Dramatic changes are taking place in legal and professional attitudes concerning abortion. Thirteen state legislatures have already modified, or are in the process of modifying, their laws in this regard. Courts are declaring many restrictive laws unconstitutional, and New York and Hawaii have virtually removed all restrictions against abortion. In short, centuries-old legal and moral restrictions against therapeutic abortion are rapidly crumbling in the Western World. There are many reasons for this. The awakening awareness of the right of a woman to judge her own reproductive destiny, concern for the psychic and social well-being of an unwanted child, and concern over the population pressure are just some of them. As might be expected, to some doctors these are valid and just causes for change whereas to others they are debatable, to say the least.
Above and beyond these issues, many of us physicians feel that therapeutic abortion serves as preventive