Abortion has been practiced since the beginning of civilization. In ancient
Assyria abortion was a crime and if caught, the woman was killed on a stake and
not allowed to be buried. Through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in
Europe abortion was legal until the Catholic church conflicted. In 1588 Pope
Sixtus V called abortion the same as murder and subject to the same penalties.
But within 3 years Pope Gregory XVI eliminated penalties if abortion was before
40 days after conception. In 1869 Pope Pius IX made the penalty for the sin of
abortion to be excommunicated.

The decision of Pope Pius IX was reaffirmed in 1917 with publication of
the code of cannon law. Popes to present day have firmly upheld his law.
Abortion laws in the U.S. developed from the Anglo-Saxon tradition. For
centuries abortion was a private decision. Abortion in the U.S. was legal until the
mid 1800s.

The first Supreme Court case was Commonwealth vs Bangs,
Massachusetts. The Supreme Court in 1812 ruled that abortion within the
woman's consent was legal before fetal movement.

There were many health hazards involved in 19th century abortions.
Women used toxic substances and dangerous methods, women practiced hot
baths and blood letting to unsanitary surgery and ingestion of poisons.

Connecticut was the first state to make it a crime to give a woman "quick
with child" a poison to cause miscarriage. In 1830 New York criminalized the
performance of abortions except to save the mother. In 1845 New York was the
first state to place women under a threat of prosecution for having an abortion.
Between 1821-1841 10 states had laws against abortion except under the
circumstances of the mothers life.

Founded in 1847, the AMA (American Medical Association) was
established to professionalize standards. In 1859 the AMA passed a resolution
condemning abortion and urged states to make it illegal. In time each of the
states did change their laws, and by the end of the century, abortion was a crime
nation wide. This was followed by a campaign to inform Americans of birth
control. This issue became a public policy when the U.S. Congress in 1873
passed the Comstock law which banned the mailing of any material that was
obscene including contraception and abortion - including drugs. Abortion was
still practiced illegally and women still had access to birth control - but less
dependant on abortions.

Around 1950 the medical community, through the AMA, drove to liberalize
century old stare abortion laws. In 1959 in response to the AMA's drive, the
American Law Institute (ALI) proposed a Model Penal Code (MPC) that
liberalized state abortion laws. The ALI recommended that state lawmakers
make the grounds for abortion include the mental-health of the mother, rape and
incest and fetal deformity but not one state went for it.

By the 1960s the public opinion toward abortion had begun to shift. The
1960s was a time of great social change in the U.S. The decade saw the
importance of the women's movement, it was based on women's rights to control
their reproductive lives. Abortion was an issue of their independence and liberty.
By the end of the 1960s the women's movement engaged urged for the decision
to have an abortion to be recognized as a fundamental individual freedom and a
protected privacy right.

In 1967, Colorado, California and North Carolina became the first states
to liberalize their laws. By 1973, 13 states also took part. In the early 1970s 4
states took a further step of legalizing all abortions done by a doctor up to some
legal time well into pregnancy. New York allowed abortion for any reason up to
24 weeks. In 1972 the American Bar Association passed a Uniform Abortion Act
which followed New York's statue, for all states.

In 1973 Roe vs Wade in which the Supreme Court ruled that the privacy
right allowed a womans decision to have an abortion. The court ruled that the
state could not restrict 1st trimester abortion in all 50 states and established
womens choice as a fundamental right protected under the Constitution.



Abortion Statistics
93% of all abortions performed are either for birth control or social reasons.

7% of all abortions are a result of rape, incest, concerns over the health of the
baby, or the the health of the mother.
Peoples Opinions on Abortion
12% said that abortion should only be legal to save the life of the mother.
30% said abortion should only be legal in gray areas.
24% said after the 12th week there is a life then.

5% said abortion should be legal under any circumstance except the 2nd
trimester.
12% said