By Kristin Luker
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Additional resources for Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood
25 Aside from the use of these emmenagogues to bring on "delayed" menstruation, various attempts were made during this period to estimate the frequency of induced abortion as we now understand it. These estimates were primarily the work of physicians who wanted to convince the public that abortion was a problem of great magnitude, and so their estimates must be treated cautiously. Nonetheless, estimates from differing sources yield roughly comparable results. An Ohio medical investigation concluded that one-third of all "live births" (sic) ended in induced abortion.
The nose resembles a small elevated thread . . two black points represent the eyes. At one month, the young, called the fetus, is an inch in length. . All parts of the face may be seen, the body is visible, the haunches and belly are prominent, the hands and legs are formed; the fingers and toes are divided; the skin is thin and transparent. . At the end of six weeks . . the form is more perfect, only the head is larger in proportion. . About this time the motion of the heart is visible.
From the earliest days of the medical profession in this country, therefore, physicians wanted effective licensing laws that would do for them what the guild structures had done for their European colleagues, namely, restrict the competition. '5 In the early part of the nineteenth century, the fate of trained physicians became even worse. What few regulations had existed in the colonial period were swept away in the era of Jacksonian democracy, and medical practice became one vast free market. Moreover, during the second quarter of the century, deep doctrinal divisions appeared within the ranks of trained physicians themselves.
Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker