So I got bored and decided to make this post. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for awhile because I love a good origin story and there seems to be an “air” when talking about abortion, it seems like people seriously think abortion only started from around the time of roe vrs wade, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If this is too long for you, I want you to take away one thing; abortion has been a thing since the beginning of people, and it will always be around, that will never change.
The earliest form of recorded abortion dates back to before 1550 BCE in ancient Egypt (Ancient Egypt as we all know was unbelievably innovative for their time) the Ebers Papyrus was an ancient Egyptian medical text. The Ebers Papyrus suggests that an abortion could be induced with the use of Plant like tampons, herbal remedies, or toxins such as mercury, etc. All people of the ancient world within their eras (Romans, Persians, Egyptians, etc) used these types of abortive methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
What is thought of as the earliest abortion ban that can be sourced was around the 11th-century BCE. This ban was from the “ Code of Assura”, which states something like, you will be put to death if you are married and seek an abortion without your husbands consent. There were bans kind of like this throughout the world at the time, in some places like Greece there were texts recording trials of people trying to get an abortion, most likely these people did not get the permission of their husbands either, which is why they were on trial. Later in time Aristotle went on to say that abortion was ethical if preformed within the first trimester. Physicians, but mostly Midwives around the world for quite some time believed in varying degrees of abortion and it’s morality and whether or not they would perform it. Bans like we see in modern time are fairly recent.
Common types of abortions before modern medicine were using things such as plants and herbs to induce abortion (if you are reading this and are looking to do a DIY abortion, please do not, it’s not safe to do it on your own and using these methods will harm you) Things like catnip, worm fern aka”prostitute root”, Pennyroyal, etc were used. People seeking abortions were also told to do things such as really vigorous exercise, put pressure on the abdomen, use stones or sharp objects to hurt themselves, etc.
I am going to go ahead and skip forward to America and Europe starting in the 1600’s because that is a little more recent and is when things started to change. Abortions back in those times were on the premise of “quickening” (as you’ll see, this has evolved into a modern idea for abortion bans today)
"quickening" was a term used for when someone would first feel the fetus kick or move around. This could be anywhere from 14 weeks to 26, and that is how they determined when an abortion was allowed to be performed. Abortion during this time was not only legal but it was safe (for the time) and was not nearly as taboo or looked down upon as now (weird how the puritans could get the need for abortion)
Official abortion bans were not seem in America until 1821, and abortions bans before quickening were not seen until 1860. As Victorian ideals started to sweep through America the thoughts about abortion started to change. By 1910 abortion was a criminal act, unless it was to save a pregnant person life. The reason this started to change was because we were in a new era, the social, class, and family dynamics had changed. Abortion was thought to be increasing female independence, which was perceived as a threat to male power at the time (hmm..)
During the mid-19th century, American physicians also began take issue with other types of medical people. Regular male doctors didn’t like homeopaths and midwives (who primarily performed abortions) and thought that they people were taking away from the legitimacy of male dominated scientific medicine, so in attempt to assert their authority (hey, there are those roots in dominating women again) they sided with abortion restrictions. Together a team of male doctors backed by the American Medical Association, the Catholic Church, and biased newspapers (think lifenews) began to campaign for the criminalization of abortion. By the turn of the century, this coalition had largely succeeded in limiting medical choices. Turning abortion back into it’s primitive and unsafe practice.
And then I think we all know the story up to Roe vrs Wade and beyond.
In researching this I found it interesting to look at the roots of modern day abortion stigma and bans. So if you didn’t know, now you do.So I will reiterate, abortion has always been around and it will always be around. Whether we keep it safe or not will be up to our future. -cylina
did you know that the main reason we have a school lunch program is that in 1946 kids were too underfed to qualify for military service bc i just found that out and am horrified
nobody cares about children’s well being without an ulterior motive
the “you live with your parents” insult is really flaccid because a metric shitton of cultures don’t see “leave the house forever” as some grandiose moment of liberation that’s so important to the development of a person that it has to happen as fast as possible. until i came to the USA i didn’t know a single person who was pressured by their parents to leave the house because they’re “too old to stay there” or whatever. in puerto rico it is really common to stay with your parents until they and you are both stable enough that you can leave. whaddaya know, there are cultures that don’t place a stigma on being poor or wanting to care for your family or needing your family to care for you for some other reason.