- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; Revised ed. edition (Sept. 21 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520216571
- ISBN-13: 978-0520216570
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 544 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #988,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 Paperback – Sep 21 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1900, women attempted to induce abortions by inserting knitting needles, crochet hooks, hairpins, scissors, chicken feathers and cotton balls into their uteruses. In 1917, black women "pinned their faith on... [the] ingestion of... starch or gunpowder and whiskey." Reagan, an assistant professor of history, medicine and women's studies at the University of Illinois, dedicates her disturbing work on abortion in America before Roe v. Wade to "the lives of... women who died trying to control their reproduction." She chronicles the covert efforts and subsequent prosecution of doctors and midwives, and of unmarried women and their lovers (while married women made up the majority of clientele and were accused of "race suicide," they were pursued less often). Reagan has her work cut out for her: Though the law forbade abortions, she writes, "some late-nineteenth-century doctors believed there were two million abortions [performed] every year." And then, as now, debate raged: though some doctors disagreed, the Journal of the American Medical Association declared itself against abortion in the case of rape since "pregnancy is rare after real rape." For those who take legal abortion for granted, Reagan's work is an eye-opener.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA?Most books written about this subject focus on the post-Roe v. Wade period. Reagan relates heart-wrenching stories of women who survived abortions and those who did not. She includes narratives from physicians, midwives, husbands, and boyfriends. The stories of poisonous potions drunk by women in an attempt to "open up the womb" remind readers that reliable birth control and pregnancy tests are recent developments. The author's research for this book comes from the Chicago AMA archives beginning in the mid-1800s when the organization led the way to criminalize abortion. Reagan utilized court records, police reports, medical literature of the day, and coroners' reports. The result is a scholarly chronicle of abortion in a large city. Containing 112 pages of endnotes and bibliography, and a 20-page index, this is a well-researched, organized, and interesting look at the inception and expansion of women's reproductive freedom as a political issue. After reading it, YAs will be better informed about the complexities of this ever-controversial subject.?Nancy Karst, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Leslie Reagan also refers to how common abortion is, as if that had any bearing on whether it is an acceptable practice or not. After all, there was a time when slavery was very common. Domestic violence is also very common. Even if every single woman in America has had an abortion, that has absolutely no bearing on whether the practice is ethical or not. Again, the liberal viewpoint dissolves into a sort of relativism that cannot be penetrated by rational thought.
The quality of a society can be measured by how that society treats its most helpless members. In the United States, more often than not, the "progressive" view is that we have the right to kill them. With that fact in mind, I'm afaid that future generations will look back on our abortion culture with the same revulsion and shame that we now look back on slavery.
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