Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Letters to the Editor in Abortion Ruling

Women's health
This decision is a stunning assault on 30 years of protection for women's health. It has opened the door for further restrictions on the right to a safe abortion. As a doctor and professor in a major medical center in Chicago, I rely on evidence-based medicine to make decisions about my patients' care. The Supreme Court should have applied the same standard to this case. Instead it ignored the scientific evidence and issued a ruling that will severely harm women's health. Politicians are now standing inside my office telling me how to practice medicine. My first priority is my patient's health. As a doctor, I now face the threat of federal prosecution for providing treatment that I believe is safest and best for women. As a physician, I am appalled that our nation's laws no longer consider women's health paramount.

Dr. Melissa Simon
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

Abortion ruling
This is in response to "Abortion law is upheld; In 5-4 ruling, justices OK ban on controversial procedure" (Page 1, April 19).

As a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court's ruling, in which justices approved a ban on partial-birth abortion without taking into consideration the health of the mother.

As a physician who took the Hippocratic oath, I am sworn to do no harm. In difficult situations in which I've had to choose between the health of the baby vs. the mother's, the most important factor to consider is the health of the woman. I have only practiced partial-birth abortions on dead fetuses, when the risk of a severely ill mother (diabetic or hypertensive) would endanger her life if subjected to Cesarean section.

The worst mistake this country can do is to legislate the practice of medicine. Medicine should be regulated by our respective medical associations. Groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists argue that depriving physicians of this option would create real danger.

Difficult ethical choices should be left to be decided between the physician and his patients. This is precisely an area where less government is the best choice.

Carlos T. Mock, MD


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