The Law: Aid for the Unborn

When is a child a child? Clergymen, physicians and legal experts have disagreed on the precise moment when an unborn fetus becomes an independent life. In its abortion decision last January, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state may not protect a fetus until it becomes "viable," that is, after approximately seven months in the womb. In 18 states, however, authorities have decided that a pregnant woman can receive welfare payments for her unborn child, just as for any other child, because Congress specified that the Social Security Act was meant to encourage "continuing prenatal care and protection."

The Department of...

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