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49 Geo. L. J. 395 (1960-1961)
Justifiable Abortion--Medical and Legal Foundations

handle is hein.journals/glj49 and id is 419 raw text is: THE
VOLUME 49                    Spring    1961                    NUMBER 3
Protecting the life of the unborn child has been a major concern of
the earliest laws known to us. It has continued to be an object of law-
making in every subsequent civilization which has contributed to our
own because it springs from a universal feeling which in the past has
ceased to move men only when a nation was in decay. These are beliefs
we have noted in an earlier writing, but their foundation lies in a fuller
appraisal of those sections of the Model Penal Code which first prompted
For the sake of clarity, the section with which we are chiefly concerned
and which, in 1959, has received tentative approval by the American Law
Institute is set out here:
Section 207.11. Abortion and Related Offenses.
(1) Unjustified Abortion. A person who purposely and unjustifiably ter-
minates the pregnancy of another otherwise than by a live birth commits a felony
of the third degree or, where the pregnancy has continued beyond the twenty-
sixth week, a felony of the second degree.
(2) Justifiable Abortion. A licensed physician is justified in terminating a
pregnancy if:
(a) he believes there is substantial risk that continuance of the pregnancy
would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the mother or that
the child would be born with grave physical or mental defect, or the preg-
nancy resulted from rape by force or its equivalent as defined in Section
207.4(1) or from incest as defined in Section 207.3; and
(b) two physicians, one of whom may be the person performing the abortion,
have certified in writing their belief in the justifying circumstances, and
* This is the second installment of a two-part article; the first part appeared in the
winter issue, 49 Georgetown L.J. 173 (1960).
** A.B. 1909, St. Mary's (Kansas); MA. 1910, Catholic University; LL.B. 1913,
Georgetown Law Center; Member of D.C. and Illinois Bars; Life Member of American
Law Institute; Founder and First Editor in Chief, Georgetown Law Journal.

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