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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

 

 

 

We have seen that, alike on the side of practice and of theory, a great 

change has taken place during recent years in the attitude towards 

abortion. It must, however, clearly be recognized that, unlike the control 

of procreation by methods for preventing conception, facultative abortion 

has not yet been embodied in our current social morality. If it is 

permissible to interpolate a personal opinion, I may say that to me it 

seems that our morality is here fairly reasonable.[442] I am decidedly of 

opinion that an unrestricted permission for women to practice abortion in 

their own interests, or even for communities to practice it in the 

interests of the race, would be to reach beyond the stage of civilization 

we have at present attained. As Ellen Key very forcibly argues, a 

civilization which permits, without protest, the barbarous slaughter of 

its carefully selected adults in war has not yet won the right to destroy 

deliberately even its most inferior vital products in the womb. A 

civilization guilty of so reckless a waste of life cannot safely be 

entrusted with this judicial function. The blind and aimless anxiety to 

cherish the most hopeless and degraded forms of life, even of unborn life, 

may well be a weakness, and since it often leads to incalculable 

suffering, even a crime. But as yet there is an impenetrable barrier 

against progress in this direction. Before we are entitled to take life 

deliberately for the sake of purifying life, we must learn how to preserve 

it by abolishing such destructive influences--war, disease, bad industrial 

conditions--as are easily within our social power as civilized 

nations.[443] 

 

There is, further, another consideration which seems to me to carry 

weight. The progress of civilization is in the direction of greater 

foresight, of greater prevention, of a diminished need for struggling with 

the reckless lack of prevision. The necessity for abortion is precisely 

one of those results of reckless action which civilization tends to 

diminish. While we may admit that in a sounder state of civilization a few 

cases might still occur when the induction of abortion would be desirable, 

it seems probable that the number of such cases will decrease rather than 

increase. In order to do away with the need for abortion, and to 

counteract the propaganda in its favor, our main reliance must be placed, 

on the one hand, on increased foresight in the determination of conception 

and increased knowledge of the means for preventing conception,[444] and 

on the other hand, on a better provision by the State for the care of 

pregnant women, married and unmarried alike, and a practical recognition 

of the qualified mother's claim on society.[445] There can be little doubt 

that, in many a charge of criminal abortion, the real offence lies at the 

door of those who have failed to exercise their social and professional 

duty of making known the more natural and harmless methods for preventing 

conception, or else by their social attitude have made the pregnant 

woman's position intolerable. By active social reform in these two 

directions, the new movement in favor of abortion may be kept in check, 

and it may even be found that by stimulating such reform that movement has 

been beneficial. 

 

We have seen that the deliberate restraint of conception has become a part 

of our civilized morality, and that the practice and theory of facultative 

abortion has gained a footing among us. There remains a third and yet more 

radical method of controlling procreation, the method of preventing the 

possibility of procreation altogether by the performance of castration or 

other slighter operation having a like inhibitory effect on reproduction. 


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