17 N. Y. L. F. 335 (1971-1972)
The Phoenix of Abortional Freedom: Is a Penumbral or Ninth-Amendment Right About to Arise from the Nineteenth-Century Legislative Ashes of a Fourteenth-Century Common-Law Liberty

handle is hein.journals/nyls17 and id is 357 raw text is: NEW YORK
LAW FORUM
VOLUME XVII                        NUMBER 2                                  1971
THE PHOENIX OF ABORTIONAL FREEDOM:
IS A PENUMBRAL OR NINTH-AMENDMENT RIGHT
ABOUT TO ARISE FROM THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY
LEGISLATIVE ASHES OF A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY
COMMON-LAW LIBERTY?
CYRIL C. MEANS, JR.* **
In ancient Eastern folklore, the phoenix was a fabulous bird, said
to live for five hundred years in the Arabian desert, then to build its
own funeral pyre, on which it would burn itself to ashes, out of which
it would then arise young again. Is it the destiny of elective abortion
to recapitulate the career of the phoenix?
Readers of this journal will recall an article published three years
ago,' in which I described the nineteenth-century legislative funeral
* A.B., 1938, Harvard College; J.D., 1941, Wayne State University Law School; LL.M.,
1948, Harvard Law School. Member, Governor Rockefeller's Commission Appointed to
Review New York State's Abortion Law (1968). Associate Professor of Law, New York Law
School. Member of the Michigan and United States Supreme Court Bars.
** For invaluable aid in the task of historical research which had to be done to prepare
this article, I make grateful acknowledgment to Dr. Edith Henderson, Curator of the Rare Book
Room of the Library of the Harvard Law School (and Secretary for the United States of
America of The Selden Society), and to Mr. Anthony Grech, Librarian of The Association of
the Bar of the City of New York. For first editions, I normally had to go to Cambridge, but
Mr. Grech's library contains nearly everything I needed in second and later editions, including
a magnificent vulgate edition of the Year Books that was once owned by President Martin
Van Buren. I also wish to express gratitude to Professor Samuel Thorne, of the Harvard Law
School faculty, for time he has generously spent with me discussing the various problems
presented by this paper, and to my colleague, Professor Joel Lee, of the New York Law School
faculty, for some invaluable leads in clearing up the long-mooted question as to how soon after
the accession of Edward III Sir Geoffrey Scrope resumed his place as Chief Justice of the King's
Bench. For any errors of emphasis or content, however, I take full responsibility.
Means, The Law of New York Concerning Abortion and the Status of the Foetus, 1664-
1968: A Case of Cessation of Constitutionality, 14 N.Y.L.F. 411 (1968).

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