By Kristin Luker
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Additional resources for Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood
Seven days after conception, parts of the child are distinguishable to the naked eye . . [and] the head and trunk may be easily distinguished. Fifteen days after conception, the head and most prominent features of the face are apparent. 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.
Indeed, the same home medical book that contained the detailed descriptions of intrauterine life noted earlier had this to say about uterine hemorrhage or "flooding": When the flooding returns, in great degree, in spite of all efforts to prevent [it], the women becoming extremely pallid, showing excessive loss of blood, but one remedy is left, and that is to produce an immediate abortion. Unless the danger be very pressing, the advice or direction of a physician should be taken before the destruction of the child.
The common law tradition, they argued, led women to feel that abortion before quickening was morally blameless, only slightly different from preventing a conception in the first place. 30 Most prominently, physicians became involved, arguing that abortion was both morally wrong and medically dangerous. The membership of the American Medical Association (AMA), founded in 1847 to upgrade and protect the interests of the profession, was deeply divided on many issues. But by 1859 it was able to pass a resolution condemning induced abortion and urging state legislatures to pass laws forbidding it; in 1860, Henry Miller, the president-elect of the association, devoted much of his presidential address to attacking abortion; and in 1864 the AM A established a prize to be awarded to the best anti-abortion book written for the lay public.
Abortion & the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker