The central objections to abortion are based upon the human rights of the unborn child, as well they should be. This means that secondary arguments are often overlooked; one of these is the objection that abortion corrupts medicine.
The Hippocratic oath famously commands that a physician shall "Do No Harm." In modern ethical terms, this is the principle of non-malfeasance. The classical Hippocratic oath also specifically bans the use of abortifacients.
At most medical schools, the Hippocratic oath has been replaced by a more recent version which, shockingly, does not require a commitment to do no harm. It does, however, include the statement "I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm."
Abortion differs from legitimate health care in a number of significant ways. It is the only "medical" practice that is considered "failed" when it does not do lethal harm. There is often no meaningful doctor-patient relationship. Abortion centers have shown that they cannot be trusted to provide informed consent. In short, abortion is fundamentally incompatible with basic medical values. Abortionists and their employees know this to be true-- and in their more self-aware moments, many have admitted it:
"No doctor, for ethical, moral or honest reasons wants to do nothing but abortions..." ~Edward Eichner
"You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room, you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity in the fetal heart is not important, that she is going to have a fine, healthy baby. Then, in the next room you assure another woman, on whom you just did a saline abortion, that it is a good thing that the heartbeat is already irregular....she has nothing to worry about, she will NOT have a live baby..." ~Abortionist Szenes
You are doing a destructive process. Arms, legs, chests come out in the forceps. It's not a sight for everybody." ~William Benbow Thompson
"You certainly know that you will start with a living fetus and that it will be dead by the end of the procedure. But when you start a second-trimester abortion, you don't know when the fetus will die. Every patient is different. ~L. Carhart
"It's necessary to remember that these days abortion is done on request and therefore not a procedure you undertake in the interest of the fetus..." ~Gordon Douglas
"I dismember the fetus - pull it apart limb from limb - and remove it piece by piece and two hours later I've forgotten them." ~Phillip Bennett
"This can burn you out very, very quickly...not so much by the physical labor as the emotional part of what's going on. When you do an ultrasound, particularly if you have children, and you see a fetus there, kicking, moving, living, doing things that your own child does, bringing it's thumb to its mouth, and things like that- it's difficult." ~Ed Jones
"We've come a long way since my mother's time. The idea of abortion to save the mothers' life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure- but medically speaking, it probably doesn't exist. It's a real stretch of our thinking." ~Don Sloan
"[I've seen women] who have just had an abortion ... lie in the recovery room and cry, 'I've just killed my baby. I've just killed my baby.' I don't know what to say to these women. Part of me thinks, 'Maybe they're right.'" ~Anonymous nurse, quoted in American Medical NewsAbortion has no place in the healing profession. I applaud physicians of conscience who are attempting to practice ethically in a field that has abandoned its responsibilities toward its youngest patients. On this World Health Day, let us renew our commitment to ending abortion and restoring the integrity of medicine.