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September 1971


Arch Surg. 1971;103(3):425. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350090107029

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To the Editor.—Since we are dealing with a problem wherein feelings and emotions play so significant a role, I do not believe that I will be able to answer Drs. Sheeran and Smyth to their satisfaction, but I will try.

First of all, I, and many others, share their concern for the welfare of the "unborn child," or rather for the embryonic life that may become a child. Against this, however, we must weigh the hazards for the patient's physical and mental health as well as the potential dangers of a criminal abortion to which she must turn if qualified medical help is denied her. I am her physician, not her religious or spiritual adviser, and therefore I believe I should conduct myself in a manner that I believe is most appropriate for continued good health.

Once again, I do not dismiss the knowledge that a potential human life

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