October 7, 1968

Hippocrates of Ostia

Author Affiliations

Lubbock, Tex

JAMA. 1968;206(2):377. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150020093031

To the Editor:—  The article by Richards on Hippocrates (204:1049, 1968) contains an error, it would appear to me, as immense as the ancient Persian Empire was immense.Dr. Richards states:On the other side, "Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary for abortion," is a statement not only out of line with Hippocratic as well as all other surgical practice, but is not part of any ancient moral code, except the Pythagorean. One recalls, for example, how both feticide and infanticide were practices recommended in Plato's ideal republic.Abortions were condemned by the laws of the ancient Persian Empire, and violators were dealt with as willful murderers.1,2 Similarly, as shown in the Didache, abortions were opposed by the very earliest Christian communities.3 "I will not abort a woman," is a statement indeed in line with ancient moral codes besides the Pythagorean, and it