With the status of legalized abortion constantly in the news, pro-choice and pro-life advocates have been in constant tension. In some respects though, the former term – pro-choice – is a misnomer when describing the position of many Democrats. Sure, they may champion the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion, but they do not respect the right of a doctor not to perform them.

Ten years ago this month, the Coats-Snowe Amendment duly made its way through Congress, which prevented the discrimination against those who did not provide or undergo training in the performance of induced abortions – this amendment effectively distanced politicians from the medical arena and prevented the unnecessary manipulation of doctors. Nonetheless, three dozen senators, namely Kerry, Kennedy and Boxer, voted against it.

Since they are but a cadre of former lawyers and career politicians, Senate Democrats are nothing short of childishly naive toward matters of medicine – their intrusion into the medical field should be placed in the same ignominious category as the puritanical Protestant peons pushing “intelligent design” to replace established science.

This grisly gang of Senate Democrats, so eager to score political points with their lobbyist overseers, is just as guilty as President George W. Bush and the Republican leadership of excessive intrusion into scientific and medical matters for political ends. Ultimately, the right for doctors to refuse to perform or be trained to perform abortions has no bearing on the right for women to choose – there is no justification for Democrats’ insistence that their rigid orthodoxy be imposed on the medical profession.

Though professionalism is synonymous with leaving personal sentiments away from one’s occupation, human emotion can not be totally divorced from medicine. As part of their training, doctors are expected to take ethics courses and be aware of the moral implications of the decisions they will make. In some cases, this training may compel some physicians to reject abortion. Conversely, when a doctor is forced to disavow this training and defer to the politically-motivated groupthink of inexperienced politicians, a well-trained, intelligent professional turns into an empty vessel, an emotionless instrument incapable of independent thought.

If Republicans interpose themselves between a woman and her doctor by opposing legalized abortion, then Democrats seek to pervert the medical profession into a tool of the state by dictating how they will be licensed.

In the end, it should be the Hippocratic Oath and a physician’s extensive education – not the talking points of NARAL Pro-Choice America – that dictate his or her career.

Scott can be reached at tscott@campustimes.org.

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