I have seen the part of the Hippocratic Oath which relates to abortion, but what else does it say? F.C., Newmarket, ON.

The oath is quite long. It opens by swearing by Apollo and Aesculapius, and first deals with who is to be taught the Art of Healing. It continues: “…I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons…and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen, which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel, and in like manner I will not give a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by those who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and I will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption, and further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the Art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, ay the reverse be my lot.”

As you see, the Oath (a) restricts entrance to training for the profession of the “Art of Healing” to those who will keep the Oath; (b) forbids euthanasia and assisted suicide; (c) forbids abortion; (d) lays down two codes; (i) code of professional ethics; (ii) code of personal conduct.