Presented at a Press Conference sponsored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Peter Lisagor Room, National Press Club
January 3, 1989
These brief remarks are included to round out the picture of the Surgeon General's activity in reference to violence but
especially spousal abuse. I appeared at this conference with Dr. Klein who was the person in charge of the sessions on spouse
abuse at the Surgeon General's Workshop on Violence and Public Health three years previously. I referred to two of the
many recommendations that came from that workshop: one recommendation urged the Surgeon General to do whatever he could to
inform the American people of the epidemic of violence that infects over a million homes every year. And second, a more specific
recommendation urged the medical profession -- and obstetricians and gynecologists in particular, to do whatever they could
to stop the violence against women, pregnant women, and infants. This press conference was keeping faith with that promise.
I gave a few statistics and then reminded the audience that the subject at hand was an overwhelming moral, economic, and public
health burden that our society can no longer bear. Help is available from law enforcement and the courts, from community and
social service organizations, and from medicine, as the press would learn after I finished my remarks, from the obstetricians
and gynecologists themselves. In introducing Dr. Klein I reminded the press that we are a civilized society and let's
act like one, and let's stop the violence in our families, and let's end the battering of the women of this country.