A Catholic-themed opinion blog about various topics, including theology, philosophy, politics and culture, from a Thomistic perspective.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Death of Hippocrates

Although it is not as much of a staple of the modern initiation of physicians as it was in the past, the Hippocratic Oath exemplifies the purpose of medicine. Central to this purpose is the upholding, preservation and health of life of all kinds. As Margaret Mead once said: "For the first time in our tradition there was a complete separation between killing and curing. Throughout the primitive world, the doctor and the sorcerer tended to be the same person. He with the power to kill had power to cure, including specially the undoing of his own killing activities. He who had the power to cure would necessarily also be able to kill... With the Greeks the distinction was made clear. One profession, the followers of Asclepius, were to be dedicated completely to life under all circumstances, regardless of rank, age or intellect – the life of a slave, the life of the Emperor, the life of a foreign man, the life of a defective child…" (quoted in a BBC online article about the Oath)

This is the most fundamental purpose of medicine. Yet, in modern times, it is used more as a tool for business, vanity and personal convenience, prioritized over life itself. Befitting the modern trend of individualism, the "iUniverse", where any means necessary are employed to customize life and bend it to one's personal pleasure and profit, the essential value of life is left behind, even from medicine. The taking of an unborn life by a medical physician is the deepest betrayal and taint upon medicine and care giving in general that a physician could perpetrate, aside the horror of a mother choosing to murder their own baby and go against the most fundamental instincts and responsibilities of motherhood. Abortion is done for only one reason; all the excuses pro-abortionists employ are simply thin veils to conceal this deepest attitude: for power. All other desires that go into abortion, such as convenience, emotional relief, avoiding social shame, financial concerns, etc., derive from this essential thirst for power, to rip the maturation of life from God's hands into their own, to triumph over the "chains" of nature which God "imposes" - to be gods themselves. Indeed, this is the mentality of abortion doctors and the mothers who use them, and it is the primary reason used by advocates of abortion such as Christopher Hitchens, Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood. "A woman's choice" is simply a gentler term for power, in the same way, as G.K. Chesterton said, "birth control" means less birth and no control.

Created in the image of God, the human person is the crown jewel of God's Creation. In order to fully adhere to the call to love and responsibility involved in this essential human dignity, and in reciprocation of God's love for us, human activities should always be oriented toward the betterment of mankind. Does this mean always giving people convenience, pleasure, power, ease and even always being nice? No. As any parent can attest, love is not always gentle or easy, but it is always the best thing for everyone - age does not revoke this fundamental truth of human life. Does this mean completely neglecting our pleasures, convenience, basic needs or the condition of the natural environment and its creatures? God forbid. They are all His creatures, stamped with His divine thumbprint, and this innate goodness can only be responded to with reverence, care and prudence in our use of it. But we should always prioritize in truth and love, with God as our highest concern, followed by humanity and afterwards all that which God Himself loves and cares for. By acting as stewards of Creation, we are tasked both with renewing nature to its just vision, without the stain of sin, and orienting it towards the simultaneous affirmation of God and the betterment of mankind. Abortion is the most horrid and tragic wound against this most essential Christian - and indeed human - concept, and the only true remedy is love.

"Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49:14-15)

No comments:

Post a Comment