Essay about Legal Development of Abortion

1322 Words 6 Pages
Legal Development of Abortion

This essay traces the development of abortion law in English and American society up to the time of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Beginning with Biblical citations, the essay researches the Early Church Fathers on the issue; the American colonies; developments of the 1800's which caused change, and so on.

Up to the time of the Protestant Reformation, the English society inherited its traditional anti-abortion law from the Church practice of 1500 years standing; which belief began even before Christianity as part of the Old Testament Jewish belief. The Old Testament tells us: "Death was not God's doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living" (Wis. 1:13). What is willed is life, and
…show more content…
As a direct result of this, the British Parliament in 1869 passed the "Offenses Against the Persons Act," eliminating the above bifid punishment and dropping the felony punishment back to fertilization. One by one, across the middle years of the 19th century, every then-present state passed its own law against abortion. By 1860, 85% of the population lived in states which had prohibited abortion with new laws. These laws, preceding and following the British example, moved the felony punishment from quickening back to conception. (Dellapenna) Abortionists, if convicted, were sent to jail for varying lengths of time. There is no record of any having been executed.

The definitive study of the question of whether women were punished contradicts Planned Parenthood's ads which have claimed: "If you had a miscarriage you could be prosecuted for murder." (Wash) Studying two hundred years of legal history, the American Center for Bioethics concluded: "No evidence was found to support the proposition that women were prosecuted for undergoing or soliciting abortions. The charge that spontaneous miscarriages could result in criminal prosecution is similarly insupportable. There are no documented instances of prosecution of such women for murder or for any other species of homicide; nor is there evidence that states that had provisions enabling them to prosecute women for procuring abortions ever applied those laws. The vast majority of the courts were

Related Documents