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June 20, 1936

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1936;106(25):2168-2174. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770250052019

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Abstract

LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)May 2, 1936.

The Medical Aspects of Abortion  The law concerning abortion is unsatisfactory. It lays down penalties for "unlawfully" inducing abortion without stating what is lawful induction. Hence physicians are often unwilling to perform therapeutic abortion owing to uncertainty as to the legal risk. Therefore in 1934 the council of the British Medical Association appointed a committee consisting of obstetricians and others to report on the medical aspects of abortion. This committee has now made a lengthy report. It has been suggested that the physician need have no uncertainty as to his freedom to induce abortion, as the law is adaptable in practice, although not in theory, to changes in social thought. But the committee replies that the responsibility of interpreting public opinion on such matters should not be placed on the physician. Further, physicians differ widely in their views and in their practice.

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