Medicine: Abortion on Request

Hawaii this week becomes the first state in the Union to legalize abortion on request, leaving the decision about the operation to the woman herself and her physician. The legislature completed passage of the bill last week and sent it to Governor John A. Burns. A Roman Catholic, Burns said he would not sign it but neither would he veto it. Unsigned, it becomes law in ten days.

The Hawaiian law is essentially what many physicians have been urging—so far, unsuccessfully—in several mainland states. It includes only minimal restrictions: the operation must involve a fetus that cannot live outside the womb (usually...

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