physically, mentally, emotionally. You, above all, have been entrusted with the protection of human life in our society. It is you who normally take care of pregnant women, bring children into the world and do everything you can to prolong life. People trust you; they listen to you. Many are immensely dependent on you.

You could almost single-handedly turn the abortion phenomenon around! First, by encouraging individual women or couples to keep the baby that has been conceived. Then, in simply refusing to have anything to do with abortions. Let us face the sad reality: the overwhelming number of abortions performed in the United States are performed by medical doctors with nurses or others as their assistants. You know yourselves that you don’t want a pregnant girl or woman to see a sonogram of her unborn baby if she is about to have an abortion. You don’t want her to see what is taken from her womb in an abortion.

On the sixth day of June 1990, most of the major newspapers featured a doctor who had allegedly used his “suicide machine” to help a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease kill herself. I saw the reaction of other doctors on television. The reaction was unanimous: “Good Lord. That’s exactly the opposite of everything that the medical profession is supposed to stand for!” I think it a great loss that in many cases the Hippocratic Oath is not taken. “. . I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if 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. . . “

May I urge you to try always to remember that the unborn is a fully human being. Many doctors are now calling them patients, particularly given new intrauterine surgical procedures able to correct various defects. Surely no responsible individual becomes a doctor or a nurse with the intention of killing rather than curing patients. I know it can cost you financially and may bring you significant criticism and in some cases you may even lose your status or your jobs in hospitals. But ultimately if enough of you refuse to do abortions, the practice of abortion will become a thing of the past. I pray that you will have the courage. There are organizations, such as the Catholic Physicians Guild and Nurses for Life, which can give you support and encouragement in your efforts on behalf of life.

 
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