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Our laws inclued equal rights for women and patient safety

Staff Report • Nov 1, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I was disappointed by the opinion column of Oct. 27 on the Hippocratic Oath, first by the paper’s decision to give broad coverage to such a narrow view and by the column itself.The vast majority of Americans support and have practiced contraception. Sadly, if we did not, this great country’s burgeoning population likely would have outstripped its capacity to feed, and our individual capacity to care for, our people. Most religions and religious persons accept family planning as a matter of biblically recognized freedom of conscience. Even cursory research reveals that most medical graduates don’t even take the Hippocratic Oath. Rather, there are many variations of it, many of which have removed the provisions at the core of the column. Much of the oath reflects it’s archaic nature, such as swearing to the pagan god Apollo and the treatment of the slaves upon which ancient Greece was utterly dependent. At the time the oath is attributed to Hippocrates (400 BC), women had virtually no rights in most areas of Greece. Infanticide was widely practiced, at the discretion of the husband, who was deemed to own both wife and child. The statement that Roe v. Wade was confused about when life begins is inaccurate. Justice Harry Blackmun declined to speculate about it. Noting the differing views of experts, scholars and religious texts, he wrote: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” I’m offended by the prediction that in 20 years only the “rare Hippocratic physician” would have the integrity to refuse payment to murder a patient. That scare tactic, along with equating contraception, abortion and forced assisted suicide, is demeaning to the practice of medicine and to the American system of laws. We are a people of laws, including laws that define medical practice for the safety and protection of patients and laws that guarantee women equal rights, including the right to choose contraception.JENNIFER HELTON HANNJonesborough

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