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Letter to the Editor: Gag Rule

September 12, 1991
The Catholic Standard

Once again the media has coined a phrase in trying to justify abortion which does not tell the whole story. “Pro-choice” has been canonized without the object of the choice which is to choose to kill human life. Now it is the “gag rule” referring to the right of a doctor to advocate and counsel abortion and refer a patient to a clinic for that purpose.

But there is such a thing as self-gagging. Does a doctor explain “the procedure” for abortion much like a surgeon perhaps to a bypass patient? Would the doctor allow the patient to hear the child’s heartbeat and explain that we are going to stop that, you realize?

Would a doctor in explaining that no pain would be felt by the woman also explain the pain that the unborn child will experience? Would the doctor explain that the unborn is human, a fact which no scientist can disprove? Would the doctor explain that many women down through the years have severe psychological problems, if not guilt (cf. Rebecca Society)?

Would the doctor refer the woman to a clinic in which he has no self-interest, or instead to one where he has invested money earned by his terminating of human life? Would he refer her to a competitor’s clinic to ensure no conflict of interest? Would he suggest that in such a drastic procedure the baby always dies and sometimes the woman, despite modern technology?

What doctor would struggle to save a woman’s life when he has no regard for the baby’s life? Would the doctor suggest a second opinion and thus split his fee?

Where is the law that says the doctor has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? When is the media going to insist that the doctor not gag himself but instead educate his patient about what is actually and exactly going on in an abortion?

There is “gagging” and there is “gagging.” Let’s tell the whole truth in counseling patients.

Msgr. William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann Parish
Washington

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