I READ Dr Peter Doherty's and Victoria Gillick's articles (March 27 and April 3) concerning modern medical trends in the direction of contraception and abortion, with interest and agreement.
The concept of manipulation of healthy physiological functions is foreign, not only to Christian medical practice, but to the secular tradition of using medicine to treat the sick and to restore to health, where this is possible.
Two quotations from Aristotle emphasise what would have been obvious to previous generations of doctors: "The
end of medical science is health; of military science, victory; of economic science, wealth." (Ethics); "Why do doctors continue their treatment only until health is restored? Is it because it is impossible for any other condition to be produced from health? The doctor . . . achieves a state which is such as to constitute a condition of health; and from this, no condition can be produced except one which is intermediate between health and sickness. Neither the doctor's art nor any other art will create anything out of health; for either nothing would be produced, or else the
opposite of health . . . " (Problemata).
This fundamental concept, which is not exclusively Christian, is further confirmed by this quotation from St Matthew's gospel "It is the sick, not those who are in health, who have need of the physician."
Contraception, sterilisation and abortion are a complete negation of the reasons for the existence of medical practice, which is the care and treatment of the sick.
H Scotson Timperley, Cheshire