By James C. Mohr
'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 considered normal and inherent over their very own our bodies is an engaging and infuriating one.
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Additional resources for Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (Galaxy Books)
The conjunction of these two firsts was more than merely coincidental, and the available evidence about the probable origins of this 1828 enactment throws bright light on the kinds of pressures that led to the nation's earliest statutory abortion policies. 28 • Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America Fortunately for historians, the notes of the commission that revised New York's criminal code in 1828 have survived. Cyril C. , who brought the significance of those notes to the attention of legal scholars in 1968, argued persuasively that New York's lawmakers had been more concerned with protecting their state's women from dangerous medical and quasi-medical treatments than with outlawing or ending the practice of abortion itself.
Most of these newcomers lacked formal training altogether or were trained in medical systems at variance with previously accepted doctrines. As early as 1800, for example, twothirds of the people who made their livings as physicians in the city of Philadelphia were neither members of the local College of Physicians nor graduates of any medical school of any kind. And this was in a major eastern city with a strong tradition of learned medicine established by the likes of Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin.
These doctors, known collectively as the "regulars," tended to be graduates of the country's better medical schools or to follow the lead of those who were. As a group they believed in the longterm efficacy of such principles as rational research and cooperative intercommunication. The regulars organized and maintained state and local medical societies, published learned journals, and tried to encourage high educational standards among the nation's medical schools. If the regu- 34 • Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America lars realized that their own commitment to scientific education and rational research had not yet paid the kind of dividends that they were looking forward to for themselves and for their patients, they also recognized that most of the alternative approaches to medicine then competing with theirs for the patronage of the American people were patently absurd.
Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (Galaxy Books) by James C. Mohr