Medicine: Abortion: The Edelin Shock Wave

We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary ... is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

—U.S. Supreme Court, Jan. 22, 1973

Though a seven-man majority of the learned Justices of the Supreme Court of the U.S. shrank with becoming modesty from this speculation, the jury of laymen that convicted Dr. Kenneth Edelin in a Boston criminal court (TIME, Feb. 24) showed no such restraint. Its verdict—guilty of manslaughter—was reached after the jury decided that...

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