Day 2: Rape and Conscience Rights—Increasing Access
She was breathing heavily, Dr. John recalls. Dilated and in front of him…
The description of this clinical case pours from the former abortion provider as he stands in front of the stares of the Mercer University students and faculty gathered in Macon, Georgia, for the 2nd day of the MSFLA National Bioethics Symposium & Tour. With 614 miles and over 7 hours of travel through three states to log, Dr. John stood before the students and continued relating this case from his residency.
… “Have you been pregnant before?” Dr. John asks the woman. Yes, 12 times she responds. “Have any ended in abortion or miscarriages?” Yes, all of them. “And I’ve been raped, but I can’t go through [abortion] again. I’ve found that two wrongs don’t make a right,” the woman voiced….
Dr. John looked intently out at the mix of African American and Caucasians in the Mercer audience. He recounted how this woman drove from California to Norfolk, Virginia. And if his training hospital mandated he do abortions, he may not have been able to remain at the hospital with his conscience rights intact, able to offer life-affirming medical services to this woman who was looking for abortion alternatives. If his conscience rights had been denied him, so could this woman’s right to choose pro-life medical access.
After the presentation in the heart of Georgia, I watched as an electrical engineering professor approached Dr. John with questions he had not previously found anyone could answer. Before him, a pro-choice student clutched his English essay book in his hands as he looked up at Dr. John, “Thank you, he uttered, “because no one has ever answered my questions about when life begins. I study neurophysics…[and] you said it in a way I got.”
Now, Dr. John and I are off for Day 3 to Florida State University College of Medicine, and later that afternoon with Spring Hill College in a joint presentation benefitting University of South Alabama College of Medicine students.