History of abortion (Greece to present).

Jan 16 1991

*** in a message to Kim Storment 12-20-90 George Mosley said:
GM> Incidentally, if the a. topic ever comes back up & someone tries
GM> to make the appeal to history (our degenerate times allow
GM> abortions), I now have proof that it occurred for centuries
GM> without censure in Rome, Greece (which everyone seems to know
GM> about), and the Gaullic/Germanic areas.
That is not strictly speaking true for Greece or Rome.  At various times in
Greek culture there were attempts to make abortion illegal so as not to allow
the woman any power.  At the same time however the father was allowed to
expose any of his children that he wished. You can see this in the original
text of the Hippocratic oath.  Of course there were times in Greek history
when abortion was allowed, or at least if illegal not punished.  Of course
what was true for one city at any particular time might not be true for
another at the same time.  With the wide variety of city states at any given
time you probably could find a place where a woman was allowed to get an
abortion, as well as a place she was not.

In the early period of Rome population pressure forced some emperors to
prohibit the fathers traditional right to expose his children.  At the same
time abortion was also banned by law.  However, by the time of the empire
abortion was once again legal in many circumstances, and tolerated in the

I find that many people who try to refute abortion by using history seem to
think that abortion was not allowed in the days of the "Founding Fathers",
they think of it as a recent event.

On the contrary, the illegality of abortion was a recent event, from the mid
1800's.  Abortions were performed, nor were illegal in the US,  "At the
beginning of the nineteenth century all countries with British Common law
allowed abortions at least until quickening (about four moths gestation) and
possibly throughout pregnancy" [1].

The first state to restrict abortions was Connecticut in 1821, which passed a
law prohibiting a woman "quick with child" [2] from receiving an abortion,
which still left her free to receive one within the first four months of

In 1828 New York passed its first anti-abortion law in an attempt to protect
the life of the MOTHER.  The death rate from abortions was 30%, as opposed to
3% from delivery [3].

The anti-abortion movement of the mid 1800's was brought about by physicians
in an attempt to, "professionalize medicine" [1].  They also desired to use
the anti-abortion laws against their competition [2].

Therefore, you should point out to anti-choicers, we can view the attempts to
ban abortion as a recent irregularity in cultural norms, brought about by an
attempt to provide better health care for women, which is no longer
1. Abortion Freedom a Worldwide Movement, C. Francome 1984.
2. Abortion in America, J.C. Mohr 1978.
3. The Phoenix of Abortion Freedom, C. Means 1971.
   Robert Emond to George Mosley (quoted)
   Origin: Tyler (Tx) Open Forum! 903-534-1918 - 17000+ Files (1:3801/1)