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….