James C. Mohr's Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National PDF

By James C. Mohr

ISBN-10: 0195026160

ISBN-13: 9780195026160

'The historical past of ways abortion got here to be banned and the way ladies lost--for the century among nearly 1870 and 1970--rights formerly considered typical and inherent over their very own our bodies is an interesting and infuriating one.

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Additional info for Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (Galaxy Books)

Example text

Prior to quickening there continued to be no crime. Phrased differently, the revisers of 1821 chose to preserve for Connecticut women their long-standing common law right to attempt to rid themselves of a suspected pregnancy they did not want before the pregnancy confirmed itself, even though they risked poisoning themselves in the process. In this respect the law testified eloquently to how deeply committed Americans of the early nineteenth century were to the quickening doctrine, to what they considered to be the commonsensical distinction be- The First Wave of Abortion Legislation, 1821-1841 • 23 tween a living fetus, on the one hand, which had taken on at least one of the manifestations of separate existence, motion, and an inanimate embryo, on the other hand, the very existence of which, paradoxically, could only be proved with complete certainty after it had been aborted.

In 1843 he published the detailed records he had kept on 300 obstetrical cases that he was involved in prior to 1839. Five of them eventually ended in abortion, and two of those had been illegitimate pregnancies. "56 Even as Metcalf published his statistics, however, the American perception of who was having how many abortions for what purpose was shifting dramatically. That shift, along with a professional resurgence of the regular physicians following their eclipse and disillusionment during the 1830s, would have a profound impact upon the next stage in the evolution of abortion policy in the United States.

Prior to 1840 virtually nothing had been mentioned about abortion in the popular press; during the period when the first laws concerning abortion were being passed in state legislatures, the practice had not been a public issue. By the early 1840s, however, the press had become interested in the phenomenon. 11 By 1850, then, commercialization had brought abortion out into public view in the United States, and the visibility it gained would affect the evolution of abortion policy in American state legislatures.

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Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (Galaxy Books) by James C. Mohr


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