1922 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  
able or not. In many cases, however, a medical examination of the applicants for a license to wed will reveal the fact that, either in the interest of posterity or of one or the other of the contracting parties, such marriage is inadmissible. In other cases, it will be found that the medical examiner will be in a position to give advice which, if followed, will ward off danger to either spouse and will protect posterity against possible harm. Mere enlightenment of the people in regard to the
more » ... ortance of a certificate of health as a requisite to marriage and with reference to the value of medical advice given to the parties to a marriage contract is, in itself, help¬ ful, but it does not solve the problem in toto, for the reason lliat marriage is generally looked on solely as a private affair, on which account it cannot be expected that medical advice will be followed, to any great extent. It seems, therefore, essential to require by law that both parties to a marriage contract shall submit to a medical examination, and that, when application for a marriage license is made, such parties shall present a certificate of health, executed by a physician within the four weeks past, together with affidavits to the effect that each party has read and knows the contents of the health certificate of the other party to the contract. It seems further desirable that certain physicians be appointed "counselors on marriage." On the basis of medical certificates presented to them and of the results of their own examination, in case they should find such an examination desirable, they would issue official health certificates to the contracting parties. Definite instructions in regard to the manner of conducting examinations and with reference to the framing of a medical opinion should be furnished such counselors. The certificate of the counselor should contain simply the statement that no medical objections can be raised to the contraction of marriage by the applicants, or, on the con¬ trary, that such contraction of marriage is, for the time being, inadvisable, for reasons of health. No details in regard to the condition of health of the applicants should be given. The right to appeal from the decision of the counselor to a higher authority should be: granted. As to what use shall be made of the medical certificates and as to whether they will consummate the marriage in spite of the opposing medical advice, these questions should be left to the decision of the contracting parties. After duly considering the problem from all its angles, the ministry of public welfare reached the con¬ clusion that, in spite of the fact that the institution of legal measures to bring about a certain control of health conditions in applicants for marriage licenses might work hardships to some persons, the time is, nevertheless, at hand when, in the interest of the future health of the people, this question must be earnestlv considered. Marriages
doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640700060022 fatcat:6efsn2rky5fxhmxko5wg64vlii