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Abortion

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In 2005, abortion is progressively more tolerated as a method of birth control, in contrast abortion was portrayed to be immoral during the time “A Raisin in the Sun” was written. Abortion is nothing new though, nor is the resistance of abortion to the church. In A.D. 314, a church council in Ancrya made the statement: “Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees.” Ancient civilization still needed to cope with the issues of the number of their off spring. Ancient civilization yearned for effective means to limit births. Since they did not have means of surgically removing their off spring they turned to other methods. These include forceful exercises, carrying unusually heavy weights, leaping viciously and being shaken by wild or controlled animals. These methods seem unreasonably violent and possibly painful compared to today's methods. Another way to conduct an abortion was to literally separate the womb from the uterus. To fabricate the separation, one had to empty the abdomen and cleanse it with warm, sweet olive oil as injections. Next, bathe the body in sweet water, remaining in the tub, drinking a little wine first and eating spicy food. Before abortion, women would take lingering baths, eat little or no food, use softening vaginal suppositories and be bled in considerable amounts. If caught doing so, the woman would be killed on a stake and unable to be buried. Abortion was legal until the catholic church conflicted. In 1588 Pope Sixtus V said that abortion was the same as

murder and given the same penalties. Within three years Pope Gregory XVI rid penalties if abortion was before 40 days after conception. Pope Pius IX created the punishment

for the “sin of abortion to be excommunicated” in 1869. In Massachusetts, the first Supreme Court case dealing with abortion was Commonwealth vs. Bangs. In 1812 the Supreme Court ruled that “abortion within the woman's consent was legal before fetal movement.” The first state to make abortion a crime to give a woman "quick with child" a poison to initiate miscarriage was Connecticut. New York criminalized the execution of abortions except to save the mother in 1830. In 1845 New York was the first state to put women at risk of prosecution for under going an abortion. Between 1821 and 1841, ten states established laws against abortion except under the conditions of the mothers’ life.

The AMA (American Medical Association), founded in 1847, was created to make standards professional. In 1859, the AMA approved a resolution condemning

abortion and advocating states to make it illegal. Every state did change their laws

eventually. By the end of the century abortion was a crime all over the nation and followed by a campaign to notify Americans of other means birth control. In 1873, U.S. Congress passed the Comstock law that banned the mailing of any material that was obscene including contraception and abortion. Abortion was still accomplished illegally and women still had access to birth control but not as concentrated on abortions.

Throughout the 20th century numerous laws and acts were passed dealing with abortion. Abortion is the most litigated and exposed issue in the field of medicine. In 1929 the Infant Life Act was passed which “allowed abortions to be terminated when the

mothers’ life was at risk and illegal to kill a child 'capable of being born live', and set 28 weeks as the age at which a fetus was assumed to be able to survive.” The 'Bourne

Judgement' was passed in 1938 where Dr. Alex Bourne completed an abortion on a 14-year-old girl after a group of soldiers raped her. Dr Bourne told the police and was

prosecuted. The judge ruled that Dr. Bourne acted in the honest belief that this abortion would “preserve the life of the mother”. This paved the way for other doctors to read between the lines of the law more openly because it recognized that preserving a womans’ life could mean more than inhibiting her death. In 1959, the American Law Institute's a Model Penal Code that included a segment on abortion law improvement. In addition to rescuing the life of the pregnant woman, it recommended that abortion be validated when there was a considerable risk to the mental or physical health of the woman when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. The 1967 Abortion Act by David Steel let women at risk of injury to her of her unborn child’s physical or mental health to terminate the

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