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The Obsolete Science Behind Roe v. Wade



The Supreme Court will soon reconsider the decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), which made abortion legal in America through all nine months of pregnancy. At that “point in the development of man’s knowledge,” as Justice Harry Blackmun put it in Roe, there was simply no consensus about when life begins. In other words, the fetus could not be said with any certainty to be alive and therefore wasn’t worthy of legal protection.

As a diagnostic radiologist—whose youngest patients are fetuses, who are very much alive—I submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization urging the justices to rethink Roe, a case premised on a claim about science. I was joined by two other female physicians, a neonatologist and an obstetrician, who also value their youngest patients, believing that whether inside their mothers or born, premature or full-term, they are worthy of respect and protection.




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