14 N. Y. L. F. 411 (1968)
The Law of New York Concerning Abortion and the Status of the Foetus, 1664-1968: A Case of Cessation of Constitutionality

handle is hein.journals/nyls14 and id is 433 raw text is: NEW YORK
LAW FORUM
VOLUME XIV                    FALL, 1968                      NUMER 3
THE LAW OF NEW YORK CONCERNING
ABORTION AND THE STATUS OF THE
FOETUS, 1664-1968: A CASE OF
CESSATION OF
CONSTITUTIONALITY
CYRIL C. MEANS, JR.*
I. THE COMMON LAW         CONCEPTION OF A MAN
An Historical Footnote
ANY discussion of the law of abortion must center upon the issue
of when, if ever, during pregnancy a foetus becomes a man, a human
person, with all the rights of those already born. This philosophical puz-
zle has perplexed the sages down the corridors of time. During the Euro-
pean Middle Ages, however, there was a virtually unaminous consensus
on the question by educated men of all disciplines, including theology,
philosophy, medicine, and jurisprudence. All agreed that the moment
of animation, the infusion of a rational soul into the developing foetus,
occurred at some point in time between conception and birth. The theo-
* A.B., 1938, Harvard College; J.D., 1941, Wayne State University Law School;
LL.M., 1948, Harvard Law School. Member, Governor's Commission Appointed to
Review New York State's Abortion Law (1968); member of the Michigan and United
States Supreme Court Bars.
Editor's Note. Because of the large number of Latin words and phrases in some of
the footnotes of this article dealing with ecclesiastical documents, the following explana-
tion may be helpful to readers, particularly those from disciplines other than law. The
New York Law Forum follows the ordinary typographical convention, in the text,
according to which foreign-language words and phrases are italicized, as are English
words where emphasis is desired. In the footnotes, however, a different usage is adhered
to. Foreign-language words and phrases are not italicized but are set off by double
quotation marks (which do not, therefore, necessarily signify that they are being quoted
from another source). English words to be emphasized in the notes are not italicized
but underscored.

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