See also:obstetrics, the premature separation and expulsion of the contents of the pregnant uterus . It is a
See also:common terminology to
See also:call premature labour of an accidental type a "
See also:miscarriage," in
See also:order to distinguish `.` abortion" as a deliberately induced
See also:act, whether as a medical
See also:necessity by the accoucheur, or as a criminal proceeding (see MEDICAL
See also:JURISPRUDENCE) ; otherwise the
See also:term "abortion" would ordinarily be used when occurring before the eighth
See also:month of gestation, and "premature labour" subsequently . As- an accident of pregnancy, it is far from uncommon, although its relative frequency,, as compared with that of completed gestation, has been very differently estimated by accoucheurs . It is more liable to occur in the earlier than in the later months of pregnancy, and it would also appear to occur more readily at the periods corresponding to those of the menstrual
See also:discharge . It may be induced by numerous causes, both of a
See also:local and general nature . Malformations of the pelvis, accidental injuries and the diseases and displacements to which the uterus is liable, on the one
See also:hand; and, on the other, various morbid conditions of the ovum or
See also:placenta leading to the
See also:death of the foetus, are among the
See also:direct local causes . The general causes embrace certain states of the
See also:system which are
See also:apt to exercise a more or less direct influence upon the progress of utero-gestation . The tendency to recurrence in persons who have previously miscarried is well known, and should ever be
See also:borne in mind with the view of avoiding any cause likely to lead to a repetition of the accident . Abortion resembles ordinary labour in its general phenomena, excepting that in the former hemorrhage often to a large extent forms one of the leading symptoms . The treatment embraces the means to be used by
See also:rest, astringents and sedatives, to prevent the occurrence when it merely threatens; or when, on the contrary, it is inevitable, to accomplish as speedily as possible the
See also:complete removal of the entire contents of the uterus . Among
See also:primitive savage races abortion is practised to a far less extent than
See also:infanticide (q.v.), which offers a simpler way of getting rid of inconvenient progeny . But it is common among the
See also:Indians, as well as in
See also:Cambodia and India, although throughout
See also:Asia it is generally contrary both to
See also:law and religion .
How far it was considered a
See also:crime among the civilized nations of antiquity has long been debated . Those who maintain the impunity of the practice rely for their authority upon certain passages in the classical authors, which, while bitterly lamenting the frequency of this enormity, yet never allude to any
See also:laws by which it might be suppressed . For ex-ample, in one of
See also:Plato's dialogues (Theaet.),
See also:Socrates is made to speak of artificial abortion as a practice, not only common but allowable; and Plato himself authorizes it in his Republic (
See also:lib. v.) . Aristotle (Polit. lib. vii. c . 17) gives it as his opinion that no
See also:child ought to be suffered to come into the
See also:world, the
See also:mother being above
See also:forty or the
See also:father above fifty-five years of age .
See also:Lysias maintained, in one of his pleadings quoted by
See also:Harpocration, that forced abortion could not be considered
See also:homicide, because a child in utero was not an animal, and had no
See also:separate existence . Among the Romans, Ovid (Amor. lib. ii.), Juvenal (Sat. vi . 594) and
See also:Seneca (Consol. ad
See also:Hel. r6) mention the frequency of the offence, but maintain silence as to any laws for punishing it . On the other hand, it is argued that the authority of Galen and
See also:Cicero (
See also:pro Cluentio) place it beyond a doubt that, so far from being allowed to pass with impunity, the offence in question was sometimes punished by death; that the authority of Lysias is of doubtful authenticity; and that the speculative reasonings of Plato and Aristotle, in matters of legislation, ought not to be confounded with the actual state of the laws . Moreover,
See also:Stobaeus (Serm . 73) has preserved a passage from Musonius, in which that philosopher expressly states that the
See also:ancient law-givers inflicted punishments on
See also:females who caused themselves to abort . After the spread of
See also:Christianity among the Romans, however, foeticide became equally criminal with the
See also:murder of an adult, and the
See also:barbarian hordes which afterwards overran the
See also:empire also treated the offence as a crime punishable with death .
See also:penalty remained in force in all the countries of
See also:Europe until the
See also:Middle Ages . With the gradual disuse of the old barbarous punishments so universal in
See also:medieval times came also a reversal of opinion as to the magnitude of the crime involved in killing a child not yet
See also:born . But the exact
See also:period of transition is not clearly marked . In England the Anglo-
See also:Saxons seem to have regarded abortion only as an ecclesiastical offence .
See also:Hale (16o9–1676) tells us that if anything is done to "a woman
See also:quick or
See also:great with child, to make an abortion, or whereby the child within her is killed, it is not murder or
See also:manslaughter by the law of England, because it is not yet in rerum natura." But the common law appears, nevertheless, to have treated as a mis-demeanour any attempt to effect the destruction of such an
See also:infant, though unsuccessful .
See also:Blackstone (1723–1780), to be sure, a
See also:hundred years later, says that, " if a woman is quick with child, and by
See also:poison or otherwise killeth it in her womb, or if any one
See also:beat her, whereby the child dieth in her
See also:body, and she is delivered of a dead child, this, though not murder, was, by the ancient law, homicide or manslaughter." Whatever may have been the exact view taken by the common law, the offence was made statutory by an act of 1803, making the attempt to cause the miscarriage of a woman, not being, or not being proved, to be quick with child, a
See also:felony, punishable with
See also:fine, imprisonment,
See also:whipping or transportation for any term not exceeding fourteen years . Should the woman have proved to have quickened, the attempt was punishable with death . The provisions of this
See also:statute were re-enacted in 1828 . The
See also:English law on the subject is now governed by the Offences against the
See also:Person Act 1861, which makes the attempting to cause miscarriage by administering poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully using any instrument equally a felony, whether the woman be, or be not, with child . No distinction is now made as to whether the foetus is or is not alive, legislation appearing to make the offence statutory with the
See also:object of prohibiting any
See also:risk to the
See also:life of the mother . If a woman ad-ministers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means to procure her own miscarriage, she is guilty of felony . The punishment for the offence is penal servitude for life or not less than three years, or imprisonment for not more than two years .
If a child is born alive, but in consequence of its premature
See also:birth, or of the means employed, afterwards
See also:dies, the offence is murder; the general law as to accessories applies to the offence . In all the countries of Europe the causing of abortion is now punishable with more or less lengthy terms of imprisonment . Indeed, the tendency in
See also:continental Europe is to regard the abortion as a crime against the unborn child, and several codes (notably that of the German Empire) expressly recognize the life of the foetus, while others make the penalty more severe if abortion has been caused in the later stages of pregnancy, or if the woman is married . According to the
See also:weight of authority in the
See also:United States abortion was not regarded as a punishable offence at common law, if the abortion was produced with the consent of the mother
See also:prior to the
See also:time when she became quick with child; but the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and
See also:North Carolina held it a crime at common law, which might be committed as soon as gestation had begun (Mills v . Com . 13 Pa . St . 63o; State v . Slagle, 83 N.C . 63o) . The attempt is a punishable offence in several states, but not in
See also:Ohio . Nor was it ever murder at common law to take the life of the child at any period of gestation, even in the very act of delivery (
See also:Mitchell v .
Corn . 78 Ky . 204) . If the death of the woman results it is murder at common law (Corm v .
See also:Parker, 9 Met . [Mass.] 263) . It is now a statutory offence in all states of the Union, but the woman must be actually pregnant . In most states not only is the person who causes the abortion punishable, but also any one who sup-plies any
See also:drug or instrument for the purpose . The woman, however, is not an
See also:accomplice (except by statute as in Ohio, State v . M'Coy, 39 N.E . 316), nor is she guilty of any crime unless by statute as in New
See also:York (Penal
See also:Code, § 295) and California (Penal Code, § 275) and
See also:Connecticut (Gen . Stats .
1902, § 1156) . She may be awitness, and her testimony does not need corroboration . The attempt is also a crime in New York (1905,
See also:People v .
See also:Conrad, 102 App . D . 566) . in Criminal Cases (1900) ;
See also:Roscoe's Evidence in Criminal Cases (1898) ; Treub,
See also:van Oppenraag and Vlaming, The Right to Life of the Unborn Child (New York, 1903) ; L . Hochheimer, Crimes and Criminal Procedure (New York, 1897) ; A . A . Tardieu, Etude medico-legal sur t'avortement (
See also:Paris, 1904) ; F . Berolzheimer, System der Rechts- and Wissenschaftsphilosophie (
See also:Munich, 1904) .
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