Following the debate and voting on the abortion pill, RU486, we might ponder the example of a great man from the recent past.
Professor Jerome Lejeune was the French research doctor who discovered the chromosome causing Down Syndrome. In France in the 1960s there were doctors willing to abort pregnancies if the baby had Downs.
Lejeune opposed this whenever possible, including on national TV. His fame led to him being invited to address the United Nations.
His speech followed others expressing views favourable to abortion. So in his speech, Lejeune said, "Here we see an institute of health turning itself into an institute of death." That evening he phoned his wife, "This afternoon I lost my Nobel Prize."
His Downs discovery would normally have guaranteed a Nobel. But, sure enough, he never got it. Such honours are not for those who won't knuckle under to the mentality of death-for-convenience.
The walls of his medical school were defaced by graffiti: "Tremble Lejeune! The revolutionary student movement is watching you!" and "Lejeune and his little monsters must die."
When Lejeune died on Easter Sunday 1994, Pope John Paul II commented: "If God called him from this earth on the very day of Christ's Resurrection, it is difficult not to see a coincidence in this sign."
It would be handy if all doctors everywhere believed like Jerome Lejeune - and, like him, lived by their beliefs.
ARNOLD JAGO (DR)