Page 6, 29th July 1938

29th July 1938
Page 6
Page 6, 29th July 1938 — THE BOURNE CASE
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THE BOURNE CASE

Two Innocents

SIR,—An innocent girl is raped and rendered pregnant and the whole country is filled with horror and with deepest sympathy. Then up arises a medical champion who says boldly: Law or no law I will save this innocent girl from the risk of becoming a ' mental and nervous wreck ' " (her life being in no immediate danger). So, amid the plaudits of the vast majority of his medical colleagues, this distinguished surgeon destroys the unborn child.

But oh! the fallibility of medical prognosis! The hand that is writing these words is that of a man 78 years of age who was at his birth such a " physical wreck " that his doctor said " Let the little beggar die! He will never be any use to himself or anybody else." Yet this "physical wreck " has educated a family at convent and college and don le 50 years of active medical practice!

But there was another " innocent " in this case into whose mouth I venture to put these words: " I am an innocent human being. What law of God or man have I broken so as to deserve the death penalty? I claim my right to be some day a Shakespeare, a Raphael, a Mozart or at least a useful citizen. By what authority am I denied that right and am condemned to the fate of a convicted murderer?"

To which the medical profession can only make the deplorable reply : "We sympathise with you and we recognise the strict justice of your claim, but we have long ago discarded Fiat justitia ruat coelum ' with other obsolete unworkable Commandments of long past ages. Expediency is now our standard of conduct." " 'Tis true. Pity 'tis, 'tis true." Expediency with ignominy!

J. M. BRENNAN, M.R.C.S. 148, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, 20.




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