When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973

As we approach the 30th anniversary of Roe v Wade, it s crucial to look back to the time when abortion was illegal Leslie Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion, which although illegal was nonetheless widely available, but always with threats for both doctor and patient In a time when many young women don t even know that there was a period when abortion waAs we approach the 30th anniversary of Roe v Wade, it s crucial to look back to the time when abortion was illegal Leslie Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion, which although illegal was nonetheless widely available, but always with threats for both doctor and patient In a time when many young women don t even know that there was a period when abortion was a crime, this work offers chilling and vital lessons of importance to everyone.The linking of the words abortion and crime emphasizes the difficult and painful history that is the focus of Leslie J Reagan s important book Her study is the first to examine the entire period during which abortion was illegal in the United States, beginning in the mid nineteenth century and ending with Roe v Wade in 1973 Although illegal, millions of abortions were provided during these years to women of every class, race, and marital status The experiences and perspectives of these women, as well as their physicians and midwives, are movingly portrayed here.Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion While abortions have been typically portrayed as grim back alley operations, she finds that abortion providers often practiced openly and safely Moreover, numerous physicians performed abortions, despite prohibitions by the state and the American Medical Association Women often found cooperative practioners, but prosecution, public humiliation, loss of privacy, and inferior medical care were a constant threat.Reagan s analysis of previously untapped sources, including inquest records and trial transcripts, shows the fragility of patient rights and raises provocative questions about the relationship between medicine and law With the right to abortion again under attack in the United States, this book offers vital lessons for every American concerned with health care, civil liberties, and personal and sexual freedom.
When Abortion Was a Crime Women Medicine and Law in the United States As we approach the th anniversary of Roe v Wade it s crucial to look back to the time when abortion was illegal Leslie Reagan traces the practice and policing of abortion which although illegal wa

  • Title: When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973
  • Author: Leslie J. Reagan
  • ISBN: 9780520216570
  • Page: 363
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973”

    1. The demand for abortion has always existed and has never waned, but has experienced varying degrees of criminality, legality, and stigma. Reagan's book is testament to the hard truth that abortion has and always will be needed and is a fundamental reproductive right. One of the few books chronicling the long period of illegal abortion in the United States, this book is a well-researched, vital resource for understanding the public and private history of abortion. Using information from doctors, [...]

    2. There are several things that make this book stand out: its unique subject matter, its overall tone and the high quality of original research that obviously went into it. When Abortion was a Crime deals with the period of just over 100 years when abortion was prohibited by law in most circumstances in the United States. This is something that, surprisingly, has seldom been explored in detail, which is unfortunate given the continued and quixotic efforts of so many state legislatures to return th [...]

    3. Great feminist read. It really helped me understand the arguments behind legalizing abortion much better. This book also also changed my perceptions about women, sexuality, motherhood, and the pervasiveness of abortion in the past.

    4. This was an excellent look into the history of abortion. Reagan successfully debunks a number of the myths surrounding the history of abortion, and illustrates how abortion in recent years has distorted the truth regarding its past. An excellent and well-balanced book.

    5. Leslie J. Reagan’s When Abortion Was a Crime is the first study of the entire period of illegal abortion in the United States. Over eight chapters, Reagan examines “the triangle of interactions among the medical profession, state authorities, and women in the practice, policing, and politics of abortion during the era when abortion was a crime” (p. 1). The result is a multifaceted analysis of the still controversial medical procedure that connects the experiences of women and local medical [...]

    6. This book both explores the history of illegal abortion and, in doing so, simultaneously creates a compelling case for its continued legalization. I think it would be impossible to read this book and remain convinced that abortion is anything but a necessary human right, and Reagan also frames this right as central to protecting patient autonomy over their health and bodies.Most shocking about this history are the different reasons why abortion became increasingly regulated over the years-- I pe [...]

    7. Solid. Academic. Very thin, theoretically speaking. What analysis there was felt dated. You’d need a particular interest in the topic, because the writing itself is not compelling.

    8. An amazing history of how abortion has evolved through the years, and such great evidence of why abortion is so crucial to our society today.

    9. An exciting, well researched look into the history of abortion in the US. Reagan examines the interaction of women, doctors, and social/ cultural/ political/ religious leaders over 106 years in which abortion was illegal in every state. Her focus on Chicago provides an interesting window into the sexual and reproductive politics in a growing and diversifying industrial urban center. Reagan finds that enforcement of the law and prosecution of those who defied the law varied over time. The Depress [...]

    10. This is a very detailed history of the 100+ years that abortion was a crime in the USA. I had previously read another book on the subject and I felt the author was biased and her personal opinions kept peeking through, not the case with Leslie J. Reagan. I appreciated the facts without the opinion mixed in. I also loved the seriously detailed references she included. I came away from this book with a deeper understanding of this controversial subject.I would definitely recommend it to others who [...]

    11. Super interesting look at the 100 + years that abortion was officially illegal. I think that the biggest surprise was in regards to public opinion during the first 50 or so years of illegality, when the law did not match the general public opinion of abortion. Intro and Epilogue are very obviously written from one particular side of the story, but the bulk of the book is quite fair in telling the facts of this time period.

    12. I admit I did not finish this book (I read all but the last chapter). It was literally giving me nightmares. Without getting too politic-y, I'm a pro-choice Democrat, but I don't think I would personally choose abortion. I have felt for a long time that if abortion would be criminalized, there would be serious consequences, and this book and its thorough research bears that out. Very interesting, if horrifying.

    13. I found it sad and discouraging that in all cases where a change in the laws and procedures occurred, women’s voices were silent. Women’s experiences and lives were completely discounted and ignored. Only after Roe did we start to find our voices… but we still have so far to go.A good and thorough history of an underground and basically undocumented American experience.

    14. This book contains in-depth research into the statutory, regulatory, and professional practice barriers to abortion prior to Roe V Wade and Doe v Bolton. Reagan's analysis is directly relevant to today's climate surrounding abortion. The restrictions that we see today are an extension to pass efforts to control access to reproductive health services.

    15. Kind of dry at times, but an IMPORTANT read that gets to the heart of why abortion access restrictions, overturning Roe v. Wade are so terrifying. This is probably one of the best books about the history of abortion I've read.

    16. I'm really interested in Reagan's assertion that the German Measles epidemic in the 1960s played a role in legalizing abortion. eurekalert/pub_release

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