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February 16, 1990


Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1990;263(7):947. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440070031018

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In Reply.—  Dr Mohun mischaracterizes our position on abortion when he writes that the AMA has promoted abortion as a matter of policy. As my commentary on the Webster case indicates, the AMA took no position on the issue as to when the embryo or fetus deserves protection—at viability, conception, or some other point. Because physicians disagree on the issue, it was not possible for the AMA to take a position that could be viewed as representative of the profession. Indeed, the differences between the two letters printed above illustrate the diversity of opinion among physicians. Dr Mohun's concerns about our discussion of the scientific issues in abortion simply miss the point. While the ultimate question about abortion will be and should be decided on moral, philosophical, and policy grounds, their resolution must take into account the medical facts.Drs Chavkin and Rosenfield accurately observe that certain restrictions on abortion