Abortion Referrals as Compassionate Care?

By: Jon Russell, National Coordinator for Medical Students for Life

I was recently contacted by an OBGYN wanting to get involved with Medical Students for Life as a mentor or speaker. The doctor was very delightful and you could tell by her voice she had a passion for life, but there was something not settling right with me.

You see, in the initial discussion we had over email, she shared her passion for the pro-life cause and wanted to share her pro-life views with others. She further explained that on occasion she referred some of her patients to a “safe” abortion clinic!?!…….Yes that alarm bell going off in your head was exactly what I heard.

During our phone conversation, I asked about her claim of being pro-life and yet referring her patients for abortion. She asked what else she was supposed to do for her patients asking for abortion services. I gently challenged her by saying, she was not practicing as a pro-life physician nor was it consistent with her Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Though she thought she was being compassionate, she was the primary care provider to both the mother and the growing fetus inside her. If she sends her patients to the abortion clinic, one or maybe both are not coming back to her clinic for a follow-up visit because one or both of them would be dead from the abortion. Referring patients for abortion is lethal and uncompassionate to both patients.

I also compared abortion referrals to the blacksmith who was asked to fix slave chains for a slave owner in the early 1800’s. The blacksmith was against slavery and had to say no to the slave owner and refused to refer the slave owner to another blacksmith.

Refusing to refer for abortion is the compassionate thing to do for your patient. The physician’s role is to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort. Not to assist in taking a life.

I believe this doctor was divinely inspired to contact Medical Students for Life and to be challenged on her practice. I believe fully that our conversation was a new starting point for her. Please pray for doctors across the country to live out their convictions fully without compromise.