Excerpt from “The Hippocratic Oath” (modern version), cited from Wikipedia:
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I have the unique privilege to work in a specialty of medicine that deals with some of the most intimate personal and health issues that exist. On a daily basis I counsel women regarding libido, sexually transmitted infections, partner violence, desires for pregnancy and desires to not be pregnant to give a few examples. In a few minutes’ time I must gain the trust of a total stranger in order to provide them with optimal health care as a regular part of my job; add to this the challenge of addressing these sensitive issues and reward when able to make a difference in someone’s life and you can see why I love my profession.
Interlaced with these sensitive matters are some of the most controversial and charged political topics that have come to be major foci of lawmakers across the country. Women’s reproductive organs have once again become one of the hottest commodities over which to gain political control. Over 250 bills are being pushed through legislature right now that are anti-choice, anti-women, and anti-physician and it seems that most citizens are blissfully unaware.
I do not pretend to understand why there is such force behind trying to control women’s reproductive organs and, in turn, their bodies and their lives but I have sworn to advocate for them. Physicians take an oath to do what’s right, to care for their patients and advocate for them when they are unable to do so for themselves. This also includes taking political action whenever possible as becoming politically involved is the epitome of advocating for the basic human rights of the general public.
Physicians owe it to their patients, especially OB/Gyn’s where women’s health is concerned, to make their voices heard in politics. It is a crucial part of the responsibility we embrace as healthcare providers and patient advocates. We must not stand aside and watch in silence as human rights are compromised.