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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

and XXVIII; Cabanes, _Indiscretions de l'Histoire_, p. 121, etc. 

 

The control of procreation by the prevention of conception has, we have 

seen, become a part of the morality of civilized peoples. There is another 

method, not indeed for preventing conception, but for limiting offspring, 

which is of much more ancient appearance in the world, though it has at 

different times been very differently viewed and still arouses widely 

opposing opinions. This is the method of abortion. 

 

While the practice of abortion has by no means, like the practice of 

preventing conception, become accepted in civilization, it scarcely 

appears to excite profound repulsion in a large proportion of the 

population of civilized countries. The majority of women, not excluding 

educated and highly moral women, who become pregnant against their wish 

contemplate the possibility of procuring abortion without the slightest 

twinge of conscience, and often are not even aware of the usual 

professional attitude of the Church, the law, and medicine regarding 

abortion. Probably all doctors have encountered this fact, and even so 

distinguished and correct a medico-legist as Brouardel stated[437] that he 

had been not infrequently solicited to procure abortion, for themselves or 

their wet-nurses, by ladies who looked on it as a perfectly natural thing, 

and had not the least suspicion that the law regarded the deed as a crime. 

 

It is not, therefore, surprising that abortion is exceedingly common in 

all civilized and progressive countries. It cannot, indeed, unfortunately, 

be said that abortion has been conducted in accordance with eugenic 

considerations, nor has it often been so much as advocated from the 

eugenic standpoint. But in numerous classes of cases of undesired 

pregnancy, occurring in women of character and energy, not accustomed to 

submit tamely to conditions they may not have sought, and in any case 

consider undesirable, abortion is frequently resorted to. It is usual to 

regard the United States as a land in which the practice especially 

flourishes, and certainly a land in which the ideal of chastity for 

unmarried women, of freedom for married women, of independence for all, is 

actively followed cannot fail to be favorable to the practice of abortion. 

But the way in which the prevalence of abortion is proclaimed in the 

United States is probably in large part due to the honesty of the 

Americans in setting forth, and endeavoring to correct, what, rightly or 

wrongly, they regard as social defects, and may not indicate any real 

pre-eminence in the practice. Comparative statistics are difficult, and it 

is certainly true that abortion is extremely common in England, in France, 

and in Germany. It is probable that any national differences may be 

accounted for by differences in general social habits and ideals. Thus in 

Germany, where considerable sexual freedom is permitted to unmarried women 

and married women are very domesticated, abortion may be less frequent 

than in France where purity is stringently demanded from the young girl, 

while the married woman demands freedom for work and for pleasure. But 

such national differences, if they exist, are tending to be levelled down, 

and charges of criminal abortion are constantly becoming more common in 

Germany; though this increase, again, may be merely due to greater zeal in 

pursuing the offence. 

 

Brouardel (op. cit., p. 39) quotes the opinion that, in New York, 

only one in every thousand abortions is discovered. Dr. J.F. 

Scott (_The Sexual Instinct_, Ch. VIII), who is himself strongly 

opposed to the practice, considers that in America, the custom of 


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