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0 - Protection of Conscience Project Library
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(Correspondence) Abortion (Amendment) Bill

Norman Chisholm

British Medical Journal, BMJ
British Medical Journal

Extract
The 28-week rule is a medical and scientific, as well as legal, concept that allows the practising doctor to work to about 20 weeks’ gestation with comfortable leeway. To make a 20-week limit would be to reduce the effective maximum for abortion to 16 weeks.


Chisholm N. (Correspondence) Abortion (Amendment) Bill. Br Med J. 1979 Jul 28;2(6184):276.

(Editorial) No case for an abortion bill

British Medical Journal

British Medical Journal, BMJ
British Medical Journal

Extract
Most doctors in practice today can remember when suicide, attempted or completed, was a criminal offence-yet now such a concept seems barbaric. The same incredulity will, surely, soon apply to attempts by the criminal law to control termination of pregnancy in its early weeks. Legal regulation is reasonable later in pregnancy (on the grounds of the duty of the law to respect concepts such as the sanctity of life) but it must be flexible enough to take account of the rapid pace of development in antenatal diagnosis of genetic and developmental disorders.


BMJ. (Editorial) No case for an abortion bill. Br Med J. 1979;2(6184):230.

Appeals to Conscience

James F Childress

Ethics
Ethics

Abstract
Unfortunately the phrase “appeals to conscience” is ambiguous. First, it may indicate an appeal to another person’s conscience in order to convince him to act in certain ways. Second, it may mean the invocation of one’s own conscience to interpret and justify one’s conduct to others. Third, it may indicate the invocation of conscience in debates with oneself about the right course of action, conscience being understood as a participant in the debate, a referee , or a final arbiter. Although it is possible to distinguish these three meanings of “appeals to conscience,” they are usually intertwined in our moral discourse. Nevertheless, I shall concentrate on the second meaning, referring to the other two only when it is necessary to fill out the picture.1 Appeals to conscience in the second sense raise important issues of justification and public policy which can be considered apart from the other meanings of appeals to conscience. My concern is with what we might call “conscientious objection”.


Childress JF. Appeals to Conscience. Ethics. 1979 Jul;89(4):315-335.

Abortion laws in Commonwealth countries

Rebecca J Cook, Bernard M Dickens

International Digest of Health Legislation
International Digest of Health Legislation

Extract
Conclusion

The objective of this Report has been to present a synthesis of Commonwealth abortion laws, and a synopsis of their lines of development. . .

The Report identifies factors that those planning change may need to consider, indicates how individual jurisdictions have responded to particular issues, and shows how certain laws have been found to operate.

. . .The ordering of national priorities is a function of government, which best discharges its duties by being sensitive to the spiritual and pragmatic aspirations of those it serves by leading. . .


Cook RJ, Dickens BM. Abortion laws in Commonwealth countries. Int Dig Health Leg. 1979;30(395-502.

(Correspondence) Hazards of prenatal detection of neural tube defects

AT Kerigan

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
Dr. Hall highlights what is surely the central issue in abortion because of fetal abnormalities – that is, does one consider the unborn child to be a person, with all the attendant rights we claim for ourselves? Dr. Hall believes that the fetus is not a patient. This is a position many of us in the medical profession profoundly disagree with. The fetus is regarded as a patient worthy of treatment such as intrauterine transfusions. I am not minimizing the problems . . . of a child with spina bifida, especially for the mother. My sympathies lie very much with her, but not to the exclusion of her child. . .


Kerigan AT. (Correspondence) Hazards of prenatal detection of neural tube defects. Can Med Assoc J. 1979 Apr 21;120(8):913-914.