Constitutional Reflections on Abortion Reform

United States abortion law is evolving comparably. Even eight years ago, public opinion was deeply divided when a Phoenix housewife sought to avoid giving birth after taking Thalidomide. The Model Penal Code, promulgated that year, authorized abortion in cases of felonious intercourse, to avoid deformity, and to protect the physical or mental health of the mother; these faintly daring innovations are now in danger of being declared unconstitutional because they are too limited. In the last year, three courts have invalidated moderate abortion statutes and the New York legislature has permitted abortion at will in early pregnancy. The purpose of this article is to trace the way slight reform has made radical innovation inevitable.