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October 23, 1987

Obstetrics and Gynecology

JAMA. 1987;258(16):2276-2277. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160130038

The ethics of human reproduction were brought sharply into focus this year by the Vatican's pronouncement that procreation of human life outside the body is "morally illicit." Also censured were artificial insemination, attempts at sex preselection, and surrogate motherhood (San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 1987, pp 1, 8). Already, calls for legislative control of these activities have been heard.

During the past decade, overwhelming advances in medical technology and the ethical issues involved in their use or nonuse have touched every field of medicine. Because many of these issues are related to the processes of human reproduction, they have had a profound effect on obstetrics and gynecology. Moreover, being social issues as well, they are the concern of everyone.

Ever since the Supreme Court's landmark decision in 1973, moral and ethical questions of legalized abortion have haunted the nation. The debate rages on with prolife and prochoice advocates maintaining dogmatic positions,