Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Physical means to therapeutic ends?...

A general rule of thumb in medicine is to ensure a correct diagnosis before proceeding to treatment.

I have also heard wise medics say: the presenting problem is often not the real problem.'  that is why many are concerned at (for example) the self-prescription of Ibuprofen and other drugs: without a proper diagnosis, patients may be covering up symptoms of something that needs different, and possibly more serious, treatment.

Let us turn then to the issue of abortion.  95 - 98% of abortions (let us not quarrel about the precise number, it is big enough in either case) are performed for therapeutic reasons - that is reasons related to the mental wellbeing of the mother or of other existing children.

Yet the treatment is a physical one: destruction of the unborn baby (or foetus/embryo/, if you will).

That is poor medicine - as is evidenced by the fact that the same procedure frequently has to be carried out again and again on the same women.  The underlying problems are not being addressed.

The real problems are things like:

Some women getting pregnant when they do not want to, or are in no position to, raise a child

A society which teaches that it is better to have an unwanted child aborted than adopted;

Some women viewing pregnancy as a disease or a disaster or something to be feared, rather than a blessing (as many do, of course);

Some men demanding that women be sexually available to them 'without consequences;'

Some men putting huge pressure on women to have an abortion the woman does not in fact want;

Lack of social and societal support for women facing unwanted pregnancies;

and on and on.... (speak to anyone who works in pregnancy counselling for a long list).

Abortion, of course, solves none of these: how could it?

Doctors do themselves and women, not to mention their unborn children, a huge injustice when they collude with the pretence that abortion is the solution.  They should undertake a proper diagnosis, and then help women form a positive plan, with the necessary support, to start to address the problems surrounding their pregnancy.

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