By Ellie Lee
Women's wishes are put on the centre of this assortment. The individuals speak about the level to which the modern felony framework on abortion suits the desires of girls confronted with undesirable being pregnant. The booklet includes sections on Britain, together with an account of the crusade to legalize abortion, written via these centrally concerned with that crusade; overseas comparisons of abortion legislations, with chapters on France, the USA, eire and Poland; and chapters masking modern debates, together with men's rights in abortion and abortion for foetal abnormality.
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Additional resources for Abortion Law and Politics Today
The Birkett Report of 1938 suggested that 'medical practitioners were unwilling to perform therapeutic abortion ... '8 General practitioners, who were more likely to be sympathetic to the concerns and circumstances of individual patients, did not have much influence on the decision to perform a therapeutic abortion. One GP, J. S. '9 For poor women, too, the expense of such consultations generally precluded the possibility of therapeutic abortions. Furthermore, many gynaecologists, anxious to establish their subject as a viable medical speciality, were keen to distance themselves from methods that may have been associated with their rivals: women, midwives and pharmacists.
In 1837 the quickening distinction was removed. The 1861 Offences Against the Person Act further strengthened the law: the pregnant woman herself became liable to prosecution - previously only those involved in aiding or administering the abortion could be charged. Abortion attempts could now be punished whether or not the woman actually was (and had been) pregnant. The maximum sentence was life imprisonment. 3 Nevertheless the difficulty of detection made prosecutions relatively uncommon. 4 Interest in the problem of criminal abortion intensified during the inter-war years; the practice was felt to be on the increase and was blamed for the alarming rise in maternal mortality.
I have conducted in-depth interviews with 47 people (18 men and 30 women) and less lengthy interviews with a further 28 women, a total sample of 75. I have avoided self-selected samples and obtained interviewees largely through visits to old people's homes, day centres and social clubs. The research was conducted as part of a doctoral study of contraceptive behaviour sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. 3. Barbara Brookes, Abortion in England, London, Routledge, 1988. Macolm Potts, Petter Diggory and John Peel, Abortion, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977; Angus McLaren, Reproductive Rituals: The Perception of Fertility in England from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century, London, Methuen, 1984.
Abortion Law and Politics Today by Ellie Lee