.. about abortion and that the time was right for a professionally ambitious leaders to take advantage of the still unfocused opposition of regular physicians to abortion. Horatio Storer laid the groundwork for the anti-abortion campaign he launched later in the year by writing influential physicians all around the country early in 1857 and inquiring about the abortion laws in each of their states (148-149). Reactions around the country continued to bode well for the success of Storer’s national project. Still another prominent professor of obstetrics, Dr. Jesse Boring of the Atlanta Medical School, who was at the AMA meeting in 1857, when Storer called for action, came out publicly against the ” prevalent laxity of moral sentiment of this subject, as evidenced by the increasing frequency of induced abortions”(155).
Between 1860 and 1880 physicians all around the nation worked hard at the job of “educating up” the public attitude toward abortion in the U.S., and by the end of that period they had made some significant progress (171). Public opinion is turned to make abortion illegal the popular press and church had joined with the leaders of the charge the physicians. Mohr continues to state that the anti-obscenity movement rose to prominence during the 1870sunder the leadership of Anthony Comstock, the well-known head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. In the 1873 Comstock persuaded Congress to pass ” and Act for the Suppression of Trade in and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use. ” As a result of that law, it became a federal offense to ..sell, or offer to sell, or..give away for offer to give away, or ..have in..possession with intent to sell or give away,..instrument, or other article of indecent or immoral nature, or any article or medicine..for causing abortion, except on a prescription of a physician in good standing, given in good faith..(196).
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Under the law of 1873 Comstock himself became a special agent of the national government empowered to enforce the act’s provisions. In this capacity Comstock became the country’s best known pursuer of abortionists for the remainder of the 1870s. In early spring of 1878 he finally succeed in arresting Madame Restell herself, after purchasing abortifacient preparations from her. The popular press trumpeted the arrest loudly, and when Madame Restell committed suicide on the day before her trial the story became an instant national even international, sensation. As a symbolic act, the Restell suicide of April 1878 may well have marked a turning point in public opinion in the United States (197).
The anti-abortion legislation begins Mohr tells us. Between 1860 and 1880 the regular physicians’ campaign against abortion in the Untied States produced the most important burst of anti-abortion legislation in the nation’s history. At least 40 anti-abortion statutes of various kinds were placed upon state and territorial law books during that period. Some 13 jurisdictions formally outlawed abortion for the first time, and at least 21 states revised their already existing statutes on the subject. More significantly, most of the legislation passed between 1860 and 1880 explicitly accepted the regulars’ assertions that the interruption of gestation at any point in a pregnancy should be crime and that ate state itself should try actively to restrict the practice of abortion (200). Consequently, after four decades of rapid change, American abortion policy re-estabilized during the final two decades of the nineteenth century while legislative responses typical to the 1860s and 1870s wove themselves deeply into the fabric of American law. There they would remain through the first two thirds of the twentieth century (245).
The Roe vs. Wade case is told by Mohr so bring up to today’s law in practice. A single, pregnant woman, assigned the pseudonym Jane Roe by the court to protect her privacy, took action in 1970 against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, where Jane Roe lived, in an effort to prevent him from enforcing the Texas state anti-abortion statute on the grounds that it violated the United States Constitution. The law that Jane Roe wanted struck down dated form the 1850s. After hearing the case argued in December 1971, and reargued in October 1972, the Supreme Court finally rendered its decision in January 1973. Jane Roe “won” the case in a technical sense, for the majority ruled that Texas anti-abortion sense, for the majority ruled that the Texas anti-abortion statue was indeed unconstitutional as drafted.
Moreover, all similar statues then in effect in other stated were likewise declared to be unconstitutional. By itself this portion of the decision would not only have undone all that the physicians’ crusade of the nineteenth century had brought about, but would have left the nation with an abortion policy considerably more tolerant of the practice than the common law had been two hundred years earlier (247). Roger Rosenblatt gives us his opinion on abortion. My stand on abortion is conventionally. Pro-choice: Every woman in America, in my opinion, ought to have the legal right to choose an abortion. The belief that a clear-cut intellectual or moral compromise is available to the issue, is wrong.
If abortion is considered murder, how can it ever be entirely acceptable to those who oppose it, even though they may allow certain exceptions to the rule. If it’s not considered murder, on what grounds would those who favor abortion rights want them restricted? Nor do I believe that the question of when life begins, over which there is so much scientific and spiritual haggling, is pertinent or useful to the debate. I would be perfectly willing to concede that life begins at conception, yet I would still advocate a system in which the killing of an unborn child is preferable to forcing an unwilling mother to give birth. And I do not believe that community rights in this matter are equal to individual rights. While the rights of the community are not to be ignored, the final decision should be the individual woman’s no matter how misguided she may be thought or how strongly the rest of society disapproves (1-10). Dr.
Hodgson said that she did not think abortion constituted killing at all. The obstetrician said, ” I think I have done a humane service for lots of women in this world. I don’t look upon (abortion) as killing, because I do not consider that any embryo or fetus is a person. It is a potential person “(24). The killer of women is illegal abortion and that is why women should have a choice.
The question is, when you have a woman’s life and her needs and her health on the one side and the developing fetus on the other, a choice has to be made. And the choice should be left to the individual. Father McBrien stated his personal and religious morality forbade his approving of abortion in any situation, but even in this he was willing to accept his role as an American citizen, which requires people to live with several things they dislike (28). Brian Elroy Mc, tells us the abortion stance of most Christians is one sided. In reality there is merely evidence that most people will listen to their pastors and to Christian radio broadcaster. They merely listen to others who quote a verse to support a view they heard from someone else.
By definition, most Christians, rather than reading for themselves, follow the beliefs of a Culture of Christianity – and many of the Culture’s beliefs are based on one or two verses of the Bible, often taken out of context (5-1). Lets take a look at what God has to say in the Bible. The commandment against murder. Psalms 139:13-16, has been used by Christians and taken out of text to serve the point of ant-abortion. These are used to try and state that the fetus is a human and that abortion is murder. A lot of verses in the Bible can be taken out of text Palms 10:1, could be used to state that God has abandoned us. Also Job 10:18-19, could be used to state that the Bible supports ending a pregnancy in the face of a life without quality. According to Elroy, it’s time to stop the one-sided view of abortion being proclaimed by Christian leaders.
These leaders do not despite their claims have a biblical mandate for their theologies. It is time to stop preaching that the Bible contain and undeniable doctrine against abortion doctors and upon women who have abortions, especially when it’s done in the name of a God who has no written such condemnations in his Bible. It is time to stop, because the act of making a judgement against people in God’s name, when God is not behind the judging, is nothing short of claiming that our own beliefs are more important than God’s. We must stop, because if we don’t, then indeed the very type of theological argument being used against abortion can be turned around and used to proclaim that abortion is biblical (18). Effects on an abortion and their ridicule that goes along with it can leave scars that can last a lifetime.
These are a lists of questions asked to an unnamed woman who has become a victim of the anti-abortion propaganda. Lets take a look at how her decision to have an abortion has changed her life. Q: Why did you have an abortion? A: I was too young, and pressured by parents to have an abortion as their religion did not accept premarital intercourse and the child would be considered illegitamate, even if she and the father were to have wed. Q: How does it effect you now? A: I’ve got emotional scars, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a burden that you carry for life. I still think about it. Q: How often do you think about it? A: Once or twice a month, especially in June, which was the month I had it done.
Q: Do you remember the day? A: Yes, June 7th, 1988. Q: How did you feel right after it was over? A: Well, after I woke up and came around, I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders and I remember my Dad saying “That’s my Tiger, she’s back” I was back to my old bubbly self, or so I thought. Q: What kind of advice would you give a young girl in the same situation? A: Think long and hard, you will always have a sense of doubt, did I make the right choice or I wonder if I didn’t. Q: Which way would you lean towards in trying to direct this girl in the same situation? A: I would not influence her, it’s her decision. I would tell her my story and how it’s effected my life.
Q: When did you realize it would never go away? A: When my current child was born. Q: Did you think it was a fetus or a live child? A: A fetus, because there was no heart beat. Q: Are you going to tell your children about it to change their views on premarital sex? A: When they are old enough to understand, yes, so they won’t be pressured into the same situation. The suffering caused by abortion can be about many different feelings, such as anger, grief, guilt, shame and spiritual injury. The interview with the victim has clearly shown that these feelings may last a lifetime.
This is even more reason why education before conception, pre and post abortion is so important. There’s a book called Peace after Abortion that can help heal some of these feelings she might be experiencing. A word about Pro-Life from Rosenblatt, the effort to reduce the necessity of abortion, which is the same as an effort to improve much that needs improving in this country, is to choose life as whole-heartedly as it is to be “Pro-life.” By such an effort one is choosing life for millions who do not want to be, who do not deserve to be, forever hobbled by an accident, a mistake, or by miseducation. By such an effort one is also choosing a different sort of like for the country as a whole-a more sympathetic life in which we acknowledge, privileged and unprivileged alike, that we have the same doubts and mysteries and hopes for one another (179). We’ve got to eliminate the cause of unwanted pregnancies, and if we can work together, liberals and conservatives, religious people and non religious people alike, to eliminate the reasons why young women feel that they must have an abortion when they don’t want to have an abortion, then we can, together, do something constructive and stop this useless and endless debate about whether there’s a baby there with a personality or whether or not it’s simply a woman’s right.
It is right that we have the choice, but it would be better if we did not have to make it. Bibliography Elroy, Brian Mc. The Bible and Abortion, Why abortion is Biblical www.elroy.com/her/abortion.html The Every day Bible, ( New century version ) 87-51673. Peace after abortion, an internet site that offers help for women. www.peacesafterabortion.com Mohr, James C.
Abortion in America. New York: Oxford university Press,1978. Rosenblatt, Roger. Life Itself Abortion in American Mind. New York: Random House,1992.
Unnamed Interview. A women who experienced abortion first hand.