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It is important that the reader understand the current legal status of abortion in America There seems to be a widespread perception that the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade 1973 only permits abortions up to 24 weeks and after that time only to save the life of the mother This false perception -- fueled in large part by groups supporting abortion rights -- is uncritically accepted by the media The fact is that the current law does not restrict a woman from getting an abortion for practically any reason she deems fit during the entire nine months of pregnancy In order to understand why this is the case a brief history lesson is in order In Roe Justice Harry Blackmun divided pregnancy into three trimesters He ruled that aside from normal procedural guidelines eg an abortion must be safely performed by a licensed physician a state has no right to restrict abortion in the first six months of pregnancy Thus a woman could have an abortion during the first two trimesters for any reason she deemed fit whether it be an unplanned pregnancy gender selection convenience or rape In the last trimester the state has a right although not an obligation to restrict abortions to only those cases in which the mothers health is jeopardized In sum Roe v Wade does not prevent a state from allowing unrestricted abortion for the entire nine months of pregnancy if it so chooses Like many other states my state of Nevada has chosen to restrict abortion in the last trimester by only permitting abortions if there is a substantial risk that the continuance of the pregnancy would endanger the life of the patient or would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the patient 2 But this restriction is a restriction in name only For the Supreme Court so broadly defined health in Roes companion decision Doe v Bolton 1973 that for all intents and purposes
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