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Unfinished feticide.
  1. R P Jansen
  1. Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


    A fetus may survive an intentional interference with its intrauterine environment (1) if gestational age is mistaken and the procedure of induced abortion does not kill the fetus, (2) if a change of heart takes place after abortifacient drugs are taken and the abortion does not proceed, and (3) if a high-multiple pregnancy is reduced to a singleton or a twin pregnancy to improve the likelihood that the remaining fetuses will reach viability. In each case, through cause or coincidence, an abnormal baby may be born. The well-intentioned physician, responding to a patient's medical or psychological needs, risks a legal action in negligence or assault brought by a deformed surviving child. This hazard means that medical termination of pregnancy and selective pregnancy reduction put the practising physician at substantial risk in a way not usually associated with induced abortion.

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