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A Case of Need

            The book, A Case of Need, published in 1968 outdates itself with its own central storyline. The concept of an illegal abortion in the state of Massachusetts makes current issues of abortions poles apart from this chronicle. Thus, it is necessary to examine the controversy and opinion of that era in order to fully understand the actions of the characters.
             Dr. John Berry, a Bostonian pathologist, serves as narrator of this Michael Crichton novel. His colleague and friend, Dr. Art Lee, is charged with the second-degree murder of Karen Randall, a young woman who received a botched abortion and bled to death. Unfortunately, Dr. Lee is the most well-known abortionist in the Boston area, making him an obvious target. On the other hand, he is accredited with being "very good"" and selective with his abortion patients. Berry informs the reader, "Many of the younger doctors knew what Art was doing, and most agreed with him, because he exercised careful judgment in deciding his cases,"" (p.32).
             The story begins after Karen's death. Her mother claims Karen admitted that Lee had performed her abortion. Allegedly Karen's final words to her mother had been, "Lee did it."" This "confession"" is later proven to be untrue and Karen's mother justifies her false story with a strong alibi. Dr. Berry chooses to take the case into his own hands as he interviews and questions everyone who knew Karen, including her pro-life father. Her father is the prominent Dr. J.D. Randall, a man already bitter towards Dr. Lee for being an abortionist, as well as Asian. As the evidence towards Lee diminishes, Berry gets himself into a several predicaments, but in the end single-handedly solves the mystery.
             Present-day opinion has changed significantly on the issue of abortion since 1968. At that time, abortions were illegal in most states. In fact, the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade that dramatically changed the rights of women to have an abortion had yet to be decided.

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