The most momentous test case in the history of the English law covering abortion packed London's grimy Old Bailey courtroom last week with skilled physicians from Harley and Wimpole Streets, earnest young medical students, smart socialites. Defendant in the case, charged with performing an abortion on a 14-year-old girl who was seven weeks with child, was a lean, greying, studious man, Dr. Aleck William Bourne, 52, top-flight gynecologist and obstetrician.

England's law permits operations only when necessary to save the life of the mother, and yacht-loving Dr. Bourne, who two years ago prepared a...

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