Honduran Physicians Defend the Human Person, from Conception to Death.
Following the historic vote that preserved Honduras’ pro-life legislation, an astonishingly strong case against abortion decriminalization came from the Honduran College of Physicians.
“There is no reason capable to justify the intentional elimination of a human being who still has not manifested all the potential benefit he/she may bring to himself, to his/her family, and to society – present and future – as a whole.” These words concluded the explicitly lay position (“… la posición de dicha Comisión es una posicion laica”) the physicians’ organization published on May 9th, condemning all forms of abortions.
Honduran doctors condemned any use of medicine not directed at “promoting, caring for, and protecting life,” “from the moment of conception until death.” This is a marked departure from the position taken by the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Committee Against Torture, a number of experts at the UN level and by abortion advocates.
Articulated in ten short paragraphs, the physicians’ statement invokes ethical principles, and deontological values that seemed to have vanished from the modern healthcare realm.
The declaration, moreover, leaves no room for arguments that abortion is a necessary healthcare service. It does not claim that abortion is needed to save the life of the mother in cases where her life may be preserved while preserving the pregnancy. “The present knowledge on genetic impairments and on prenatal development is so vast,” the physicians say, “that solutions can be established before the moment of conception.”
It is refreshing to read a physicians’ declaration that echoes the old Hippocratic Oath (which included a promise to God, and a promise never to perform abortions); and that evokes the philosophical thought that lay at its basis.
“Health,” say the doctors of Honduras, is not a relative concept. It is the cure and the protection of the human person from its beginning. A beginning which happens when the 23 single chromosomes from the egg combine with the 23 from the sperm.
I invite you all to read the original declaration, in Spanish. For those who cannot read Spanish, I will point out two more things.
This statement speaks of the almost forgotten societal, and not exclusively individual value of human life. According to the doctors, human life, and all its expressions “implicit in its material and immaterial nature” must be “recognized and valued as universal goods.” Our lives affect not only us, but also those who surround us, now … and in the future, the doctors say.
Finally, they warn against the modern misuse of science, and presumptive achievements in “healthcare services.” Today’s professionals have acquired abilities that may present themselves as possible improvements for individuals and for the human species, but–the declaration says–these may turn out to have the opposite effect. “Not all that is possible is beneficial for either the individual, his environment, or society,” it says.
Thank you, doctors.