Download Abortion, Doctors and the Law: Some Aspects of the Legal by John Keown PDF

By John Keown

Starting from the start of the 19th century to the Eighties, this ebook makes a speciality of the evolution of the legislation and scientific perform of abortion in England. Little educational consciousness has hitherto been given to the advance and scope of abortion legislations in England, the formative effect of the scientific career, and the impression of the legislations on clinical perform. as a result, Dr Keown considers the functionality of abortion through medical professionals, and the impact the clinical occupation had at the limit of the legislations within the 19th century and on its leisure within the 20th. The publication doesn't deal at once with the felony prestige of the unborn baby, the rights and tasks of its mom and dad and of the medical professionals occupied with the supply of abortion or the query of the desirability of reform. quite, adopting a socio-legal viewpoint, it considers what the scope of the prohibition of abortion has been and specializes in facets effect at the evolution of that prohibition, and perform thereunder.

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Additional resources for Abortion, Doctors and the Law: Some Aspects of the Legal Regulation of Abortion in England from 1803 to 1982

Example text

59 - was also influenced by the expression of professional concern. There is substantial evidence that medical men were concerned not only for the welfare of the potential victims of abortion but also to further the process of establishing and consolidating their status as a profession. This process, which will be described in the final chapter, could only have been hindered by abortion, which provided an outlet for irregular practitioners such as herbalists and midwives. By turning away women seeking abortion, the regulars risked driving them to their less qualified yet more accommodating competitors, perhaps permanently.

Obstetricians Charles Severn and Michael Ryan both supported reform of the law to bring it into line with advances in medical knowledge. Referring in 1831 to s. 13 of Lansdowne's Act, Severn wrote: 'the difference which the law makes in the nature of and punishment awarded to crimes involving precisely the same degree of moral turpitude, is arbitrary and unfounded . ,'. 35 He continued that the child was not viable before quickening nor for some months afterwards and yet was as truly quick or living before its movements were perceived by the mother as at the sixth or seventh month of gestation.

Like Ellenborough before him, he sought to make the law more logical and consistent. 6 This proposal seems to express a desire to abrogate the distinction based upon quickening. However, in view of the survival of this distinction in s. 13 of the Act, Lansdowne should perhaps be interpreted as expressing an intention to extend the prohibition on the use of instruments to interference after quickening. As this clause was discussed neither in Committee7 nor on third reading,8 the Parliamentary reports fail to clarify this ambiguity.

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