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July 1975

Abortion vs Manslaughter

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(7):790-791. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360130022004

The majority of women who seek elective termination of pregnancy have usually done so in the first trimester. As abortion services have become legal and actually available, that proportion of women who delay this decision into the second trimester has become even smaller,1 but the existence of this group raises the very difficult question as to when in a pregnancy elective abortion is no longer medically and morally advisable.

In its monumental decision on abortion, that the matter of termination of pregnancy for reasons other than health was to be determined by the woman and her physician, the US Supreme Court further stated:

For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of life, or health of the mother.2(p1)

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