Ethical medicine?

Ethical medicine?

Dr A.W. Hartwig

Tim Coyle's letter (August AD2000) shows clearly how far some of the medical profession have departed from the Hippocratic Oath. However most medicos - even professors of gynaecology who carry out late term abortions - still claim to practise ethical medicine.

It is in examining this claim that one can see how this is consistent. Even abortionists know and admit their actions destroy human life - life with potential, not potential life. But if our actions are determined "good" by the result, by an increase in the happiness of a sentient life, then the ending of a non-sentient life is an acceptable price.

So abortion and the use of embryonic stem cells is justified, at least on such philosophical grounds. To admit that in either situation harm is inherent is to destroy the justification of that procedure.

One needs little imagination to understand how, especially in today's litigious society, even a suggestion that action undertaken to increase "happiness", but found to increase misery, challenges both the philosophy and the lifestyle of the perpetrator.

To suggest that abortion, or long term use of the contraceptive pill, might even be a factor in a subsequent breast cancer, raises possible sequelae too dreadful to allow even the thought. "Science" has never been impersonal. Few scientists have been known to make discoveries inimical to their favourite theories.

Auchenflower, Qld

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