During the 70s and 80s ethical debate concerning the fetus became intensive. The great advances made in medical technology and research and improvements in prenatal diagnosis as well as in embryological research have led us to believe that the fetus is an individual with recognised claims to protection. In Sweden the aborted fetus has previously been considered merely as a risk-disposal problem, equivalent to dangerous and infected material and there have been no specific guidelines for the treatment of the fetus after abortion. In July 1990 treatment of aborted fetuses was changed with the general guidelines from the National Board of Health and Welfare. The present paper sets out the main contents of the guidelines and discusses the gradually changing views concerning the status of the human fetus in Sweden, as well as the public debate which has been a contributing factor to these changes.
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