Physicians historically take an oath of ethics, known as the Hippocratic oath. It requires new doctors to swear to uphold specific ethical standards. Those include the principles of medical confidentiality and nonmaleficence, which means "do no harm."
The original oath, which was rooted in ancient Greece, stated explicitly the prohibition of abortion and euthanasia. Many modern oaths have eliminated the "do no harm" clause to excuse physicians who perform abortions.
The Oklahoma Legislature passed two pro-life bills along partisan lines and sent them to the governor for his signature. HB 2441, authored by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, would prevent abortions being done on an unborn baby with a detectable heartbeat. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 5-1/2 weeks after conception. Violators who performed an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could be charged with homicide.
HB 1102, authored by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, would classify the performance of an abortion as "unprofessional conduct" by a physician and could result in the loss of his or her medical license for at least a year.
Gov. Stitt has until Friday to sign or veto the two bills. If he does nothing, the two bills will automatically become law. The governor has stated in the past he would sign any pro-life legislation that comes across his desk. Two observations:
First, abortion is the scourge of America. Since 1973, when the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade became law, over 62 million babies have been aborted. That is over 10 times more than those killed in the Holocaust. More babies are killed in the womb in America (1.5 million) each year than the number of lives lost in all the wars in our nation’s history. John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, said: "Some nations have given parents the power of life and death over their children. But here in America, we have denied the power of life and death to parents." With President Trump’s recent appointments of literalists to the U.S. Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade may be overturned in the future, but until that happens, 3,000 babies are murdered every day in America.
Second, life begins at conception. Until the mid-20th century, that was a widely accepted truth, but The American College of Pediatricians concur with the body of scientific evidence and believe life begins when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion and a single hybrid cell called a zygote is created. Dr. Alfred Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “I submit that human life is present from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life.” For Christians, abortion is not a matter of a woman’s right to choose. It is a matter of the life or death of a human being made in the image of God.
King David wrote in Psalm 139 that God the Creator knitted him together in his mother’s womb. In Exodus 21, the penalty for causing the death of a baby in the womb was the same as that of someone who committed murder.
Medicine is a wonderful field and doctors have the responsibility to protect life. Physicians should not play God. God is responsible for all life and they should not choose to end an innocent life. These two bills will force abortion providers to think about the consequences of killing a baby in the womb. Do no harm, medicus.
Steve Fair is the District 4 Oklahoma Republican Party chair.