Abortions Have Not Affected The United States Population

1398 words - 6 pages

In what ways has legalized abortion had an impact on population? Most would expect that an increase in the number of abortions would have an impact on the population. The reasoning being because women, who would not have terminated their pregnancies due to abortions being illegal, now had that option available to them.
Although many think of abortion as a legacy from the 1960’s, abortions were as frequent on the eve of the Civil War as it is now (Olasky, 1992). There were roughly 160,000 abortions in 1860 in a population of 27 million (Olasky, 1992).This was almost comparable to the abortions today (Olasky, 1992). The number of abortions continued to rise during the second half of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries (Olasky, 1992).
The recorded history of abortion in America dates from the earliest settlements (Olasky, 1992). Maryland archives in the Library of Congress show abortion cases in 1656 and 1663 (Olasky, 1992). Massachusetts court records show abortions performed in 1678, 1681 and after that (Olasky, 1992). Other records indicate abortions were also practiced in Connecticut, New York and also points southward (Olasky, 1992). Abortion was widespread in the mid-1800’s as prostitution became much more common (Olasky, 1992). Without reliable contraception, prostitutes typically used abortion as their birth control, sometimes several times a year (Olasky, 1992). Reliable estimates from 1860 show 60,000 prostitutes becoming pregnant and having abortions (Olasky, 1992).
By the1860’s, abortion was not part of the American mainstream but was limited mostly to victims of seduction and prostitution (Olasky, 1992). Even so, these populations were sizeable (Olasky, 1992) In 1867; sixty-one percent of the ads in the medical column of the New York Herald were abortion-related (Olasky, 1992). Due to newer methods of contraception, assistance for unwed mothers, and abortion laws the abortion rates declined and stayed relatively low through 1960 (Olasky, 1992).
In 1969, a pregnant 21-year-old woman, named Norma McCorvey, using the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” became part of the Supreme Court case that would have forced the state of Texas to allow her to get an abortion. Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, the two lawyers who drove Roe v. Wade to its landmark conclusion at the Supreme Court, needed a plaintiff, and encouraged McCorvey to challenge the Texas statute despite the fact that she was already five months pregnant and the case decision would probably take far longer (Roe turns 40, 2013)
The Supreme Court decision in 1973 legalized abortion (Roe v. Wade, 2013). Earlier than1973 performing an abortion was illegal in most states in nearly all situations that were not life threatening (Roe v. Wade, 2013). Before Roe v. Wade, most abortions were performed in secret (Roe v. Wade, 2013). With the passing of the landmark decision, elective abortions were legalized in the first trimester of pregnancy and the decision also...

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