Swearing by Apollo

The scholars over at Yahoo! News -- who have long labored to make USA Today look like Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy -- have now turned to settling the confusion suffered by the rest of us on the issue of abortion. The mentality involved here is that of Elizabeth Heffernan, national correspondent, whose qualifications include stints at Harper's, The New Yorker, and Slate. Heffernan doesn't mess around. She makes a point of going back 2,500 years to the Hippocratic Oath. Once you have the proper historical perspective, these problems are as easy as weighting poll samples. As is well known, the Hippocratic Oath -- a good translation of which can be found here -- forbids abortion. Heffernan does not deny this fact. She merely attempts to go deeper into the "proper context:" In the ancient oath, the Apollo-worshiping internist vows above all to protect "health and life." He then specifically says that, toward this end, he won't perform euthanasia; he won't perform...(Read Full Post)