Catholic New York July 4, 1996 - Doctor's Opinion


  Catholic New York - New York, NY

To the Editor:

In past years I was privileged to have assisted in the care of countless numbers of pregnant women in the Newburgh area and in the delivery of their babies. My father did as many during the years before me,

Neither of us ever encountered a "medical indication" for abortion. In fact, even before 1973 (Roe vs. Wade), it was medically legal to abort a mother as a life-saving procedure.

Records indicate that the total number of abortions done at the local St. Luke and Cornwall hospitals (both nonsectarian) prior to 1973 was one.

The unborn baby, then, was considered human, and legal "due process" was mandatory before it could be destroyed. Indeed, it's debatable if a medical case can be made for its use.

"Unwanted babies" is another reason used to justify the killing of babies (unwanted by whom?).

During my obstetrical practice, invariably, an expectant mother would express misgivings about her condition. These would be transitory thoughts, soon forgotten. Even the occasional seriously distraught soul would lose her feeling of rejection once she held her newborn child in her arms.

How demeaning to women it is to be told such emotions should guide her in making the decision to kill her baby-an act that defies that very maternal instinct possessed by all women.

It's no small wonder so many aborted women develop guilt and remorse upon the realization of what was done to them and their child.

For over 2,000 years the medical profession abhorred and rejected abortion. Forty-six years ago I took the Hippocratic oath, as all medical graduates did, pledging not to perform or to advise having an abortion. The American Medical Association annually endorsed its prohibition.

Overnight, the medical community capitulated, and endorsed Roe vs. Wade as did most traditional establishments in the country.

This approval was not based on any new scientific discovery or observation that could account for such a dramatic reversal. Cowardly physicians flowed with the tide created by a Supreme Court vote and abetted by a well-organized media blitz. My profession knew better and yet did nothing to stop it.

I'm convinced only a groundswell of public resentment can force our president, our Legislature and our courts to have our laws once again reflect true values. Polls indicate 70 to 80 percent of Americans are appalled at the specter of partial-birth abortions. Express your revulsion to the legislators and even your physicians. It may inspire them to re-establish law and a medical ethic that protects and assists life rather than perpetuating one that aids and abets its destruction.

Arthur G. O'Leary, M.D.

New Windsor