Academic journal article Issues in Law & Medicine

Deaths Associated with Abortion Compared to Childbirth-A Review of New and Old Data and the Medical and Legal Implications

Academic journal article Issues in Law & Medicine

Deaths Associated with Abortion Compared to Childbirth-A Review of New and Old Data and the Medical and Legal Implications

Article excerpt

David C. Reardon et al., Deaths Associated with Abortion Compared to Childbirth--A Review of New and Old Data and the Medical and Legal Implications, 20 J. CONTEMPORARY HEALTH L. & POL'Y 279 (2004).

In the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court identified three reasons why States might seek to proscribe or regulate induced abortion: (1) "to discourage illicit sexual conduct"; (2) to exercise "the State's interest--some phrase it in terms of duty--in protecting prenatal life"" (3) "to protect the pregnant woman, that is, to restrain her from submitting to a procedure that placed her life in serious jeopardy."

The first reason, to discourage illicit sexual conduct, was quickly rejected by the Court. The second reason, the State's interest in protecting prenatal life, was the subject of much discussion, but this interest was substantially limited by the Court's determination that no consensus exists as to when human life begins. The third reason, to protect the life and health of the woman, was upheld as a legitimate and compelling state interest. The Court noted, "Mortality rates for women undergoing early abortions, where the procedure is legal, appear to be as low as or lower than the rates for normal childbirth. …

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