Abortion has been common since the 18th century, and the debate began shortly after – comment – New Hampshire Bulletin
The fighting between the states is heating up in the wake of the news that the The US Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the decision landmark judgments – Roe v. calf and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey – and eliminate constitutional protection for abortion rights.
While many people may think that the political controversy surrounding abortion is fresh and new now, scholars of women’s, medical, and legal history note that this debate has a long history in the United States
It started more than a century ago Roe v. calfthe 1973 ruling that established that the Constitution protects a person’s right to an abortion.
The Era of “The Pill”
On November 14, 1972, a controversial two-part episode of the groundbreaking television show “maude“ aired.
The episodes, titled “Maude’s Dilemma,” chronicled the main character’s decision to have an abortion.
Roe v. calf was issued two months after those episodes. The verdict affirmed the right to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. “Maude’s Dilemma” took the abortion fight from the streets and courthouses to prime-time television.
Reactions to the episodes ranged from Party to the point of angerwhich reflected the contemporary attitude towards abortion.
Less than 10 years before Maude’s Dilemma aired, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first commercially produced film birth control pillsB. Enovid-10.
Commonly known as “The Pill,” the wider accessibility of birth control is viewed as one early victory the burgeoning women’s liberation movement.
Abortion also became a prominent issue within this burgeoning movement. For many feminist activists of the 1960s and 1970s, women’s right to control their own reproductive lives became inseparable from women’s rights larger platform of gender equality.
Both in the United States and around the world, women from a variety of backgrounds attempted to terminate unwanted pregnancies before and during this time. For example, enslaved black women in the United States developed abortifacients—drugs that induce abortions—and abortion practices as a means to do so terminate pregnancies after rapes and forced sexual encounters with white male slave owners.
In the mid to late 19th century, more and more states passed anti-abortion laws, prompted by both moral and safety concerns. Primarily motivated by fears of high risk of injury or death, naturopath notably led the prosecution for anti-abortion legislation during this period.
By 1860, the American Medical Association was trying to do it End legal abortion. That Comstock Act of 1873 criminalized obtaining, producing, or publishing information about contraception, sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and how to perform an abortion.
An increase in fear of the new immigrant and newly emancipated blacks, who reproduced at higher rates than the white population, also led to more resistance to legal abortion.
There is a ongoing dispute on whether famous 19th-century women activists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were anti-abortion.
References of the anti-abortion movement Testify made by Anthony who appear to denounce abortion. Supporters of abortion rights reject this understanding the views of Stanton, Anthony, and other early American women’s rights activists on abortion. They allege that statements about infanticide and motherhood have been misrepresented and falsely attributed to these activists.
These differing historical interpretations provide two distinct frameworks for both historical and contemporary abortion and anti-abortion activism.
Around the turn of the 20th century every state made abortion a crimewith some states including limited exceptions for medical emergencies and cases of rape and incest.
Despite the criminalization by the 1930s, doctors perform nearly a million abortions every year. This number does not take into account abortions performed by alternative practitioners or through undocumented channels and methods.
However, it was not until the women’s liberation movement and sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s that abortion became a hotly debated political issue. These movements brought renewed interest in public discussions about reproductive rights, family planning, and access to legal and safe abortion services.
1962, the story of Sherri Finkbinelocal Phoenix, Arizona, host of the Romper Room children’s program, became national news.
Finkbine had four children and had been on a drug, thalidomide, before realizing she was pregnant with her fifth child. Concerned that the drug could cause serious birth defects, she attempted an abortion in her home state of Arizona but was unable. She then traveled to Sweden for a legal abortion. Finkbine’s story is credited with helping bring about change public opinion pro-abortion and was at the center of a growing national call for abortion reform legislation.
Two years after Finkbine’s story made headlines, the death of Gerry Santoroa woman who died seeking an illegal abortion in Connecticut ignited a new passion among those who wanted to legalize abortion.
Santoro’s death, along with many other reported deaths and injuries, also sparked the creation of underground networks such as The Jane Collective To offer abortion services to those who wish to terminate a pregnancy.
Expansion of legal abortion
In 1967 Colorado became the first state Legalize abortion for rape, incest or pregnancy would cause a permanent physical disability to the birth parent.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. calf repealed existing state laws prohibiting abortions and provided guidelines for the availability of abortions based on trimesters and fetal viability. The subsequent 1992 judgment known as Casey affirmed roe, while also allowing states to impose certain restrictions on abortion rights. Roe remains the most important legal statute for access to abortion in modern US history.
Since roe, the abortion litigation has raged, centered on the Supreme Court. If the draft opinion is overruled roe and Casey stands, the battle will end there and shift to the states, which will have the power to ban abortion without fear of a run-in with the Supreme Court. And the long history of the abortion conflict in the US suggests that this will not be the final chapter in the political struggle for legal abortion.