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August 20, 1982

Abortion LegislationImplications for Medicine

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Center for Human Genetics, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr Milunsky) and the Boston University School of Public Health (Mr Glantz).

JAMA. 1982;248(7):833-834. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330070021023

AT PRESENT there is congressional activity in Washington, DC, that poses grave danger for the future of medical practice in the United States. It involves the desire of certain politicians to limit the rights of both physicians and patients to decide whether an abortion is required or desirable. Through the use of a proposed constitutional amendment or federal statutes, the federal government could be put in the position of telling physicians what medical procedures they can or cannot perform. This is dissimilar to the ruling that the federal government will not pay for abortions for indigent women (a physician could still provide an abortion although payment is an issue).1 It is more restrictive than the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of drugs that involves the interstate shipment and sale but not their prescription for specific patients.2 This new government action could outlaw, or permit the outlawing by states,