Constitutional Rights: Open City for Abortion

For thousands of American women, the nation's capital became its most enlightened city last week. Suddenly, Washington, D.C., found itself with no law whatever to prevent doctors from performing abortions.

U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell —son of the late famous pediatrician Dr. Arnold Gesell—declared unconstitutional a 68-year-old Washington law that made it a crime for any doctor to perform an abortion except when "necessary for the preservation of the mother's life or health." Judge Gesell called on Congress to write "a far more scientific and appropriate statute" for the District of Columbia. And he made it clear that the...

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