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Cover Medical Law and Ethics

8. Contraception, Abortion, and Pregnancy  

This chapter examines the legal and ethical aspects of contraception, abortion, and pregnancy. Topics discussed include the use and function of contraception; the availability of contraception; teenage pregnancy rates; tort liability and contraception; ethical issues concerning contraception; the law on abortion; the legal status of the fetus; abortion ethics; and controversial abortions. A major current issue is the extent to which, if at all, the criminal law should be involved in the law of abortion. The chapter also considers arguments on legal interventions for pregnant women; for example, imprisoning a drug-using mother to ensure that her unborn child does not suffer from the consequences of her drug use.


Cover Medical Law Concentrate

5. Abortion and prenatal harm  

This chapter is concerned with the statutory provisions governing abortion and prenatal harm. It considers the offence of abortion under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and section 1(1) of the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929 and the defences available prior to the Abortion Act 1967. It discusses the ethical debates concerning abortion, exploring ‘right-to-life’ arguments and rights of parties such as the foetus and the father. It also looks at the court’s approach towards adult women who lack capacity, before concluding with an analysis of actions for prenatal harm, namely, wrongful birth, wrongful conception, prenatal injury, and wrongful life. Relevant cases are cited.