translated by J. Chadwick and W. N. Mann, Penguin Books, 1950.



    The oath below is taken by all medical practitioners prior to beginning their careers as “healers." The irony here is that this oath specifically identifies abortion as a violation of medical ethics.




    I swear by Apollo the healer, by Aesculapius, by Hygeia (health) and all the powers of healing, and call to witness all the gods and goddesses that I may keep this Oath, and promise to the best of my ability and judgment:


    I will pay the same respect to my master in the science (arts) as I do to my parents, and share my life with him and pay all my debts to him. I will regard his sons as my brothers and teach them the science, if they desire to learn it, without fee or contract. I will hand on precepts, lectures, and all other learning to my sons, to those of my master, and to those pupils duly apprenticed and sworn, and to none other.


     I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment; I will abstain from harming or wrongdoing any man by it.


     I will not give a fatal draught (drugs) to anyone if I am asked, nor will I suggest any such thing. Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion.


     I will be chaste and religious in my life and in my practice.


     I will not cut, even for the stone, but I will leave such procedures to the practitioners of that craft.


    Whenever I go into a house, I will go to help the sick, and never with the intention of doing harm or injury. I will not abuse my position to indulge in sexual contacts with the bodies of women or of men, whether they be freemen or slaves.


    Whatever I see or hear, professionally or privately, which ought not to be divulged, I will keep secret and tell no one.


    If, therefore, I observe this Oath and do not violate it, may I prosper both in my life and in my profession, earning good repute among all men for all time. If I transgress and forswear this Oath, may my lot be otherwise.


An American Holocaust