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November 25, 1974

Research on the Fetus

Author Affiliations

Phoenix, Ariz

JAMA. 1974;230(8):1124. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240080014004

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To the Editor.—  The COMMENTARY was the least scientific article I have ever read in a medical journal. Few intelligent people would deny the benefits of postmortem examinations to medical knowledge. The crucial question is whether a possibly harmful drug can be administered to a pregnant woman when the physician anticipates that the fetal life is soon to be destroyed. It is modern science, not a religious sect, that has so expanded our knowledge of the origins of human life. The concept of dignity of the individual, which has evolved slowly over centuries of Western thought, has been in part responsible for allowing scientific truth to be gained and disseminated. This concept of individual dignity and value of human life, fragile as it is, has been all too often ignored. We need less prejudice, and more reasoned discussion of basic issues.