Kenneth Edelin, Boston doctor at center of abortion controversy after Roe v. Wade, dies at 74

Associated Press reports his death in Florida. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund remembers him.

In 1975, a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted Edelin of manslaughter for an abortion he performed at what was then Boston City Hospital in 1973 - a few months after the Supreme Court legalized abortion across the country.

The next year, the Supreme Judicial Court overturned his conviction:

In the comparative calm of appellate review, the essential proposition emerges that the defendant on this record had no evil frame of mind, was actuated by no criminal purpose, and committed no wanton or reckless acts in carrying out the medical procedures on October 3, 1973. A larger teaching of this case may be that, whereas a physician is accountable to the criminal law even when performing professional tasks, any assessment of his responsibility should pay due regard to the unavoidable difficulties and dubieties of many professional judgments.



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      Wow, sad news, indeed! The

      Wow, sad news, indeed! The good doctor was tormented by Newman Flanagan and the so-called "right-to-lifers like Dr. Mildred Jefferson. I remember the man, the times and the trial very well. What happened to him was a real travesty of justice. R.I.P., Dr. Edelin.


      Newman Flanagan

      ... being the same dude that ordered illegal house-to-house searches and then persecuted a man for the murder of Carol DiMaiti even after her husband had hurled himself from the Tobin as the feds closed in.

      Real moral giant, there.

      Give it up,Fish

      When a mother decides to terminate her pregnancy, that's her choice with what she wants to do with her body. I don't hear you complaining about all of the babies killed in drone strikes. Why not?


      Re: dvdoff

      I don't think our brave military intentionally kills babies, with drones or other ammunition. Liberals with a scalpel, seem quite proud. Please don't call those who opt for abortion "mothers." You discredit all women who really are mothering children. Shame!


      No one, and I mean no one

      is fighting for my free speech. No one is looking to invade our shores and take away our freedoms. Any argument to the contrary is why we have over a trillion dollars looking to be spent on the F-35, a plane that doesn't even work. There is no major threat to our shores anymore and yet for all the trillions spent and the lives lost, our own government is taking away more of our freedoms daily than Al-Qaeda ever could.


      Yup sucka

      Just like Benghazi was based off a video, minus the POs we captured in Libya with the help if our Gov., but you believe anything and everything the liberal/ retarded media tells you.

      Were the killed Iraqi citizens not human?

      What does one call the thousands of Iraqi civilians who were killed in the immoral and illegal war by the United States against Iraq? If they were not fathers, mothers and children then what were they? Vilify this doctor who at least weighed his conscience while ignoring the American leaders who traded their conscience for oil money and authorized the killing (or, in the language of hyperbole murder) of thousands of fathers, mothers and children?

      "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Matthew 7:5, KJV.


      Iran Contra and arms to the enemy

      Arms to Syrian terrorists? Arms to Syrians who want to overthrow a dictator. Unfortunately that may mean arms going to Al Queda. But the Reagan White House set precedent when Oliver North - working inside the White House - violated law and negotiated a money for arms deal and wound up supplying arms to IRAN and then supplied money and arms to the Contras of Nicaragua. Not a bunch of folks known for being warm and fuzzy. Of course President Reagan knew nothing of what was happening underneath his nose - literally where he lived.

      Way to rationalize

      Arming lunatics who are going to murder your fellow country men/women. But I'm sure your liberalism allows for that. Enjoy your freedom that you never sacrificed anything for. Enjoy!

      Not to mention the beheading of young Christians for the fact their not Muslim.

      A fetus is very much alive

      But that's beside the point.

      Someone explained the legal argument for abortion to me (there is no moral argument except perhaps in cases of rape, incest health of the mother) as follows:

      The key factor is at what point does the state have the obligation to protect the rights of the fetus/child. The determination was to set that at the point of viability - roughly 6 months (although I think there are cases when babies have survived after a few weeks less than 6 months term).

      This is why the mother forfeits the right to terminate the pregnancy at 6 months (thus refuting the oft quoted but erroneous argument that a woman can do what she wants with her body).

      I do not claim to be an expert - but this was an explanation provided to me by a law student who was studying the issue at the time and makes more sense than pretty much everything else I've heard.

      Lots of things are alive

      ... and cannot survive without the rest of the body.

      When that "rest of the body" happens to be a women with full rights and agency, the right to terminate a pregnancy comes before the rights of the fetus.

      There is no legal requirement where the rights of a woman to make decisions about her body are less than the use of her body by a non-viable entity.

      Otherwise, if I need a kidney transplant, why shouldn't I be able to force another person to provide that kidney for me? I mean, if I'll die without it, shouldn't you or someone else be forced to provide an organ to save my life? That's the problem right there - the idea that a not-yet-viable fetus has a claim on the organs of the pregnant woman for life support is just as specious as any claim I have on your organs for life support.

      For a quick primer on the brutal reality of what happens to women in countries that ban abortion, check out El Salvador. Plenty of already-born motherless orphans there due to the fear doctors have of the legal consequences of saving the lives of mothers faced with fatal pregnancy complications (oh, and the fetus dies, too, so nobody is saved - just families are destroyed).

      For a quick primer on how to prevent abortion, check out the policies of The Netherlands, which has the lowest abortion rate of any country (including those where abortion is illegal) despite completely free and open access to the procedure due to very easy access to birth control and support of families with small children.


      So your point is?

      Other than perhaps a moral disagreement over the issue that you agree with me 100%?

      Let's see -

      rights accrue to the woman over a non-viable fetus - check
      health/life of the mother is a reasonable consideration as to whether or not to abort a fetus - even a viable fetus - check
      a relatively wealthy, well educated country offers free child care and birth control and that can translate 100% to the US if we just gave people more birth control and child care - irrelevant - but OK - maybe

      So I do find it interesting that our posts agree perfectly - yet because you frame the answer emotionally from the woman's perspective, while I frame it from the fetus' perspective 8 people have currently upvoted your comment and none mine. Nothing less than I would expect out here - but interesting how you can manipulate people based on context rather than substance.

      Just curious though - if you wanted your non-viable healthy kidney or lung removed from your body or even an otherwise healthy appendix, for whatever reason, under your argument the doctor should be forced to perform the operation? Should your insurance company be forced to pay for it? Why?


      Emotionally from a Woman's perspective

      Oh, seriously, Stevil. I think you can do a bit better than that.

      Or are you saying that the perspective of someone who has been pregnant is always "emotional" and based on the "emotional" belief that a person shouldn't be considered an incubation vessel with no moral agency? A person whose rights and health are automatically secondary to a bunch of rapidly dividing cells that could very well be "scientifically and unemotionally" classified as a parasite?


      Not at all

      I'm saying that those who agree with abortion find it easier to form an emotional bond with your argument from the perspective of the woman rather than the logical argument from the perspective of the law and the rights of the fetus (which I understand is the ruling argument - once the state determines the fetus is viable, the mother loses the right to terminate the "parasite" - Niiiicce!).

      Very similar to a behavioral study that found that if you ask a statistically significant number of people the same question two different ways you get different results. Which is better - solution 1 - if we do x, we save 50 out of 150 lives, solution 2 - if we do y 100 out of 150 people will die - the clear majority of people prefer situation 1 - even though they are exactly the same.

      You said almost EXACTLY what I said - but framed it differently - so people overwhelmingly "bought" your argument even though we agree (I'm assuming all those up votes had little to do with the fact that boys in the Netherlands can get free condoms). Just found it an interesting real life example of how you can tell people the exact same thing two different ways and come up with completely different responses from your audience.

      Salespeople use this trick all the time. Sell essentially the same product - one based on emotion - one based on logic (price, quality etc) and the emotional sell will win almost all the time - very powerful tool of branding and sales (for example - a real estate agent will ask you if you can see yourself living in the new home or if your furniture would look good there - they are trying to get you to form an emotional bond with the property rather than simply see it as walls and floor space - also why they tell you to bake cookies and remove personal belongings - BROAD application to this technique used frequently by corporations).


      Appeal to emotion?

      This sounds more to me an implication, if not outright declaration that SwirlyGrrl's points must be invalid simply because they are from a woman who (god forbid) is also emotional. Thus the only valid argument is from a man who has no emotions. That is the traditional view of women of course. Perhaps we should return to traditional family values where a woman is the property of her father until he gives her away to a husband who then gets to determine what to do with her body?

      I doubt if there is anyone who believes that a pregnant woman must be the person who finally chooses whether to bring a pregnancy to term simply because they formed a bond to an argument, whether based on emotion or any other basis.

      The controversy about abortion is not about unborn children. It is about who controls a woman's body.

      If the controversy was about what to do with unborn children then why do religiously minded employers - profit and non-profit - object to providing their employees' with insurance coverage for contraception? If an ovum is not fertilized by a sperm then there is no issue concerning bringing the fetus to term or aborting the fetus. But that puts tremendous power into the hands of a woman who can choose to be sexually active and yet avoid pregnancy.

      I believe that is the crux of the controversy concerning abortion: that either preventing pregnancy or aborting a fetus gives a kind of power over life to women. But since women have always been assumed to be emotional creatures, secondary in the eyes of the deity and unworthy of possessing or wielding power, not objecting to woman's right to choose what to do with her body when pregnant is to admit that an individual woman, not a man, must be the person who makes decisions concerning her body and reproduction.

      On the other hand if the State has a right to decide whether a woman may abort a fetus then should the State also have a right to decide what men may reproduce? If a father has a right to decide whether a woman must bring a fetus to term shouldn't a woman have the right to decide whether the man she has sexual intercourse with be capable of fertilizing an ovum? If the State has the legal authority to control pregnancy shouldn't the State have the right to dictate what men can impregnate?

      The traditional belief of the purpose of women over millennia has always been primarily to bear children and continue the species. Anything else was secondary. A woman being the final arbiter of what to do with her body in terms of reproduction fundamentally threatens that belief. Worse it puts into the hands of "emotional" people a kind of fundamental power. And we all know that only men are wise enough to make unemotional wise decisions right?



      How do you respond to someone who makes up half their argument from pure fantasy and then bases the rest on an obvious lack of reading comprehension skills?

      Bible fiction

      So ofish, why are you quoting a work of fiction from thousands of years ago. What relevance does that work of fiction have to the current discussion?


      You lost your bet

      I was responding to someone quoting from the Bible, so of course I said something about the Bible. You jumped to some conclusion about my opinions about Islam, which was not the subject at hand. I'm not a hypocrite as you allege, but you are just plain stupid making stuff up like that.

      Do a little research, if you are capable of reading and critical thinking. The Koran is fiction . The Book of Mormon is fiction. The Bible ,new and old testaments, are fiction. They were all written by humans alleging they received divine revelations from "God", many times through 2nd or 3rd parties, and often hundreds of years removed. So by definition, fiction.

      If you are for or against abortion, tell us why, but don't tell us that the opinion of some fictional character in a work of fiction is relevant to the discussion.



      Finance. That's where people who can't make it on their own get to play with other people's money and then go whining to the government to bail them out when they lose it all.


      Shame on your high school

      For graduating you with such a pitiable grasp of the basics of America's system of government. Did you celebrate Thanksgiving? Those Pilgrims came here to escape government enforcement of adherence to a specific religion, and the Framers went to great lengths to enshrine that freedom in the Bill of Rights. A theocracy is the exact opposite of that. You have no business in a public discussion of the (settled law for 40 years) abortion issue. Come back when you've repeated high school civics, dunderhead.


      I'm confused

      Conservative types are kicking and screaming about welfare moochers (which I agree with to a certain extent,) yet they also want to outlaw abortion and have additional millions of welfare moochers. That's some funny logic right there. Most, if not all of the fetuses being aborted are unwanted and/or out-of-wedlock children who would have ended up on the dole, would you like to pay for them just so you can keep jeebus happy?



      ... once the sacred fetuses are born, these "good Christian people" don't give a damn whether they promptly starve to death (or die due to lack of adequate medical care). All life is sacred ONLY until a child is actually born.

      Didn't this tern "troll" use

      Didn't this tern "troll" use just come up recently? Why is it that every time someone posts something disagreeable the term "troll" comes up? I did not realize the definition of troll was someone with whom you disagree with.

      I hate to sound nit picky but this really bugs me.

      As far as the topic at hand, I've no comment as I try to stay clear of these type topics...



      As a term, is not necessarily someone you disagree with. It is someone who enters a thread of conversation, sees the obvious theme or mood, and clearly chooses to 'be the alternate opinion', for as long as people keep responding to them. They may not actually disagree, but they will just to get attention. Stoking the fire, button pusher, instigator, whatever you would like to call it really.

      And like most pests, if you stop their food source, they disappear.


      This poster you refer to

      This poster you refer to posts regularly and his/her post is in line with what I see their views as being.

      I guess what bugs me is your post is rather dismissive of the purported "trolls" post. Doesn't address the topic, just attempts to dismiss another persons opinion (that I assume you disagree with).

      Nit picky-probably, but is O-Fish a "troll" - no.



      Keep in mind that there's at least as much reference to the verb "trolling" (look it up - it has to do with fishing) as there is to the critter who lives under a bridge in the concept of internet trolls. Trolls are those people who go out of their way to start arguments, who throw out inflammatory comments in hopes of others "taking the bait." Such as a person who leaps to post hateful comments about a much-admired person who has just died.


      It's the inflammatory tone that makes a troll. Not disagreement

      From Wikipedia article on "Troll_(Internet)"

      In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]

      In this case, I think the term applies. Fish's comment celebrated someone's death and IMHO did not seem intended to spark a rational discourse.



      When Dr Bernard Nathanson (who acknowledged he in lustful greed killed 75000 babies) passed away no one in media headlined it because although he was NARAL Director who deliberately as he says misled America and lied to Congress in order to get Roe V Wade passed, his deathbed testimony is available on YouTube but since American politics is financed on the blood of innocent we ignore it we are the dumbest collective people of all time and we put the dark ages to shame! Nathanson in video calls his error the greatest mistake in USA history far worse than slavery. Happy New year as 4000 babies get slaughtered every day - a toll greater than 9/11. We had a 9/11 times 365 last year and this year we will fight to keep the blood flowing in the name of lucrative profits and political payoffs. We know 98 percent of what planned parenthood does is abortion and we give it 1 billion over 3 years? We will be sorry soon!


      Three links

      What happens when abortion is outlawed absolutely:

      What happens when countries really want to prevent it:

      Where abortion is illegal, the rates often surpass that of the United States and can far surpass the rates in many other countries where abortion is legal.
      Most recent rates per 1,000 reproductive-age women
      Belgium 7
      Germany 8
      Netherlands 9
      Switzerland 9
      United States 21

      Dominican Republic 47
      Peru 56
      Philippines 27
      Uganda 54

      Sources: Guttmacher Institute and WHO Regional Office for Europe.


      Excerpts versus full text

      Try the second link explaining how Switzerland has joined the Netherlands at the low end by implementing similar policies of high access to birth control and full access to abortion during the embryonic stage.

      Try the third link for a run down of how "correlation" between access to birth control and abortion rates is a global in scope over many decades, which is more than sufficient evidence of the validity of the phenomenon given the depth of the data.


      Amazing story

      I hadn't heard of him or the case until last year. It is a fascinating story about the times, the law, race, religion, and Boston. I haven't read his book but read something in depth online that I will try to find. Surprisingly, there doesn't appear to be a Wikipedia entry for him.