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August 3, 1963

'Nobody Speaks For the Fetus'

JAMA. 1963;185(5):37-39. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060050013008

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Preventing congenital anomalies depends to a large degree on altering the laws and the attitudes of both the public and the medical profession. And what would appear to be the easiest change of all—the attitude of the medical profession—may instead be a severe headache for the obstetrician.

From the point of view of the medical profession, "there is little doubt that obstetrics occupies almost the lowliest possible position," according to Dr. Allan C. Barnes, chief gynecologist and obstetrician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

"As a profession, we are committed to the 1.73 square meter fallacy, that to be interesting one has to be an adult, fully developed and preferably degenerating," Barnes told the Second International Congress on Congenital Malformations in New York July 19.

"There is little reason for optimism about the future," Barnes said, "with the attitude of the medical profession what it is today."

The hospital

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