North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 28, 2013

An NJN Editorial: Have a doctor around while doing abortions? What a concept


North Jefferson News

AN NJN EDITORIAL — State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Pelham, has introduced a bill in the current legislative session that would require abortion clinics to have a doctor on hand when abortions are being performed.

Right about now, many of you are probably saying, “What? You mean to tell us they’ve been doing these abortions without doctors all these years?”

It’s true, or it least it has not been a legal requirement. There may be some clinics that had a doctor in-house while abortions have been performed, but they did so on their own, not because the government told them to.

It doesn’t make sense to us, either, since abortions are surgical procedures. After all, the state mandates they be present in all other surgical facilities.

Doctors might argue that there is a reason they do not want to be around abortions, one which goes back to their own Hippocratic Oath. The central premise of that oath, taken by most doctors upon entering the profession, is summed up in the Latin phrase “Primum non nocere” — translated, “first, do no harm.” The Declaration of Geneva, used as an alternative by many medical schools today, is even more direct: “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life...”

It’s hard to balance those statements with a procedure that takes a human life.

Be that as it may, we agree that the bill by McClurkin makes sense. Any surgical or otherwise invasive procedure carries with it the risk of complications, which would frequently require the immediate attention of a doctor. Just because we’re taking the life of an unborn child doesn’t mean we should also risk the life of the mother as well.

Clinic operators complain that the bill is a thinly-veiled attempt to outlaw abortion, and that it would force them to shut down.

It wouldn’t, though we would not mind if it did. It would simply cut into their profits, or force them to raise fees.

McClurkin’s bill applies common sense to a procedure which otherwise has none.

This bill deserves to pass.