I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrongdoing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause abortion… ~Hippocratic Oath
Oh how times have changed. Though ascribed to for over two millennia, Hippocrates' oath (from the late 4th century B.C.) is no longer used by the vast majority of medical schools. Versions of it or those similar to it (the Osteopathic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva, the Oath of Maimonides, etc) have now taken its place. And, no surprise, these more modern versions have deleted the words highlighted above.
A pessary is, according to Webster's dictionary, "a vaginal suppository." What the Hippocratic Oath intended to prohibit was a doctor's use of any sort of abortifacient. The irony of our current age is that the very ones who long ago were kept from causing harm to the unborn are now the same ones bringing the harm. The very ones who labored "never with a view to injury" are the ones by whose hands the greatest of injuries now take place.
There are, of course, many good and godly doctors who refuse to be involved in the taking of life. According to a recent study only 14% of OB-GYN practitioners are willing to perform abortions. Nevertheless, the number of abortions performed in the U.S. is still over 600,000/year. The good news is that the abortion rate has been in a steady decline since 1990 (when 1,429,247 abortions were reported to the Center for Disease Control). All told, somewhere between 50 and 60 million "legal" abortions have taken place in the United State since 1973 and the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. Globally some 40-50 million abortions take place each year, making abortion the leading cause of death among individuals worldwide.
In the U.S., in spite of all the rhetoric, it is highly unlikely that the Roe v. Wade decision will ever be overturned. Abortion is likely to remain legal in all 50 states regardless of what political party controls the government or is able to put its people on the courts. At best, control over abortion and abortion facilities, will increasingly be turned back to the individual states. The net result of this will be that abortion will remain quite accessible in some states and quite inaccessible in others. At worst, the courts will increasingly disallow actions taken by various state legislatures to prohibit, reduce or inhibit free access to abortion on demand.
The answer to this ongoing struggle and dilemma is the convincing of the American public that abortion kills an unborn child, hurts the mother (both psychologically and physically) and is injurious to the health of the nation as well as to its economy. Court rulings, while having some effect, will not in and of themselves change public opinion. But if public opinion can be changed there will ultimately be no need to appeal to the court. Just imagine abortion clinics closing not because of some legal mandate but because of a lack of business. That should be goal. Dream on my friends, dream on and continue to work and pray for a better day.