New abortions prohibited: Rape, incest or health are almost no exceptions

The group, however, supports exceptions to life-saving abortions. “It’s not an act of abortion,” she said, “since the purpose of abortion is to end life, not to intervene to save lives if possible.”

But some groups, such as Pro-Life Wisconsin and those associated with the abortion abolition movement, reject all exceptions, such as Doug Mastriano, a Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania who calls abortion a “science-denying genocide.”

Some abortion rights advocates argue that focusing on exceptions is misleading. While people lament that the new laws do not allow exceptions to rape and incest, they feel that if these exceptions are granted, the new restrictive laws would be more reasonable, Leslie J. Reagan, a historian of American medicine and public health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With or without exception, some state sanctions include criminal penalties, which Dr. Reagan, author of “When Abortion Was a Crime,” are “one step behind the century of criminal abortion that the United States has already passed.”

The history of exceptions spans decades. In 1959, the American Law Institute, an independent body of legal scholars, lawyers and judges, began drafting model legislation to amend abortion offenses. It suggested that if a physician decides that there is a serious risk to the health of the woman or to the fetus or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Two threats to a fetus were then a matter of deep concern. One was the morning sickness drug thalidomide, which was tested on American women in the 1950s, which could cause serious birth defects or stillbirth. Another was rubella, commonly known as German measles, which can cause death or life-threatening effects in children (a vaccine was approved in 1969).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.