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J Law Med Ethics. 2011 Summer;39(2):235-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2011.00592.x.

Fetal pain, abortion, viability, and the Constitution.

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Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Harvard Law School, MA, USA.


In early 2010, the Nebraska state legislature passed a new abortion restricting law asserting a new, compelling state interest in preventing fetal pain. In this article, we review existing constitutional abortion doctrine and note difficulties presented by persistent legal attention to a socially derived viability construct. We then offer a substantive biological, ethical, and legal critique of the new fetal pain rationale.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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