ARTICLE: LEGAL ABORTION: THE IMPENDING OBSOLESCENCE OF THE TRIMESTER FRAMEWORK * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1988 Boston University School of Law.
American Journal of Law & Medicine

ARTICLE: LEGAL ABORTION: THE IMPENDING OBSOLESCENCE OF THE TRIMESTER FRAMEWORK *



* The author wishes to acknowledge Judith Areen, Professor of Law, Professor of Community and Family Medicine, Georgetown University, for guidance in the planning of this paper.

1988

14 Am. J. L. and Med. 69

Author

Claudia Pap Mangel **

Excerpt

The vulnerability of abortion clinics and their patients 1 is an apt metaphor for the vulnerability of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade. 2 In City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., 3 Justice O'Connor stated in her dissent that the viability standard for legal abortion established in Roe was "on a collision course with itself," 4 and that "as improvements in medical technology inevitably move forward the point at which the State may regulate for reasons of maternal health, different technological improvements move backward the point of viability at which the State may proscribe abortions except when necessary to preserve the life and health of the mother." 5 Justice O'Connor concluded that the Roe trimester framework which the majority reaffirmed in Akron was "a completely unworkable method of accommodating the conflicting personal rights and compelling state interests that are involved in the abortion context." 6 The danger is not that the abortion right recognized in Roe v. Wade will be eroded by subsequent Supreme Court decisions, but rather that the trimester framework will simply collapse due to infrastructural defect.

This paper will analyze the inherent weakness and impending obsolescence of the trimester framework established in Roe. v. Wade. After reviewing the legal justification for abortion, the paper examines present evidence of maternal health risks and fetal viability, and concludes that the trimester framework is inconsistent with current medical knowledge and will likely be rendered obsolete by developments in medical technology ...
 
 
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