The fight for abortion history

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Mary Ziegler, author of several books on the history of abortion (and critic of the draft ruling), said that part was correct. But opinion, according to her and others, underestimates the fact that for most of the first 100 years of American history, early abortions – before fetal “acceleration” (generally defined as the time when the movements of the fetus can be detected) – were not illegal. .

This is the argument made in the Historians memoir, which traces the history of abortion regulation back to 1866. For decades after the founding of the United States, the common law did not regulate abortion. abortion, nor even acknowledged that abortion occurs at this early stage. . “That’s because the common law hasn’t even recognized that a fetus exists separately from a pregnant woman” before accelerating, argue historians.

Roe’s central historical assertions “were accurate,” the memoir says, “and remain so today.”

Leslie J. Reagan, the author of “When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and the Law in the United States, 1867-1973,” said in an interview that abortion was common in the early of the 19th century, perhaps even more than Roe. represented.

And the regulations were based on the women’s own experience, since they were the ones who knew when the “acceleration” was happening. And before ‘speeding up’, Professor Reagan said, taking medication or other treatments wasn’t even considered an abortion, but ‘trying to get your period’ – the menstrual period – ‘back’.

“It was after the acceleration that it was against the law and considered immoral,” she said. “After speeding up, women themselves would stop trying to get their periods back. It was considered a life.

Although the project references the historians’ memoir, it relies more on other sources, including “Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History”, a 2006 book by Joseph W. Dellapenna that challenged Judge Blackmun’s historical arguments in Roe.


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