Bringing down the flowers: The controversial history of abortion

posted by
March 3, 2016
The Atlantic
by Olga Khazan  
Posted in Commentary, PND Commentary

"The modern abortion debate can feel like trench warfare, with diametrically opposed camps and very few defectors. Surprisingly, though, even the history of abortion is contentious. It's widely known that there was a legal crackdown on abortion in the U.S. in the 19th century, and clandestine abortions persisted until the practice was legalized with Roe v. Wade in 1973. But scholars don't agree on whether, before the 1800s, abortion was relatively common and legally accepted, or whether it was considered a grave crime, when it happened at all. This is no idle academic spat. English common law provides the basis for much of the legal precedent in the U.S. (and elsewhere in the former British empire.) More importantly, in his majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun cited the historic acceptability of abortion." (03/02/16)  


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