The Hippocratic Oath as originally translated calls on physicians to protect life and instructs them never to perform an abortion.
As a doctor, that oath and its meaning are on my mind this week as I support the effort in the House to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R 962).
The theme of the original Hippocratic Oath, to me, is that doctors can influence whether their patients live or die and that such a responsibility must never be misused. Every life is a precious gift from God and it is my job to do everything in my power to protect patients.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act puts these concepts into law by prohibiting medical professionals from aiding infanticide.
As a doctor, as a human being, I believe that infanticide is abhorrent.
The legislation requires that health care practitioners who are present at a live birth of an infant who survives an abortion provide that infant with the same degree of care that would be offered to any other child.
It mandates that hospital employees report violations to law enforcement authorities, and penalizes the intentional killing of a born-alive child through ﬁnes or up to five years of imprisonment.
Many readers may be wondering why we would need such a law. Is infanticide not already banned?
The unfortunate reality is that it is not. In fact, many states lack protections for born-alive infants and having a federal law that guarantees them is more important than ever given the pushes to legalize late term abortion in states like New York and Virginia.
Another reason why the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is needed is to make clear to all Americans that their leaders believe the murder of an innocent, living human being is unacceptable and sickening.
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Although I strongly believe that life begins at conception and am a cosponsor of many pro-life bills, this legislation should not even be opposed by those who are pro-choice. This bill deals only with children who are already born and have the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness under the United States Constitution.
A few months ago I believed anti-infanticide was a position all lawmakers shared. However, when I saw another physician, Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, openly defending the practice on a local radio station it became clear to me that passing this bill is of the utmost importance.
For someone like Gov. Northam to say it is OK for doctors to “keep infants comfortable” while they allow them to die on their watch is unconscionable. It is a violation of the principles those in the medical community should abide by — a violation of the original Hippocratic Oath.
State officials like Gov. Northam are they types of authority figures the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is designed to guard against.
Since Gov. Northam’s remarks, House Republicans have formally asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi 26 separate times to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor for a vote. The Speaker has refused all 26 requests.
This week, however, we brought to the floor a petition that, with enough Democratic signatures, will force the Speaker to hold a vote on this legislation.
The choice is clear for Democrats — they can either sign our petition or they can lend their blessing to the heinous practice of infanticide.
I am proud to uphold the medical philosophy that Hippocrates advocated for so many years ago, and sign the petition in support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
One of the reasons you sent me to Congress was to be the voice for the voiceless and it is my hope that all of my colleagues have the heart and compassion to join me in this effort.