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The Legal Aspects of Fetal Viability

  • Leonard H. Glantz

Abstract

The issue of the legal aspects of fetal viability is an important one for those involved in the practice of genetic counseling. Amniocentesis is usually performed after the 14th week of pregnancy. Although chromosomal karyotyping can be performed within fourteen days, biochemical analysis usually takes between 21–40 days (1). As a result of this, a woman will be in her 20th or 21st week of pregnancy before she would be able to make an informed decision as to the termination or continuation of her pregnancy based on the results of these diagnostic tests. At this stage in fetal development there is the problem that the fetus is approaching “viability” and the state may then outlaw non- therapeutic abortions (2). Even assuming the state has not outlawed such procedures, the physician who performs the abortion procedure at this stage may be subject to criminal liability if the fetus does not survive. Such was the case of Dr. Kenneth Edelin who, after a trial in Boston, was found guilty of mans-laughter for the death of a “baby boy” who died following a hysterotomy.

Keywords

Live Birth Supra Note Legal Aspect Criminal Liability Unborn Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard H. Glantz
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Law and Health SciencesBoston University School of LawBostonUSA

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