Ours is the first generation of obstetricians whose knowledge, skills and experience have been requisitioned to effect the elimination of abnormal babies. Government brochures suggest “checking your baby’s health before birth” to the public, while the public are really being asked to check if their baby’s state of health should continue at all. Public discussion has not really been held regarding the issues of wide scale prenatal screening and invasive diagnosis for human quality control. Responsibility for overseeing and implementing this programme has been made our duty and formalized in recent RANZCOG protocols.
If we consider that all persons have value, that each person possesses the same human dignity, and that it is our responsibility to care for the mother, placing as well a child as possible in her loving arms at the conclusion of the pregnancy, we are respecting the concepts of the Hippocratic Oath.
Now is the appropriate time for those who respect these concepts to speak and to develop a collegiate response to programmes and procedures we do not choose to perform on the weak and voiceless. As doctors we have the support and protection of the Hippocratic Oath, and can offer each other the resolution and advocacy of like-minded colleagues.