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Testimony Begins This Morning In Edelin Manslaughter Trial

By Philip Weiss

Testimony in the abortion-related manslaughter trail of Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin will begin this morning in the Suffolk County Superior Criminal Court in Boston.

Three days of jury selection ended yesterday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. with the swearing in of a jury of 13 men and 3 women.

Judge James P. McGuire interviewed 27 jury candidates to select the last six jurors for the trial. Of those six, two indicated they could support abortion, three said they had no opinion on the question, and one said he was "against" abortion.

Edelin is charged with manslaughter in connection with an abortion he performed at Boston City Hospital in October 1973.

Before opening arguments are presented today, McGuire must rule on a defense motion before the court.

The motion would forbid prosecutor Newman A. Flanagan, assistant district attorney, from using the terms "suffocate," "suffocation," or "baby boy," during the trial.

"Murder" Not Allowed

The defense contends that the involved fetus never breathed, and thus could not have suffocated, and that it was not a human being.

McGuire ruled on part of that motion yesterday afternoon, when he decided that Flanagan could not use the term "murder" to describe Edelin's alleged action.

Connie Paige, a free-lance journalist, also has a motion before the court, to quash a subpoena ordering her to testify for the prosecution.

McGuire excused 14 prospective jurors from jury duty, five of whom said that their personal oppositions to abortion might prejudice their decisions in the case.

During jury selection yesterday, the prosecution rejected four jurors whom McGuire had initially accepted. All four were women, and three of them had expressed opinions supporting abortion.

Edelin rejected three prospective jurors, one of whom said that abortion is "immoral." The other two said they had no opinion on the issue.

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