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Ranging from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the 1980s, this book focuses on the evolution of the law and medical practice of abortion in England. Little academic attention has hitherto been given to the development and scope of abortion law in England, the formative influence of the medical profession, and the impact of the law on medical practice. Consequently, Dr Keown considers the performance of abortion by doctors, and the influence the medical profession had on the restriction of the law in the nineteenth century and on its relaxation in the twentieth. The book does not deal directly with the legal status of the unborn child, the rights and duties of its parents and of the doctors involved in the provision of abortion or the question of the desirability of reform. Rather, adopting a socio-legal perspective, it considers what the scope of the prohibition of abortion has been and focuses on aspects of professional influence on the evolution of that prohibition, and of professional practice thereunder.