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By James C. Mohr

'The historical past of the way abortion got here to be banned and the way ladies lost--for the century among nearly 1870 and 1970--rights formerly regarded as ordinary 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)

Sample text

In 1843 he published the detailed records he had kept on 300 obstetrical cases that he was involved in prior to 1839. Five of them eventually ended in abortion, and two of those had been illegitimate pregnancies. "56 Even as Metcalf published his statistics, however, the American perception of who was having how many abortions for what purpose was shifting dramatically. That shift, along with a professional resurgence of the regular physicians following their eclipse and disillusionment during the 1830s, would have a profound impact upon the next stage in the evolution of abortion policy in the United States.

Third, the types of women having recourse to abortion seemed to change; the dramatic surge of abortion in the United States after 1840 was attributed not to an increase in illegitimacy or a decline in marital fidelity, but rather to the increasing use of abortion by white, married, Protestant, native-born women of the middle and upper classes who either wished 46 The Great Upsurge of Abortion, 1840-1880 • 47 to delay their childbearing or already had all the children they wanted. This chapter will examine the evidence for the first two of these crucial changes; the following chapter will explore the third.

It is not unreasonable to assume that abortion became more visible at least in part because it was becoming more frequent. And as it became more visible, more and more women would be reminded that it existed as a possible course of action to be considered. The advertisement of abortion services remained vigorous from the early 1840s, when it first appeared, through the late 1870s, when antiadvertising and anti-obscenity laws drove it from the market Ann Lohman, calling herself Madame Restell, helped commercialize abortion in the United States during the 1840s by the use of modern business techniques, including the use of traveling salesmen and the opening of branch offices.

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