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Aj Congress’ Women’s Division Votes to Support Dr. Kenneth Edelin

Delegates to the biennial convention of the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress voted to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a Boston physician appealing a conviction of manslaughter for performing an abortion. The 500 delegates also approved a resolution to promote “free access to abortion” for all women by opposing campaigns against abortion expressed through “constitutional amendment, legislation or riders to appropriations bills.”

The resolution, adopted at the closing session of the three-day convention last week, declared that the conviction of Dr. Kenneth Edelin by a Massachusetts court in February had brought “a climate of fear among physicians and hospital personnel throughout the country which will make them reluctant to perform the very kind of abortion which the Supreme Court upheld.”

The Supreme Court in 1973 ruled unconstitutional a Texas law making abortion a crime except to save the life of the mother. A Boston Jury sustained the prosecution’s argument that the Supreme Court ruling did not apply to Dr. Edelin’s operation because the fetus he removed was able to live outside the mother’s body. The delegates said that Dr. Edelin’s conviction, if upheld and applied generally, “threatens to nullify the constitutionally guaranteed right of a woman to have an abortion.”

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