This Just In: Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History

The revised printing of Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History is updated to reflect the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, the 2022 United States Supreme Court case that overruled its earlier decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and returned the issue of abortion to the States.

The book finds that the myths of abortion in Anglo-American law are:

  • Abortion was not a crime “at common law” (before the enactment of abortion statutes in the nineteenth century).
  • Abortion was common and relatively safe during this time.
  • Abortion statutes were enacted in the nineteenth century in order to protect the life of the mother rather than the life of the embryo or fetus.
  • The moving force behind the nineteenth-century statutes was the attempt of the male medical profession to suppress competition from competing practitioners of alternative forms of medicine.

The book looks at these myths and sets forth the history of abortion and abortion law in English and American society and finds that abortion was treated as a serious crime. It is an exhaustive look at the topic at over 1,200 pages, a must for any legal researcher on the history of abortion.