There is a general assumption among pro-life advocates that abortion is a relatively new phenomenon in American life. Abortion advocates conversely present an argument that abortion as always been a necessary reality. Historical balance shows that abortion has been around for quite some time, but its acceptance by anything close to a majority is indeed a recent arrival In the annals of American history. Maryland handed down the first known conviction for the “Intention to abort” In 1652.
In 1710 Virginia made it a capital crime to conceal a pregnancy and then be found tit a dead baby. Delaware followed In 1719 with a law that made anyone who counseled abortion or Infanticide an accessory to murder. Early In American history, surgical abortion was generally a death sentence to mother and unborn child; Infections most often cost the mother her life. One problem In convicting someone of abortion at that time was the difficulty aligned with confirming a pregnancy. Pregnancy was difficult to verify, and juries tended to sympathize with desperate and abandoned women.
One factor that limited widespread abortion was he fact men tended to “act honorably’ and offer marriage to a woman he impregnated out of wedlock. From the time of John Calvin and on, religious communities consistently condemned abortion. Up until the mid sass, many doctors believed that babies existed in the egg before conception. It was also very difficult to confirm pregnancy in time for early abortions. As populations became more spread out an isolated, abortion began to take a foothold. As it did, lawmakers stepped into express the will of the general populace.
The first abortion legislation was passed in Connecticut in 1821. New York passed a number of ant-abortion laws in the early sass. Even so, abortion continued to rise. The general consensus of both the public and lawmakers was that it wasn’t the women having abortions that should be prosecuted, but rather those performing them. As one observer of the time noted: Some states gave immunity to women from all criminal allowably, partly because women pregnant after seduction were considered desperate victims rather than repudiators, and partly because of the search for any kind of edge In prosecution.
New Jersey, New York, and other states gave women Immunity from prosecution In exchange for testimony… By providing either no or low penalties, so that a woman would testify that she had been pregnant, prosecutors had a chance to leap the evidential hurdles of convincing a Jury an abortion actually had occurred. Sass. In spite of this, abortionists advertised heavily in papers like the Penny Press, though they never used the word abortion. The biggest boon to the abortion industry was the boom in another endeavor, prostitution.
Increased industrialization made business travel far more common for many American men, and the anonymity that went along with such travel gave them far more chances to seek out prostitutes. By the middle of the sass, there were around 60,000 prostitutes in America. With little birth control and an average of thirty to forty sexual encounters a week, frequent pregnancy was inevitable. John Warren , a New York detective, observed that abortionists were “flourishing and rowing rich from prostitution as a source of income. One New York physician noted, “Our profession is not entirely clear of complicity in the crime of fetid. Tempted by thirty pieces of silver … Individuals may be found in whom the honorable instincts and teachings of the guild are lost in the influence of unprincipled cupidity. ” Just as today, the majority of abortionists were driven by profit, not principle. Marvin Alaska estimates, based on a careful ten-point equation, that approximately 100,000 prostitution-related