Epiphani Miskel



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Epiphani Miskel

Abortion is nothing new; abortion has been practiced since ancient times. In ancient times herbs and natural mixes were used to kill off the child or “excuse the pregnancy” (Women’s History). In 1500 B.C.E, Egypt recorded the first abortion in what is known as the Ebers Papyrus. Another recorded abortion dates back to 500 B.C.E in China. In china they used very toxic mercury to kill off the child. In this time period aborting with herbal mixes were more common, but as time progresses methods become worse. The main people who discussed abortion were poets, lawyers, historians, doctors, and philosophers. In the Mediterranean part of the world, a lot of people felt that aborting was necessary and a good thing, especially with the era. Like today there were many who supported abortion; some of the reasons are trying to hide the fact that there was sexual intercourse, reducing heirs within a family, avoiding costs of raising a child, avoid the fact that the child will be disabled, and simply prevent the number of children in a society. In ancient times of course there were a lot of unsafe ways to give an abortion, and a lot of these ways turned into experiences to justify the best way to abort the child. Some methods used to abort in ancient times were eating feces of an elephant or crocodile or eating a concoction of colocynth [it’s a spongy fruit like a watermelon that has a strong laxative]. In Hebrew if you aborted before 40 days after you conceived then it wasn’t considered a crime. Now, it’s against the religion to abort. It seems that all the ways they gave women to abort was also hurting towards them as well. Many women have died because of methods such as leaping or electricity around the thighs; any possible thing you could do to hurt the woman or child was considered. Near modern times, women would lose a job if they were pregnant so they would abort to keep supporting their family during The Depression. It was rare that women would keep the child and lose a job, plus aborting at this time was illegal. During history every time abortion has become illegal, women will take the risks of endangering themselves health wise to get rid of the human being inside them. Who knew it was really that serious, but that just proves how much lengths people go to get rid of something that will change the course of their life. In the 1940’ and 1950’s about 5,000 women died from illegal abortions per year. There have been many cases of when life begins and women killing their child. These cases are normal, at a certain stage if you kill a child inside you, you can go to prison for it. Norma McCorvey’s was the lady in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion January 22, 1973. In this case they declared most existing state abortion laws unconstitutional. This decision ruled out any legislative interference in the first trimester of pregnancy and put limits on what restrictions could be passed on abortions in later stages of pregnancy. While many celebrated the decision, others, especially in the Roman Catholic Church and in theologically conservative Christian groups, did not like this change. "Pro-life" and "pro-choice" evolved as the most common self-chosen names of the two movements, one to outlaw most abortion and the other to eliminate most legislative restrictions on abortions. Statistics prove that over 46 million women get abortions worldwide per year and over 126,000 get them a day worldwide. 78% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 22% occur in developed countries. About 26 million women obtain legal abortions each year, while an additional 20 million abortions are obtained in countries where it is restricted or prohibited by law, but for some reason it is legal for women to abort in the USA at any time throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy for any reason. In the United States, abortion laws began to appear in the 1820s, forbidding abortion after the fourth month of pregnancy. Through the efforts primarily of physicians, the American Medical Association, and legislators, most abortions in the US had been outlawed by 1900. Illegal abortions were still frequent, though they became less frequent during the reign of the Comstock Law which essentially banned birth control information and devices. Some early feminists, like Susan B. Anthony, wrote against abortion. They opposed abortion which at the time was an unsafe medical procedure for women, endangering their health and life. These feminists believed that only the achievement of women's equality and freedom would end the need for abortion. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in The Revolution, "But where shall it be found, at least begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of woman?" They wrote that prevention was more important than punishment, and blamed circumstances, laws and the men they believed drove women to abortions. Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote in 1868, "I hesitate not to assert that most of this crime of child murder, abortion, infanticide, lies at the door of the male sex..." Later feminists defended safe and effective birth control as another way to prevent abortion. Most of today's abortion rights organizations also state that safe and effective birth control, adequate sex education, available health care, and the ability to support children adequately are essentials to preventing the need for many abortions. By 1965, all fifty states banned abortion, with some exceptions which varied by state: to save the life of the mother, in cases of rape or incest, or if the fetus was deformed. Groups like the National Abortion Rights Action League and the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion worked to liberalize anti-abortion laws in the past and today.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Abortion - History of Abortion in the United States." Women's History - Comprehensive Women's History Research Guide. 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 01 Nov. 2010. .


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