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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, May 16, 2022

In the 18th-century United States and England, abortion was common enough that there were slang terms for it, like "taking the cold," "taking the trade" and "bringing down the flowers." In the Revolutionary War era and the decades after, most homes would have had a medical manual ... These books included recipes for concoctions that could induce menses that had been "blocked" or "suppressed" - a common way to refer to early pregnancy.

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Beyond the ruling classes in England and America, there is also evidence of abortion among Indigenous American peoples and the enslaved, according to John Riddle in "Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West." Enslaved Black people likely brought this knowledge with them from Africa. A drink made of a certain type of cotton root native to Africa was used to induce abortion throughout the South.

Unlike many antiabortion activists today, most religious and legal scholars at the time did not think "ensoulment" began at the moment of conception but at the time of "quickening" - when a pregnant person can feel fetal movement, generally between 16 and 22 weeks.

England passed its first law officially banning post-quickening abortion in 1800. The United States didn't follow until 1821, when the Connecticut legislature banned giving a noxious substance to a woman "quick with child."

This is one reason critics of originalism say the historical understanding doesn't, or at least shouldn't, matter. The legal scholars Alito quoted lived in a world where women were property, babies could be "monsters" and abortion was dangerous.

Pre-quickening abortions were indeed wholly legal at the time the U.S. Constitution was written regardless of Alito's subjective notations of cherry-picked history offered up to serve his own unhidden religious beliefs on the matter.

When the SCOTUS appears to overturn a half century's legal right of women to control their own body's autonomy based on the specious and mendacious assertions contained in the leaked majority opinion, the very spirit and point of constitutional law vis-a-vis stare decisis and unenumerated rights will be turned upon its head in open service of a religious agenda that gives primacy to one specific faith's view at the expense of many other opposing religion's commands and dictates upon the same subject.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2022-05-15 02:55 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Ben Franklin included recipes for aborticants in his almanacs.

#2 | Posted by RJSquirrel at 2022-05-16 08:28 AM | Reply

#1 | Posted by tonyroma

Well said. The thing is that is EXACTLY what the Reich Wing wants today. "Home of the Free" what a joke. It's taken us almost 250 years to get to where we have a lot of freedoms and equality and the GOP wants to see it all undone.

#3 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2022-05-16 11:15 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Another bit of American history conveniently overlooked by Justice Alito's law clerks...

OCU

#4 | Posted by OCUser at 2022-05-16 11:08 PM | Reply

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