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February 16, 1990


Author Affiliations

Los Angeles, Calif

Los Angeles, Calif

JAMA. 1990;263(7):946. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440070031014

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In Reply.—  I am a "barrio" doctor who treats four-generation families (members of which I delivered). There is no greater joy than a planned and wishedfor child. On the other side of the human ledger are the unplanned, accidental, even incestous or rape-related pregnancies. These can be the beginning of an avalanche of troubles: unwanted marriage ending in divorce that leaves the woman with lifelong commitments; the end of the dream to uplift oneself; the frustrated career; failure of a teenager to return to school or earn a livelihood; or the nightmare of rape's burden. Often the fetus is unprotected from the ravages of nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs. Society pays for this misfortune with increased welfare rolls, taxes, crime, drug addiction, child abuse, and homelessness—all of which become a part of the unbalanced equation. The opposite point of view seems only concerned with life in its most primitive forms,