History of abortion
The history of abortion goes back thousands of years, and abortion has been opposed by ethical doctors for just as long. The Oath of Hippocrates, for example, expressly prohibits performing an abortion.
It is estimated that abortion in the United States was as prevalent in the 1840s as it is today:
|“|| In the 1840s, abortion was commercialized and rates of the practice soared, but at the same time a new movement arose ostensibly concerned with the welfare of embryos and fetuses. While some doctors performed abortions, others sought to apply their Hippocratic Oath to the unborn fetuses and worked to outlaw abortion completely. One particular physician, Dr. Horatio Storer, started an anti-abortion crusade in 1857, dismissing the dangers of childbirth and health complications of pregnancy and introducing propaganda that laid out complications and side effects of abortion that were speculative and non-medical. Adding to this movement, Pope Pius IX's 1869 decree that fetal ensoulment occurs at conception rather than at quickening meant that abortion became an offense for which a woman could be excommunicated from the Catholic church.
"Despite these prohibitions," Zlotucha Kozub explains, "women continued to have abortions. The exact rates of induced abortion were estimated to be very high, perhaps as many as one in five pregnancies."
Today estimates are that 19% of pregnancies in the United States terminate in abortion (excluding miscarriages).
Historically all medical school graduates took the Oath of Hippocrates upon graduation, but due to pressure from liberal pro-abortion groups only one school uses the Oath in its original form, and only 8% of the schools include the ban on abortion in their revised Oath.
|“||In 1795 the Marquis de Sade published his La Philosophic dans le boudoir, in which he proposed the use of induced abortion for social reasons and as a means of population control. It is from this time that medical and social acceptance of abortion can be dated, although previously the subject had not been discussed in public in modern times. It is suggested that it was largely due to de Sade's writing that induced abortion received the impetus which resulted in its subsequent spread in western society.||”|
|“||After being the first country to legalize abortion in 1920 under dictator Vladimir Lenin, the former Soviet Union reversed its position in 1936, only to change its position again in 1955 ... for the whole Soviet Union and occupied countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. ... Recent statistics for former Soviet nations such as Romania reveal that more children are aborted than allowed to be born. ... In 1990 Romania saw more than three abortions recorded for each birth in 1990. ... A 2000 report from the World Health Organization revealed that 'Russia and Central-Eastern Europe, with roughly 10 percent of the global population, accounts for up to a third of the 30 million to 40 million abortions registered annually around the world.'||”|