In Memoriam: Kenneth Carlton Edelin, 1939-2013

Kenneth-Edelin-thumbKenneth C. Edelin, long-time professor and administrator at the Boston University School of Medicine, died late last month in Sarasota, Florida. He was 74 years old and had been suffering from cancer.

Dr. Edelin was best known for a 1975 legal case in which he was charged with causing the death of a six-month-old fetus after an abortion. He was convicted of manslaughter. The case was later overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

A native of Washington, D.C., Dr. Edelin was a graduate of Columbia University. After teaching secondary school for two years, he enrolled at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, earning his degree in 1967. After three years in the Air Force, Dr. Edelin did his medical residency at Boston City Hospital. In 1973, he was the first African American to be named chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology.

After his acquittal of manslaughter charges, Dr. Edelin joined the faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine and served as chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department from 1979 to 1989. He then served as associate dean for student and minority affairs. From 1989 to 1992, he was chair of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood. He retired from teaching in 2006.

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