Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Friday, October 24, 2003
For class I had to read an essay on the Hippocratic Oath by George W. Bush's go-to guy on bioethics, the staunchly anti-stem-cell-research and (formerly?) anti-in-vitro-fertilization Leon M. Kass, M.D. There's a provision in the original Hippocratic Oath where doctors swear that they will never induce abortion, and Professor* Kass was discussing this portion, noting that abortion could be considered incompatable with the medical mission to preserve life. Then out of nowhere he delves into this bizarre little parenthetical that I'm going to recount in full:

"I shall refrain from considering whether proper medical ministering to female humanity is finally compatible with assisting women in abortion, for reasons having to do not with fetal life but with the meaning of womanhood. The question, admittedly complex, is whether in opting for abortion a woman is doing harm or injustice to herself as a woman [i.e., by contradicting her generative nature] however much it may serve her wishes as a [gender-free] human being."

Okay then. I don't think this was his intent, but upon reading this I felt reduced to my child-bearing parts. Somehow this seems to contradict his indignation at modern medicine's view of human beings as mere bodies. Just a thought.

*Yep, he's yet another UofC "public intellectual". I wonder if Amanda at CS can persuade her boss to license the term for a companion T-shirt to the now-needs-to-be-changed Nobel Laureates shirt. Just wondering.

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