Medicine: Abortion & the Law

A healthy and happily married Arizona woman, mother of four children, last week went to court to ask approval for an illegal act: getting an abortion. Her fifth child, she fears, might be hideously deformed as a result of her taking the sleeping pill thalidomide.

The drug, marketed in many countries under a variety of trade names, has already caused an estimated 5,000 babies to be born malformed in Germany and almost 1,000 in Britain: infants without limbs or with stubby, seal-like flippers or with internal defects such as displaced or missing organs (TIME, Feb. 23). At least...

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