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Surgical abortion at twenty weeks: is morality determined solely by the outcome?
  1. R J Lilford,
  2. N Johnson
  1. St James's University Hospital, Leeds.


    A strong body of opinion contends that late terminations of pregnancy are better carried out by surgical methods. We show that the suggested advantages of greater safety and patient acceptance are based on out-of-date or inaccurate (biased) data. The advantages of medical methods are, however, equally unproven. However, we argue that the adverse emotional and symbolic effects of late surgical termination have moral force. We therefore contend that in the absence of strong patient preference, medical termination is the preferable method; and will remain of that opinion unless clear demonstration of the greater safety of surgical methods can be made at some future date.

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