Download e-book for kindle: Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National by James C. Mohr

By James C. Mohr

ISBN-10: 0195026160

ISBN-13: 9780195026160

'The historical past of the way abortion got here to be banned and the way girls lost--for the century among nearly 1870 and 1970--rights formerly regarded as average and inherent over their very own our bodies is an engaging and infuriating one.

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

Example text

Physicians, or, more precisely, the regular physicians to whom those legal scholars would look for guidance in drafting their codes, had reasons of their own for wanting abortion pro- The First Wave of Abortion Legislation, 1821-1841 • 43 scribed, some of which have been explored. But as far as the vast majority of the population was concerned, the country's first laws on abortion remained deeply buried in the ponderous prose of criminal codes and were evidently little noticed and rarely enforced by anybody.

In the interval between Connecticut's first two abortion laws three other states—Missouri in 1825, Illinois in 1827, and New York in 1828—also passed laws that dealt specifi- 26 • Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America cally with abortion. Both the Missouri law and the Illinois law followed Connecticut's 1821 statute closely and, like that Connecticut law, they were as much poison control measures as anti-abortion measures. 12 Yet in practice, indictments could not be brought under these laws before quickening because intent had to be proved and the only way that intent could be proved was to demonstrate that the person who administered the poison could have known beyond any doubt that the woman was pregnant.

Only at some point between 1867 and 1950, Means surmised, though he did not know when during that long period, could properly performed abortions have become no more dangerous to the mother than childbirth itself in the United States. This argument is open to serious question. Childbirth was just as subject to shock and infection as abortion until the dates Means cites, and it is difficult to imagine that the deathrate from abortions in 1828 substantially exceeded the deathrate from childbirth, especially since contemporary writers did not stress the great dangers of an abortion induced by mechanical means.

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

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