Leve de foetus Liberale en katholieke artsen over de keizersnede in Belgiƫ (1840-1914)



This article discusses how Belgian doctors dealt with religious beliefs in their medical
practice in the nineteenth century, using the medical discussion of the cesarean section as
a case study. In this period doctors faced a dilemma as cesareans were highly mortal for
women and other altemative operations had fatal consequences for the fetus. Whereas
most Catholic physicians preferred the cesarean section, liberal practitioners often saw no
harm in sacrificing the unborn fetus in order to save the mother. By analyzing the arguments
and codes of conduct of Belgian doctors I will show how they demarcated boundaries
between religious beliefs and their medical practice.