The first recorded evidence of induced abortion was in Egypt in 1550BC. Japanese records show abortions being done as early as 12th Century. The Maori, who lived in New Zealand starting around 1250 AD terminated pregnancies via miscarriage-inducing drugs, ceremonial methods and girding the abdomen with a restrictive belt. The Greeks had many methods, mostly using herbs and plants to induce abortion. Romans created tools to get the job done more efficiently. In De viribus herbarum, an 11th Century book on herbs, there is a list of plants that can cause abortion. France, England, German, etc. throughout history you can find herbs and suggestions and surgeries that have ended pregnancies.
Aristotle believed a fetus didn’t have a soul until 40 days for males and 90 days for females. The Stoics of Greece believed a fetus to be no more than a plant until it took it’s first breath. Although abortion was accepted in Rome, around 211 AD emperors Septimus Severus and Caracalla banned abortion as infringing on the father’s right to dispose of his own offspring. Because of the influence of Stoicism, which did not view the fetus as a person, the Romans did not punish abortion as homicide.
In contrast to their pagan brothers, the Christian community felt somewhat different. Tertullian, a 2nd and 3rd century theologian argued abortion should only be performed if the mother’s life was in danger. The Didache, which is a 1st century Christian treatise, says “do not murder a child by abortion, or kill a new-born infant”. Saint Augustine believed aborting a fetus that had limbs and a shape was murder. As far as earlier stage abortion, he believed the same as Aristotle.
Moving on to the 19th Century, where we had great advances in modern medicine and a change of views on abortion. Doctors pushed to have abortion made illegal, mainly because the people performing the abortions weren’t doctors but people untrained in the medical field. By 1880, abortions were illegal in most states except in certain circumstances.
In 1936, Soviet Russia was the first country to make abortion legal. Josef Stalin was concerned about population growth and saw it as a way to keep the population down. From that time until now, many countries have made it legal. The US Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, made it legal in this country in 1973.
Now, to the reason for this blog. People call for Constitutional Amendments and laws banning abortion. These will never happen. First, the Constitution is designed to give people freedom and limit government control, not take freedom away from people. Federal law clearly states abortion is legal. There’s no changing that, especially as this country leans more liberal with each generation.
Although, personally I’d never want an unborn child of mine to be aborted, if I was president I would NOT push to make abortion illegal. I believe once the Supreme Court has ruled on that issue then it is no longer an issue and it’s time to move on to the next issue. I do believe abortions should NOT be federally funded. This would mean taking money from Planned Parenthood, which is NOT the same as keeping women away from birth control. The county health department can do anything Planned Parenthood can do without using all those federal funds to pay for abortions. If a woman wants an abortion, then she should have to pay for it herself or through her insurance. While abortions have declined over the years, I do think we could do more to make other options more palatable.
The biggest thing we could do to make abortion less of an option is to deregulate the adoption market. Make it easier for nonprofit groups to arrange for adoptive parents and make it easier for them to compensate the mother for carrying the child to full term. There are many people who can’t have children. Let’s make it easier for them to have their own families. Also, paying the mother (especially a low income mother) for carrying the child full term will encourage more mothers to give birth rather than abort.
While abortion is legal throughout the country, I think each state should be allowed to regulate and restrict abortion procedures as they see fit without interference from the federal government. Whether the states use that power to make abortions easier to get or more difficult to get, that should be up to each state. If the states want to use state tax income to pay for abortions, that should also be left to them. As for me, I think those federal funds could be of better use in other areas.
And if you want to talk about the morals of having an abortion and whether it’s murder or not, well, it’s not the government’s job to legislate morality. It’s the government’s job to make decisions based on what they think is best for the citizens and this country.