(LifeSiteNews) — The fall of Roe v. Wade erupted into a firestorm of medical condemnation of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of 2022. The American Medical Association (AMA) vociferously complained of the Supreme Court’s “intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’ rights to evidence-based reproductive health services” (AMA, June 24, 2022).
Based on these fighting words, one would think that the AMA had always considered abortion to be a “right,” a foundation of “reproductive health care.” Any “reasonable” person would have to conclude that the AMA always held as sacrosanct the “right” of women to “choose” to kill their children via abortion.
In historical point of fact, the American Medical Association previously forcefully and unanimously condemned abortion and abortionists with profoundly strong language. As noted in a previous LifeSiteNews article, it was none other than the AMA itself which was responsible for the individual state anti-abortion laws which largely remained intact until Roe v. Wade imposed the federal “right” to abortion on the country in 1973.
With Roe v. Wade abolished in 2022, the AMA must honestly acknowledge that many of the very state laws now outlawing abortion are the same state laws that the AMA advocated for in the first place. The AMA’s official documents were drafted in 1857 by their “Committee on Criminal Abortion” and sent to state and federal legislators, state medical societies, and then-President James Buchanan.
The language of these AMA appeals was strong, imploring that an “immense number of living children are annually destroyed… [with] serious injury thereby inflicted upon the public morals…”
The AMA documents state explicitly that the “moral guilt of Criminal Abortion depends entirely upon the real and essential nature of the act. It is the intentional destruction of a child within its parent; and physicians are now agreed… that the child is alive from the moment of conception.”
The AMA stated that due to the “evil to this crime” it has “become the duty of the American Medical Association… [to] publicly enter an earnest and solemn protest against such unwarrantable destruction of human life.” It is important to note that “criminal abortion” at the time meant any abortion, other than one carried out to supposedly save the life of the mother (with the improvements in obstetrical care today, this is an arcane argument; deliberately ending the life of a child is never necessary to save the mother’s life).
The AMA’s compelling appeal was heeded, and pro-life laws flourished in the states, yielding what was described by historian James Mohr as “the most important burst of anti-abortion legislation in the nation’s history.”
But the AMA did not stop there.
The fiery 1871 AMA ‘Report on Criminal Abortion’
A decade later, the AMA in 1871 published their follow-up Report on Criminal Abortion (pages 237-258).
It is a true classic in every sense of the word, shocking in its depth, breadth, and prophetic accuracy of teaching. Catholic and other Christian clergy would benefit themselves and the flocks they shepherd by reading and meditating on its contents. It seems more apt to be coming from a series of strong Sunday Mass homilies; it is foreign to our modern-day sensibilities that it could have come from the American Medical Association.
But it did.
One must thank God that the archives of the American Medical Association are so easily accessible online – but, of course, that could change anytime. History can be deleted with the proverbial flip of a switch.
The report pulled no punches and showed no temporal mercy for those whom it felt were merciless perpetrators of crimes against women and children. It called abortion a “horrid crime” and abortionists “educated assassin[s]” “who cling to a noble profession only to dishonor it; men who seek not to save, but to destroy; men known…as abortionists.”
Affirming the authentic and unique dignity of womanhood in bearing new human life, the report continued:
And woman, whose high destiny was to be instrumental in… the human family; who ought to be the appropriate representative of a refined age, a model of purity, the centre of honor and affection – she descends from her high position, associates with these degraded characters, and becomes a participant in the destruction of her own offspring… with the stain of blood upon her soul…such is not the character of her high destiny… Why, too, should the natural instincts of women be so changed in regard to offspring? Why should so low an estimate be placed upon the value of human life?… where the very sources of life are invaded by the rude hands of the… abortionist, the paid assassin, who, being capable of taking the life of her offspring, can have little sympathy or regard for the well-being of the mother.
The AMA in the latter half of the 17th century seemed to be far more astute than the present-day AMA in a fundamental understanding of embryology and the moral implications thereof. As the AMA’s 1871 report accurately stated:
Indeed, no other doctrine appears to be consonant with reason or physiology but that which admits the embryo to possess vitality from the very moment of conception. It is a remarkable fact that the further we advance in civilization… the further do we recede from the main object which should be the end and aim of… all good governments – the well-being of the human family and the preservation of human life.
AMA called abortion ‘a foul, unprovoked murder’
The link between abortion as a ritualistic sacrifice in occultism and outright satanism has become increasingly apparent in our contemporary times. One need only witness with fascinated disbelief the blasphemous contortions in which rabid abortion enthusiasts seem to convulse. The AMA recognized well the demonic dimensions of abortion in its 1871 Report:
[Abortionists] seem impatient for the sacrifice… Mark the monster as he approaches his work!… Does he measure the extent of the foul deed he is about to commit?… to spill the blood of human victims, to take the lives of innocent… unborn infants.
… it is a murder, a foul, unprovoked murder; and its blood… will cry from earth to Heaven for vengeance… this crime in all its hideous deformity… the horrid crime of foeticide… an enemy to the human family, as dark and as malignant as the spirit that sent it.
We have heard… much of barbarous nations where human victims were offered in sacrifice… we seldom… think of the sacrifices offered by our modern high-priests, the abortionists… is there anything done towards breaking up these wholesale shambles where human victims are daily sacrificed, or… arresting the principals or their accessories in their guilt?
… these monsters of iniquity… men, who, with corrupt hearts and blood-stained hands, destroy what they cannot reinstate, corrupt souls, and destroy the fairest fabric that God has ever created, and yet all this is done… under the cloak, of that profession… invading the very sources of life, and fattening on the blood of their victims.
It matters little… what stage of development the embryo may have reached, it is to be the man of other days, and is more entitled to life than he who meditates its destruction.
The AMA lamented the inadequate fulfillment of the duties of physicians, clergy, educators, and government to protect unborn human life. The AMA, like Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, saw the failings of so many sectors of society, so many actors in this drama. The AMA charged that “even law has failed to protect helpless innocence, the pulpit has never taken hold of the subject in the proper manner, and it now becomes the duty of the medical profession, as guardians of the health of the people, to take the matter in hand.”
In other words, if these other professionals couldn’t do their jobs, then the AMA would have to do their jobs for them.
Do we have a similar problem in our time? Is it conceivable that Christian physicians, ministers and priests, teachers and politicians do not have the wherewithal, dedication, or courage to speak the truth in the face of adversity? As the Geneva Declaration of Physician stated in 1948 after the Nuremberg Trials, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my specialist knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”
Who would have a duty to defend human life more than priests, doctors, lawyers, and, most importantly, mothers themselves?
The AMA in its 1871 Report on Abortion continued on with startling and surprisingly accurate predictions that can only be described as apocalyptic. Our culture should tremble at what the American Medical Association prophesied would happen to a society which would be unfortunate enough to culturally embrace abortion (emphasis added):
… thus a race formerly strong and vigorous must soon degenerate… Imagine the effect of such a course on a people, kept up for several successive generations… we see in that fact the seeds of decay… If the root become diseased, that disease must sooner or later extend to the branches.
… the establishment and the spread of [abortion] – the greatest curse which could befall the human family… if this curse cannot be controlled now, it is not likely ever to be reached hereafter. It becomes a national sin, and national sins merit and may receive national punishments.
The AMA continued (emphasis added):
The future of the profession of medicine in this country, and the character of that profession, will depend on the course pursued by… teachers of the present day.
But to turn out on the public young doctors without principle, without a sense of moral responsibility… is to entail a curse on society, which does not die with their natural lives, but may descend to other times and to other generations.
… the evil with which we have to deal… if not checked soon, time alone can tell the extent of the ruin which must result to the human family.
Just like 1968’s Humanae Vitae prophecies on the effects of widespread contraception, the AMA in 1871 made dire warnings about what would happen if abortion were tolerated. AMA lamented that “even law has failed to protect helpless innocence, the pulpit has never taken hold of the subject in the proper manner, and it now becomes the duty of the medical profession, as guardians of the health of the people, to take the matter in hand.” In a manner strikingly like Humanae Vitae a century later, the AMA implored for help from professionals and laity alike:
- The AMA appealed to private and public teachers, begging them in their teachings to “preserv[e] their pupils from the degrading crime of abortion.”
- The AMA pleaded with priestly clerics of all denominations to protect their flock “from the perverted views of morality…and the ruin which has resulted and continues to result daily on the human family.” The AMA urged that the clergy be, “assigned the duty of reclaiming the wicked and protecting the innocent,” to instruct women “in a proper manner, their moral responsibility and the nature and enormity of this crime and… the characters of the men who would engage in it… the wolves that lie in wait for them.” So important, in fact, was the role of the clergy to the AMA that they appealed to “different medical societies, state and local, to send delegates to the clergy in their respective districts to request their aid in so important an undertaking.”
- The AMA appealed to university and medical professors, in their teaching of medical students, to clearly expose “this crime in all its hideous deformity.” Students of medicine should “have some instruction…given to them on [abortion]… Five minutes devoted to the subject in question by each professor every session, denouncing this crime, would make such an impression on the minds of his students.” Hippocrates, as codified in his ancient oath, required no less.
- The AMA appealed to professional medical societies, the standard bearers of a profession “famed for its charity and benevolence, whose mission on earth is to do as much good and as little evil as possible to the human family.” The AMA warned that “the profession of medicine remains inactive…in the face of these evils, tolerat[ing] in its midst these men… with corrupt hearts and blood-stained hands.”
- The AMA appealed to all individual medical professionals, stating it was “the duty of every physician in the United States… to crush out from us this pest of society, and in doing so, he elevates himself and his profession to that eminence and moral standard for which God has designed it.” The individual doctor, “as far as his practice extends, should feel that in his professional department he is the shepherd of his flock, and it becomes his duty to see that these wolves in sheep’s clothing should not make any inroads among them.”
- The AMA appealed to government and law to protect “that which, above all others, should interest us most – a proper appreciation of human life.” It admonished “even law has failed to protect helpless innocence” and reiterated that the “aim of… all good governments [is] the well-being of the human family and the preservation of human life.”
- The AMA appealed to all women and men of good will, married and unmarried: “Why, too, should the natural instincts of women be so changed in regard to offspring?… so low an estimate be placed upon the value of human life?” The AMA pleaded that “It is time that the seal of reprobation were placed on these characters by all honest men.”
California Medical Association as late as 1970: ‘Human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death’
For century since the AMA’s 1871 Report on Criminal Abortion, society largely did indeed reject abortion. What has happened to medicine since the AMA’s condemnation of abortion? How could the AMA’s moral compass have become so distorted? How can the AMA, whose stance was to officially recommend criminalization of abortion, now demonize a Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade and giving the states back the very laws for which the AMA itself lobbied? What paradigm shift has occurred in medicine?
The prophetic AMA comments of 1871 give some clue as to the catastrophic moral result if generations of physicians accepted abortion. “Imagine the effect of such a course on a people, kept up for several successive generations…we see in that fact the seeds of decay… the spread of [abortion] – the greatest curse which could befall the human family.”
The AMA speaks of abortion becoming a “national sin that merits national punishment, and entails a curse on society that travels along generations, with an as yet unknown extent of ruin resulting to the human family.” That should give us all pause.
Many other state and local medical associations condemned abortion following the AMA’s recommendations. As late as 1970, a century after the AMA’s Criminal Abortion Report, the California Medical Association (CMA) editorialized in their official journal that despite the popularization of abortion, it could only be tolerated through “semantic gymnastics.” The CMA correctly said that such semantic gymnastics result in a “curious avoidance of the scientific fact which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death.”
Medicine unhinged: ‘sex changes,’ ‘birthing persons,’ human-animal hybrid experiments
The ruin wrought upon society from medicine unhinged from its grounding roots in authentic Hippocratic ethics is astounding.
One need only look at the many examples of medicine’s moral decline, with rampant permutations against the dignity of the human person at the extremes of life, from conception to natural death. Gleaming and well-financed university laboratories barely bat an eye at the moral catastrophe of human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning for stem cells, and human-animal hybrid experiments.
And perhaps worst of all is the unimaginable support by major scientific journals – most egregiously the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – for the selling of aborted human baby parts. What would have been said about support for such atrocities at the Nuremberg Trials, which deemed abortion as a “crime against humanity” and an “activity marking a criminal organization”? And, yet, we have premier, prestigious medical journals advocating for the very atrocities that the Nuremberg Trials rendered judgment upon.
After half a century of Roe v. Wade, our cultural mindset permits many to accept the lie that the unborn child is not a human person. And if we reject such a simple biological fact, then we will be willing to reject other biological facts. And the voices of reason can then better understand the AMA when it speaks of “the greatest curse which could befall the human family.”
In the mindset of such a great curse, we are willing to accept just about any lie, no matter how absurd its violation of the laws of nature. We can then accept the biological lie of transgenderism. The darkening of the intellect does not stop there, but creeps ever further, into consideration of trans-species and trans-human frontiers.
Incidentally, the NEJM (and so many other medical and scientific journals) appears to have become unhinged from its bearings in many other socio-politically charged subjects. The term “birthing persons” is substituted for “women” in supplication to the fantasy world of “men” who can bear children. “Sex change” treatments and surgeries are advocated without legitimately unbiased, thorough discussion of the biological, medical, and psychological consequences. Medical leadership that has lost its moral compass watches impotently on the sidelines – or worse even promotes such crimes against humanity. As the head prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, A.C. Ivy, MD, wrote in the American Medical Association’s own journal, “One cannot conceive of a sound society with medicine that does not have a sound moral philosophy.”
While a large portion of medicine, especially in its official leadership, is lost and bathed in the blood of its own iniquity, or at least held in silence with tacit acceptance of this barbarism, there remains a segment of medicine that rejects this new paradigm. These physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers who uphold the fundamental tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, though in the minority, nonetheless offer some hope for the future of medicine. The AMA’s recent continued rejection of physician-assisted suicide is certainly one such glimmer of hope.
It was, after all, the courageous voices of the American Medical Association that once held the profession of medicine to a higher standard, serving our nation with true moral leadership. And the inspiration for the American Medical Association, in addition to its Christian roots, was Hippocrates’ school of medicine that stood up to the vast majority of Greek medicine against abortion and euthanasia. It was Hippocrates’ small minority of physicians, whose tenets were embraced by Christianity, who endured and ultimately changed the world.
- Dyer FN. American Medical Association documents that led to laws overturned by Roe v. Wade. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2021;26:83-86.
- Mohr JC. Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900. New Yourk, NY: Oxford University Press; 1978: 147-170.
- Dyer FN. The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion. Sagamore Beach, Mass.: Science History Publications/USA; 2005:56-76,63-64.
- Ivy AC. Nazi war crimes of a medical nature. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1949;139:131-35.
- Tuomala JC. Nuremberg and the crime of abortion, Liberty University faculty Publications and Presentations. University of Toledo Law Review,2011; 42:283-394.
- Topulos GP, Greene MF, Drazen JM. Planned Parenthood at Risk. NEJM, 2015;373:963.
- Report on criminal abortion. Transactions of the American Medical Association 1859;12:75-
- Available at: https://horatiostorer.net/ama-vs-abortion/.
- Report of the Committee on Criminal Abortion, Transactions of the American MedicalAssociation 1871;22:237-258
- Dyer FN. The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion. Sagamore Beach, Mass.: Science History Publications/USA; 2005
- The Geneva Conventions of 1949. In Human Rights Documents: Compilation of Documents Pertaining to Human Rights. Pp 325-461, Washington DC U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983
- California Medical Association. A new ethic for medicine and society. Western Journal of Medicine,1971;114: 46–48