Bibliography of Pro-Life History: American Primary Sources

(Sorted according to date of publication and then alphabetically.)


1800-1809

Bard, Samuel L. A Compendium of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery. New York, 1807. The first obstetrics text produced by an American. P. 54 says that the woman furnishes the rudiment of the new animal and that the male provides the form. (An outdated embryology.) Male germ stimulates the female germ to life (vitalism.) P. 57 picture of the unborn. Not very faithful. P. 87. Abortion. A topic not easily discussed in a popular manner.

Buchan, William. Advice to mothers, on the subject of their own health, and on the means of promoting the health, strength, and beauty, of their offspring. Philadelphia. 1804. (I think the author is British.) P. 18 Discusses procurred abortion. Act of wickedness. P. 20 "Retreats" for pregnant ladies are essentially for abortion. Seen embryos were obtained by abortions.

Burns, John. Observations on Abortion. 2nd American Edition. Springfield: Thomas Dickman, 1809. According to James Mohr, Abortion in America, was the standard text on a abortion for the first half of the 19th century but primarily dealt with spontaneous abortion.

Denman, Thomas. An Introduction to the Practice of Midwifery. Brattleborough, Vt, 1807. The author is British, but this is the American version of his book, suggesting what Americans might have known about this particular topic.



1810-1819


Beck, John. An Inaugural Dissertation on Infanticide. New York: J. Seymour, 1817.  Chapter on abortion discusses how to tell if a woman has had an abortion. Cites Paolo Zacchias in a few places.

Cooper, Thomas. Tracts on Medical Jurisprudence. Philadelphia. 1819. A collection of works of medical jurisprudence by others (with his commentary and add-on.) Says in his preface that medical jurisprudence has not received much attention in the United States as compared to the European continent. Includes Farr's Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, Dease's Remarks on Medical Jurisprudence, Male's Epitome of Juridical or Forensic Medicine, and Haslam's Treatise of Insanity. P. 3 Says discussing these matters may be apparent "indecency." P.8 If the child prematurely delivered is not at least a foot long, it is "incompletely formed." P. 9 An incomplete child has the face of an old person. P. 11 Suggests spermism as a credible theory of generation (alongside the epigenetic theory.) P. 14 Life begins immediately after conception. P. 40 The unborn "may be supposed" to be living from conception. Life of a child endangered by an attempted abortion.

Dewees, William P. An abridgment of Mr. Heath's translation of Baudelocque's Midwifery. Translated by John Heath. Philadelphia 1811. P. 522 Argues against premature labour in cases of pelvic deformity because it is unfavorable to the child, but says it's okay in cases of violent hemorrhage as it lends itself to that operation. We don't always know that exact age of the fetus. P. 530 Says deformed pelvis is the only indication for c-section. P. 486 Against killing baby in the womb; favors c-section.

Ewell, Thomas. Letters to Ladies. Philadelphia: W. Brown, 1817. A medical guide for women. Circa. p. 112 He cites le Comte de Buffon on the conception of a child, and calls the unborn a "child" from conception. He says that the child is visible seven days after conception. The head is apparent fifteen days after conception. His developmental timeline is quite off.

James, T.C. "Case of Premature Labour, artificially induced."  The Eclectic Repertory and Analytical Review, Medical and Philosophical. Vol. 1. No.1 October 1810. P. 105-109. Discusses what I believe to be the first published case of premature labour in the United States.

Quincy, John.  "Generation. "The American Medical Lexicon: On the Plan of Quincy's Lexicon Physico-medicum, with Many Retrenchments, Additions, and Improvements; Comprising an Explanation of the Etymology and Signification of the Terms Used in Anatomy, Physiology, Surgery, Materia Medica, Chemistry, and the Practice of Physic. Compiled from the Most Approved Authorities.  New York: 1811. Plagiarizes William Nicholson's British Encyclopedia articles to compile a medical lexicon.


1820-1829


Beck, Theodric Romeyn and William Dunlop. Elements of Medical Jurisprudence. London: 1825. Theodoric Beck is the brother of John Beck. Both are American. Lots of interesting information on abortion. Denounces the unfairness of the Common Law in regards to abortion and the false distinctions based on quickening. Calls abortion the murder of the fetus.

Dewees, William Potts. A compendious system of midwifery. London. 1825. P. 108-109 Denounces the idea that quickening is caused by animation. If the fetus were dead, it would be cast off by the womb. P. 575 Cites Osborn's low opinion of the unborn child. Says regarding how Osborn frames the issue "the question is not fairly stated." The feelings of the child must not be taken into account. The child must be destroyed because the woman is more valuable as she has more relations. The feelings of the child are much less important than the usefulness of the mother. P. 576 Necessity is the justification of the operation; feelings of child irrelevant. P. 576 Questions how Osborn knows that the child has no apprehension. P. 577 Doubts Osborn. Says the child often moves his limbs (i.e. in pain.) P. 578 What evils would flow if we convinced ourselves that foetal life was void of sensibility or sensation. P. 580 Relates what a patient told him about craniotomy: the toughest part was that she felt her child struggle. P. 582 Parental affection is often strong for the child in utero. P. 583 Continuing his denunciation of Osborn, he says: maternal affection is necessary from the moment of conception. P. 585 Says Osborn has done mischief for the view he has taken of the subject.

1830-1839


Bedford, Gunning S. An address, introductory to a course of lectures: delivered in the hall of the Medical College of South-Carolina, before the trustees and faculty, the students of medicine, and the public generally, at the opening of the session of 1833-4.  Charleston. 1833. P.24-25 Too many people destroy children in utero out of ignorance. A well-trained practitioner saves both mother and child-- dispenses with ignorant butchery. P. 26-27 speaks of use of manakin to teach obstetrics. P. 28 Says his object is to teach midwifery the way it is taught in France.  1848 Version. 1846 Version.



Hersey , Thomas. The Midwife's Practical Directory. 2nd. Ed. Baltimore: Self-Published, 1836. Not a lot about the unborn. By a "botanical" doctor. I noted that some of the embryological information was out-dated. That seems to be a pattern by these homeopathic doctors. Perhaps one reason why allopathic doctors pursued abortion laws is that they knew embryology better than other doctors. The plates at the back of this book are nicely drawn.

Maygrier, Jacques Pierre. Midwifery Illustrated. Second Edition. Translated from the French by A. Sidney Doane. New York. 1833. In the section on instruments, says that the fetus must be dead before using the crotchet.

Meigs, Charles D. The Philadelphia Practice of Midwifery.Philadelphia, 1838. P. 80 Calls the topic of generation "terra incognita." Very mysterious. P. 124 Speaks of how women apply to get abortions complaining of obstructions. P. 126 Some people are bold or ignorant and ask for abortion from doctor. Calls abortion murder. P. 337 Picture of head broken up.


1840-1849



Barry, John. Medico-Christian Embryology. Louisville: Self-published, 1846. A goldmine of pro-life thought for the era. The title says exactly what it is. Describes the development of the embryo/fetus and salient aspects of pregnant. Heavily influenced by Dinouart/Cangiamila's Sacred Embryology as well as Professor Debreyne (eminent French Catholic embryologist of the era.)  Advocates pre-natal baptism and baptism of miscarried babies. Author is Catholic. Notes that abortion before quickening is a misdemeanour, contrary to what many mainstream feminists say today about abortion being a freedom not criminalized by the natural law. He cites Blackstone. So far, I haven't seen any publications cite this particular pamphlet, and I don't see its influence much of anywhere: I accidentally came across it doing a search. It appears that pre-natal baptism was performed in the United States. Horatio Robinson Storer cites it in On Criminal Abortion, p. 39 and p. 67 as an authority on Catholic doctrine on prenatal baptism. [Commented added May 5th 2018:] This pamphlet copies word for word large sections of text from J.J. Rosiau's article on Sacred Embryology (starts on page 341.) He credits Rosiau in the intro to his pamphlet (p. 9).

Becklard, Eugène. Know Thyself. Translated Sherman Wharton. Published by translator. 1846. Affirms that life begins at conception. 

Carpenter, William Benjamin. Principles of Human Physiology: With Their Chief Applications to Pathology, Hygiene, and Forensic Medicine, Especially Designed for the Use of Students. With Notes and Additions by Meredith Clymer. Second American Edition. Philadelphia. 1845. P. 84 Life begins from a single cell. P. 86 If we could isolate man's nervous and muscular systems, we would have what is essential in man. P. 606 Embryo possesses as much vitality before quickening as after. From the time it quits the ovary, it ceases to be part of the parent. P.621 Fetal development, description of milestones.

Dixon, Edward H. Woman, and Her Diseases, from the Cradle to the Grave: Adapted Exclusively to Her Instruction in the Physiology of Her System, and All the Diseases of Her Critical Periods. New York: Charles H. Ring, 1847. Not a lot about the unborn. But one very noticeable particularity: he refers to a first-trimester fetus as an ovum. [Comment July 23, 2018. Medical experts in those days considered the whole pregnancy apparatus-- fetus, membranes, placenta, etc to be the ovum.]

Guy, William A. Principles of Medical Jurisprudence. First American Edition. Edited by C. A. Lee. New York. 1845. Cover says editor added 200 pages of original matter. That's why I am listing it as "American."  Many American cases of abortion mentioned. Useful tables on fetal weight and size, giving an idea about what people knew about this topic.  Section on early viability starts p. 208.  P. 87 In the comments: Lee says that Blackstone's comment about "being quick with child" just means "pregnant with a living child" because if it did not mean that, the English law would not make sense.

Hall, Alfred G. Womanhood: Causes of Its Premature Decline, Respectfully Illustrated.  Rochester. NY: E. Shephard, 1845. A typical "women's health" book that actually contains outdated ideas about conception (and confuses ovary with ova) and has recipes to cure "obstructed menses"-- i.e. abortifacients. A number of medical endorsements. Very little about the fetus, per se. Gives some idea about what many people thought of during pregnancy.

Hodge, Hugh Lenox. An Introductory Lecture to the Course on Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, Delivered in the University of Pennsylvania, November 2, 1840. P. 6 Obstetrician is the guardian of the rights of infants. Rights of infants begin at conception. P. 7 The embryo possesses the right to life. Abortion should be punishable. Abortion is murder. P. 8 the unborn should be protected from female behaviours that endanger it. Women are already mothers when they conceive. They must not engage in behaviours that could endanger the life of a human being. P. 10 Life of the child is secondary to the mother. Says to audience: you may find yourselves the only friend of the unborn infant. P. 12 A dysgenic marriage is a violation of the rights of the child, as delivery could risk the lives of both mother and child. P. 19 An Obstetrician is the defender of the rights of women and children. 1839 Version here. 1836 Version here. 1835 Version here.

Hollick, Frederick. The Matron's Manual. 47th Edition. New York. 1848. P. 56 Fetal images. P. 58 Discusses prenatal development. P. 65 Another plate containing an image of an embryo. P. 355-356 Says recently introduced practice of premature labour obviated need for embryotomy and other instrumental interventions, such as the c-section.

Hollick, Frederick. The Origin of Life: A Popular Treatise on the Philosophy and Physiology of Reproduction, in Plants and Animals, Including the Details of Human Generation with a Full Description of the Male and Female Organs.  St. Louis: Nafis & Cornish, 1845. Says a fetus is part of a woman's body circa. page 152.

Mansfield, Edward Deering. The Legal Rights, Liabilities, and Duties of Women1845. Describes the unborn as being of value, but of less value than a born child.

Murphy, Edward W. Lectures on Natural and Difficult Parturition. New York. 1846. P. 215 Illustration of a child who had undergone craniotomy, still in the birth canal. P. 217 If the fate of the mother is grim, the obstetrician can save the child with a c-section. P. 222 Premature labour one of the greatest improvements to practice. P. 241 Issue of managing difficult encounters "opposing opinion." -- Seems to be of some controversy.

Owen, Robert Dale. Moral Physiology. London: J. Watson, 1842. This book promotes withdrawal as a means of population control. It was re-printed many times throughout the 19th century. Probably very influential. It by-passes theories of generation, and even quotes a number of outdated ones, almost as if to ridicule the idea of asking when life begins. It's almost "irrelevant." No concept of the sanctity of human life.

Tucker, David H. Elements of the Principles and Practice of Midwifery. Philadelphia. 1848. Section on Reproduction begins on p. 59.  P.61: Sperm requires contact with ovum for fertilization; quotes Spallanzani (P. 60-61) and Prévost and Dumas. P. 62 Mature ovum descends down fallopian tube before reaching semen. P. 64 Uses "evolution" to refer to"preformationism." Names ovists and spermatists. P. 66 Quotes Bischoff.  P. 377 Speaking of craniotomy, "Nor in this case are we obliged to murder the child..." P. 383 Calls perforator "murderous instrument."  Defends premature delivery. P. 391 Choose the plan least injurious to the mother.  P. 392 He asks "Can any one compare in importance the life of the infant with that of the mother?  Will society sanction such a comparison?  Would the husband decide otherwise than in favor of the operation which would most likely insure the safety of his wife, regardless of the unborn child?  And in view of this universal verdict, shall medical men adopt a counter-opinion?" Then quotes Velpeau who says that a fetus between 3-6 months is worth scarcely more than a plant. [Echoes of Bichat.] Tucker says that early abortion (induction) is the truly humane way of proceeding.

Wiltbank, John. A plea for obstetrics: introductory lecture to the course of midwifery, in the medical department of Pennsylvania College, for the Session of 1848-49. Philadelphia. 1848. P. 4 The child is entrusted to the accoucheur throughout the whole period of gestation. He is the medical advisor of both mother and child. P.13 Females unfit to practice obstetrics.


1850-1859


BeachWooster. An improved system of midwifery: adapted to the reformed practice of medicine. To which is annexed, a compendium of the treatment of female and infantile diseases, with remarks on physiological and moral elevation. New York. 1850. Written by an "eclectic" doctor, strong believer in roots and herbs. Non-allopathic. P. 83-84 Discusses cases of induced abortion. P. 87 The action of many pharmaceutical agents thought to cause abortion is uncertain; could kill the mother. To destroy the unborn is as much of a crime against society and against the Creator as killing an infant, child or man. P.88 Ridicules Scottish jurisprudence on abortion; fetus is considered part of mother's body; calls it child murder.P. 166ff Denounces widespread use of instruments. Says their use should be rare. P.168 Nice illustration of an unborn child at term. P. 169 Nice table of craniotomy stats. P. 170 Near p. 177 several full color images of craniotomy-- reader discretion is advised. Not completely against embryotomy on living subjects.

Cock, Thomas F. "Cock's Cases in Midwifery." New York Journal of Medicine. November 1855. P. 313-352. P. 349 Of fourteen cases of embryotomy, none involved sacrificing the life of the child. Attributes this to the natural repugnance to destroying a child (only one case he was involved with was under his care.)

Dunglison, Robley. Human physiology. Volume 2. Eighth Edition. Philadelphia. 1856. P. 427 Cites Spallanzani's experiment with a spaniel, using artificial insemination. Cites Prévost and Dumas. Much discussion about fertilization circa p. 428-429. P. 527 Names all the best embryologists. P. 528 Embryos of animals resemble each other in early pregnancy. P. 540 Fetal imagery. Seventh Edition (1850) here.


Gardner, Augustus Kinsley. The Causes and Curative Treatment of Sterility, with a Preliminary Statement of the Physiology of Generation. New York: De Witt & Davenport, 1856. The description of generation is interesting. P. 37 "Man begins life as a small membranous vesicle" Refers to a drawing "a picture of his important person in the primeval stage of existence."

Hodge, Hugh Lenox. On Criminal Abortion. 1854.

Mariceau, A.M. [pseudonym for Ann Trow Lohman = Madame Restell, Charles Lohman], The Married Woman's Private Medical Companion, New York, 1852. Virtually nothing about the unborn, but written by an abortionist. Plagiarizes Robert Owen on contraceptive advocacy. Pro-abortion.

Meigs, Charles Delucena.Woman: her diseases and remedies: a series of letters to his class. Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1859. Really interesting document. It's a gynecological textbook written as a series of letters to Hugh Lennox Hodge. Lots of fascinating nuggets. Says pregnancy/conception begins with implantation. Describes obstetric auscultation. Says the state recognizes the baby after quickening, but lawyers are dumb for making the distinction, implying baby is just as alive before quickening. Against obstetric anesthesia.

Neil, John and Francis Gurney Smith. A hand-book of obstetrics: with forty-one illustrations: being a portion of an analytical compendium of the various branches of medicine. Philadelphia. 1852.

Root, Harmon Knox. 13th ed.  The People's Medical Lighthouse. New York: Adolphus Ranney, 1856. An all purpose medical guide that contains a passionate denunciation of abortion. Very woman-positive. Bibliocentric.

Stillé Moreton & Francis Wharton. Treatise on Medical Jurisprudence.  Philadelphia: Kay & Brother, 1855.  LOTS of detailed information about abortion, in the notes says a fetus is a human being.

Velpeau, Alfred. A Complete Treatise on Midwifery: Or, the Theory and Practice of Tokology: Including Diseases of Pregnancy, Labor, and the Puerperal State. Translated by Charles D. Meigs. Philadelphia. 1852.

Warrington, Joseph. The Obstetric Catechism: Containing Two Thousand Three Hundred and Forty-seven Questions and Answers on Obstetrics Proper. Philadelphia. 1853.  Lots of good stuff about the unborn. 1842 Version.

Wright, Henry C. Marriage and Parentage. Boston: Bela Marsh, 1858. Many interesting contradictions about the unborn. Describes the unborn as developing into a human being, but believes that the soul is created through physical conception. Calls abortion "child-murder." He was a feminist. (Maybe Transcendentalist? Could explain acceptance of contradiction!)

1860-1869


Ashton, James. The Book of Nature. New York: Wallis and Ashton: 1861. A marriage manual. Contains info on how the unborn are conceived. Says abortion should only be undertaken with the supervision of a doctor.

Barry, John. "Medico-Christian Embryology." St. Louis  Medical and Surgical Journal. Volume 4, Issue 6. 1867. This volume only contains the second part. I was not able to obtain the first part.

Bedford, Gunning S. The Principles and practice of obstetrics. New York. 1861. Extensive discussion on fertilization. Says in all likelihood, sperm and female germ cell must unite for fecundation.  P. 122 Pregnancy is not a pathological. P. 137 Says obstetricians approached by women to do abortions. P. 176 Embryo is alive from fertilization. Quickening is an absurd doctrine. This book has too many details to list. A very engaging book. P.111 Female supplies germ cell for reproduction. P. 117 Penetration of sperm cell and germ cell take place. P. 121 Pregnancy exists from moment of fecundation. P. 123 Pregnancy a period of increased health. P. 175 Theory of quickening is absurd. P. 176 Criticizes Lord Ellenborough's Act. P. 176 Life begins at conception.


Foote, Edward Bliss. Medical Common Sense: Applied to the Causes, Prevention and Cure of Chronic Diseases and Unhappiness in Marriage. New York: Self-Published, 1863.  By a "medical and electrical therapeutist." (Sounds like a quack!). I'm mainly putting this here because of the picture of the unborn. Otherwise matter is pretty thin.

Hale, Edwin M. Systematic Treatise on Abortion. Chicago: C. S. Halsey, 1866. Homeopathic doctor. Describes how to perform abortions. According to James Mohr, he approved of abortion for victims of seduction. "in  no  instance  should  the  life,  or even  health  [his  italics ]  of  the  mother  be  sacrificed  to  save that  of  an  impregnate d  ovum ,  before  the  date  of  its viability." (Quoted in Mohr.)

Hale, Edwin M. The Great Crime of the Nineteenth Century. Chicago: C. Halsey, 1867. 40 Page pamphlet detailing the causes, actors, etc of criminal abortion. Interesting that a man on a crusade against abortion would also perform abortions.

Hodge, Hugh Lenox. The Principles and Practice of Obstetrics: Illustrated with One Hundred and Fifty-nine Lithographic Figures from Original Photographs : and with Numerous Wood-cuts.  Philadelphia. 1866. Has pro-life sentiment in it, but you have to dig a little for it. Does not discuss generation very much.  The preface p. V has an interesting section on the history of obstetrics in the United States with many good tidbits of information. A Who's Who of the History of Obstetrics in the Early Republic. P. IX says obtaining copies of European textbooks in the Early Republic could be difficult, hence American editions were made. Important bibliographical commentary on obstetric writing. Some were translations of French works. P. X. Says the second work of obstetrics by an American came in 1838 written by Charles Meigs. P. XI  Henry Miller of Louisville Kentucky produced first obstetrics book west of Mississippi in 1858. Note: John Barry was also of Louisville, Kentucky- was there any intellectual crossbreeding between the two (see bibliographical entry on John Barry.) P. 48 Chapter IV, discusses fertilization, says that the new "vesicle" (re: embryo) is endowed with vital powers-- hints of vitalism? Chapters 13-16 discuss measures using instruments. This is where pro-life sentiment is to be found.  Not for the faint of heart. P. 274 says he experimented with cephalotribe with children who died at term.P. 275 says pelvic deformities of the kind that justify premature induction rarely encountered in America.  P. 276 Embryotomy only to be performed if the child is dead. If the child is living, this operation cannot be justified. P. 284 says that the general consensus is that embryotomy should be performed on a living child if the short diameter of the pelvis is between 2.25 and 3.25 inches. He says he has no intention of invalidating these rules, but he said these rules should be "tested" as science improves. P. 284 the English are prejudiced against c-section. P. 285 c-section less in demand in America as deformities of pelvis not as common as in Europe. Case of Mrs. R with pelvic deformity in 1831. P. 293 speaks about Mr. Kelly's report of gathering of accoucheurs in 1756 to discuss premature induction. Macaulay and Denman did it, reported success. Says objections to it have been abandoned. P. 295 welfare of mother is paramount, but the unborn child is a perfect human being. Only in case of choice between two must life of child be abandoned because the mother's life is "important."  P. 298 justifies abortion in case of retroversion of the uterus. P. 298 bottom left hand column-- if mother's life is in jeopardy, induction should be made to save "more important life of the mother." Right hand column-- says if mother could not survive pregnancy, abortion could be justified. P. 300 right hand column: abuse of premature induction. Talks about an abortion case. P. 301 left column, denounces abortion, but again justifies abortion in extreme cases. Right-hand column: Dr. Merriman was said to object that his operation could be abused. 1864 Edition.

Howard, Horton. Howard's Domestic Medicine. Philadelphia: Duane Rulison, 1861. Circa. Page 369. Timeline is off on fetal development. Quotes Buchan on fetal development. Howard died in 1833 so this is a subsequent edition. He was a Quaker.

Jackson, James C. The Sexual Organism and Its Healthful Management. Boston: B. Leverett Emerson, 1869. In the chapter on panaceas and "female pills", he says those female pills are represented as "perfectly safe to induce miscarriage" also that they are "just the thing for the prevention of conception" and "not less efficacious in the prevention of abortion." Basically says these pills are fake and used for a number of conditions. Says period before birth important for imprinting on child.

Le Prohon, Ed. Ph. Voluntary abortion, or fashionable prostitution, with some remarks upon the operation of craniotomy. Portland: Thurston1867. A strong anti-abortion tract written by a Catholic doctor from Maine. Does not believe in therapeutic exceptions for abortion. Denounces craniotomy. Thinks C-section is the alternative. Thinks woman should consider sacrificing her life rather than killing her child. Says Protestant Christianity cannot hold back abortion, only Catholicism can stop it.

Longshore, Joseph Skelton. The Philadelphia System of Obstetrics: In Twelve Parts. Philadelphia, 1868.  P. 14 top-- life of child accounted less important than that of the mother. P. 15. Raynauld said to be the first to write about midwifery in English in 1540. P. 16 Louiza Brewster student of Ambroise Paré wrote about abortion. P. 24 obstetrics regarded as an inferior branch, P. 25 Gynecology  lowly regarded.P. 28 in fetal life, no appreciable difference exists between male and female. P. 726 on medical abortion. Cites 1756 as first year it was used. Says foetus has claim on doctor care. But care of fetus should not endanger life of mother. The woman decides whether she gets abortion after being informed of probabilities. P. 727 Self-abortion is dangerous. No medicine that can affects the safety of the fetus is safe for the mother. How to do abortions. P. 766 When should cephalotomy (i.e. head crushing) be resorted to? Thinks it's monstrous to resort to C-section to save fetus as it endangers mother. Says theology supports this. Fetus has claim to care but mother much more important. Cephalotomy must only be used to save the life of the mother. P. 768 killing the unborn may seem cruel but is actually an act of kindness. P. 769 description of craniotomy performed by author's sister-in-law (an MD). P. 773 begins part about C-section. P. 777 Accoucheurs have given too much value to life of of fetus in choosing c-section, endangering mother. P. 778 extensive discussion-- "nobody" would accept sacrificing mother for fetus. Decision should be left to the woman. Catholic countries prefer c-section to cephalotomy. The desire to have the child christened is more important than safety of mother in those countries. In Protestant England and free American, the value of the woman is "duly appreciated" -- anti-Catholic swipe-- c-section is less resorted to. P. 779-780 recounts anecdote-- was once asked by a priest to open up a dead pregnant woman, dead fifteen minutes. By the time the c-section was done, it was 30 minutes and the baby was dead. Strong awareness of Catholic ideas about saving the unborn. P. 391 Induced abortion spoken of as a legit operation.

Meigs, Charles D. Obstetrics: The Science and the Art. Philadelphia. 1867. P. 180 Says the ovulum is alive but not generically alive. A fecundated ovulum does not mean conception. P. 182 Conception occurs when the embryo attaches to the uterus. P. 199 Denounces concept of quickening. Hopes it's done away with in law. P. 551 The forceps are the *child's* instruments and meant to save him, not meant to make the mother feel good about the delivery. It's not about the mother. Perforator is to save the mother. P. 574 Embryotomy does not occur very often. P. 576 Says some obstetricians have boasted that they have never done these destructive operations, and it may be true, because they hand off this 'duty' to someone else. P. 606 The child has "claims", but the mother's claims are "paramount." 1852 Edition here. 1849 Version here.

Morrill, C. Physiology of Woman. Fifth Edition. Boston: M. Charles & Co. 1868. In section on abortion says abortion pills, emmanagogues etc. often don't work. P. 316. Says a great number of medicines are supposed to induce miscarriage, but there is no certainty in their action.Has a description of fetal development.

Storer, Horatio Robinson. Criminal Abortion: Its Nature, Its Evidence, and Its Law. (With Franklin Fiske Heard.). Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1868.

Storer, Horatio Robinson. Is it I? A Book for Every ManBoston: Lee and Shephard, 1867.  Actually deals more with marriage than abortion, but this book was a way of approaching the abortion issue with men. One interesting statement he makes regarding the unborn is that men were once really women (i.e. in the womb.)

Storer, Horatio Robinson. Why Not? A Book for Every Woman. Boston: Lee and Shephard, 1866. A book to convince women not to abort. Admits of exception to abortion.

Trall, Russell Thacher. Sexual Physiology. New York: Wood & Holbrook Hygienic Institute, 1866. Written by a hydropathic doctor.  He doesn't have much to say about the unborn child, but he does say that impregnation does not mean conception. Impregnation does not being a pregnancy! Implantation does. The unborn are alive, but do not have a soul. Might be a bit of a quack...refers to phrenology.

Trask, James D. "Review. The Principles and Practice of Obstetrics by Gunning S. Bedford."  American Medical Times.  October 5, 1861. P. 224-228 and continued Oct. 12, 1861, p. 245- 250.  P. 226 Remarks that Bedford says that abortion before quickening is at least a venial sin. Says to practitioners that those who perform abortion before or after quickening are equally guilty of murder in the eyes of heaven.The Reviewer says that the profession may congratulate itself on the improved  tone of public sentiment as indicated by the certain action of State Legislatures. Much remains to be done as many women still believe that abortion before quickening is not a moral problem. P. 249 Reviewer says it's gratifying to see how obstetrics is devoting itself to lessen loss of fetal life. Cites Tyler Smith. P. 249 Difference between English and Continental practitioners on embryotomy is due to religion. P. 249 Discussion of relative value of the unborn in Protestant and Catholic countries. Says Bedford chooses C-section over embryotomy if child is alive.

Wright, Henry C. The Unwelcome ChildBoston: Bela Marsh, 1860A goldmine of anti-abortion sentiment. Uses letters purportedly written by women to denounce undesired maternity. Lots of emotionalism. Some transcendental sentiment.

1870-1879

Atlee, W.L. & D.A. O'Donnell. "Report on Criminal Abortion." Transactions of the American Medical Association.Vol. XXII. 1871. Says Abortion became a problem in living memory.  Strong pro-life apologetics. Very moralistic.

Besant, Annie. The Law of Population.Author's American Edition from the 25th thousand, English Edition, New York: Asa K. Butts:  1878.  "The destruction of the foetus is the destruction of life."  But doesn't seem to be a whole lot in here.

Cowan, John. The Science of New Life.  New York: Cowan & Company Publishers, 1870. Strongly pro-life document. Essentially a marriage manual, but strongly denounces abortion. Fairly detailed embryological information. Surprisingly accurate.

Evans, Elizabeth Edson. The Abuse of MaternityPhiladelphia: J.P. Lippincott & Co. 1875. Part one is essentially an anti-abortion tract.

Gardner, Augustus Kinsley. Conjugal Sins Against the Laws of Life and Health. New York: J.S. Redfield,  1870. The chapter on "infanticide" is a denunciation of abortion. Historian James Mohr says that he denounces contraception in general.

Goodell, William. Biographical Memoir of Hugh Lenox Hodge. Philadelphia. 1874. A biography of Hugh Lenox Hodge. P. 13 Remembered for his bold and uncompromising stance on abortion, which made a deep impression on his students. Called a growing evil, a crime against God and man. The small booklet that grew out of his lectures had widespread circulation and exerted widespread influence. P.15 After his eyesight failed him, wrote an introductory lecture on abortion. Reprinted many times, later entitled "Foeticide." Photography was used for his 1863 textbook of obstetrics. A pelvis and fetal head were photographed.

Hitchcock, Homer. Report on Criminal Abortion. Reprinted from the Fourth Annual Report of the Michigan State Board of Health, 1876. Lots of good nuggets. Says that ignorance of embryology was widespread, and that even physicians were ignorant. Doctrine of quickening widespread.

Hollick, Frederick. The Origin of Life and Process of Reproduction in Plants and Animals. 1878. A BRICK. 1000 pages. First half is virtually a work on developmental biology. P. 446 addresses "vitality" of the fetus. Says it's a separate life. Around p. 525 denounces abortion, calls is risky for women. Implies "prevention" should be encouraged to discourage abortions p.526. Some of the illustrations are good.

Kellogg, John Harvey.  Plain Facts for Old and Young. Burlington, Iowa: I. F. Segner, 1882. Decries abortion circa. p. 260, calls embryo "human form divine." Quotes Augustus Gardener (consult entry) on abortion. Also starts section on abortion on 271. Says it's a modern notion that the unborn child has no soul until quickening (when it fact it's a very OLD idea!) He answers many pro-abortion objections, so you have some notion of what defenders of abortions say. Quotes a number of authorities...useful for cross-referencing which authorities were cited.

Napheys, George M. The Physical Life of Woman. Toronto: Maclear & Co. 1875. This is a Canadian edition of an American book that according to James Mohr sold 150 000 copies. It had many editions. Denounces abortion. Speaks of educating the child in the womb.

Nichols, Thomas Low. Esoteric anthropology, the mysteries of man. American Edition. Glasgow, 1873. Affirms life begins at conception. Denounces abortion. Calls the embryo an "ovum". Says only the woman should decide if the ovum can be impregnated. P. 109 has drawing of craniotomy.

Pancoast, Seth. The Ladies' Medical Guide and Marriage Friend. Philadelphia: John E. Potter and Company, 1875. A very conventional marriage manual. Denounces abortion. Has interesting illustrations. Pro-woman. Huge book of over 600 pages.

1880-1889

Duffey, Eliza B. The Relations of the Sexes. New York: M.L. Holbrook & Company, 1889. Strongly anti-abortion. Calls it murder.

Eaton, Morton Monroe. A treatise on the medical and surgical diseases of women, with their homopathic treatment. New York: Boericke & Tafel, 1880. Homeopathic guide, which justifies abortion in cases of excessive vomitting, p. 687.

Foote, E.B. The Radical Remedy in Social Science or Borning Better Babies. New York: Murray Hill Publishing Company, 1887. Social science in the advancement of Malthusianism. Contraception advocated. Argues contraception would mean fewer abortions.

Gleason, R[achel] B. Talks to My Patients. 7th Ed. New York: M.L. Holbrook, 1880 (first published 1870.)  Not actually that much about the unborn, but does denounce abortion and reference H.R. Storer. The denunciation of abortion puts the emphasis on the harm against the woman.

Glisan, Rodney. Textbook of Modern Midwifery. Philadelphia. 1881. P. 524 Section on Embryotomy. Says up to recently it was considered a sin by the Catholic Church to kill a fetus in utero to save the mother's life. In England, mother's life was considered paramount. P. 529 Image of perforated head.  P. 249 Section on abortion and premature labour. Says there is no difference between them except one is done before viability and the latter after. P. 255 It would seem that the law is almost powerless to prevent criminal abortion. Few of the most notorious abortionists are properly punished for their wholesale slaughter of infantile life. P. 259 Prognosis from self-abortion using instruments is bad.

Lind, G. Dallas. A Mother's Guide, A Daughter's Friend. Indianapolis: Webster Publishing, 1886. Published anonymously, but James Mohr says he wrote the book. Denounces contraception. Says education of the unborn can begin in the womb.

Lomax, William. "Case of Delivery by Embryotomy Without Cutting Instruments." Transactions of the Indiana State Medical Society. 1882. P. 49-55.

Lusk, William T. The Science and art of midwifery. New Edition. New York. 1885. P.401ff Section on craniotomy and embryotomy.  P. 402 Perforation necessary if mother's life is at stake; few would dispute mother's superior claim to existence. P. 406 Image of child with perforated head. P. 415 Simpson's image of child's head, perforated, delivered by cranioclast. P. 419 Image of child's head sectioned by Tarnier's forceps saw. P. 421 Image of use of decapitation hook. P. 423 Image of an instrument used on a child to help decapitate it.

Pearman, Mary B. "Laparotomy vs. Embryotomy.Southern Homoeopathic Pellet. Vol 4. No. 2, March, 1885.  p. 43-47. Essentially advocates for abdominal surgery over embryotomy. P. 43 Murdering the fetus does not guarantee the life of the mother.  P. 46 She so sympathizes with the disappointed mother that she feels abhorrence at embryotomy.

Pomeroy, H.S. The Ethics of Marriage. New York: Funk & Wagnall's1888. Basically a pro-life tract. Very interesting material-- details about the practice of abortion.  Has a handy chart listing laws against abortion/chastity, state-by-state.

Stockham, Alice Bunker. Tokology. Revised edition. New York: R. F. Fenno & Co., 1886.  A pregnancy books for women. Contains a strong denunciation of abortion.

1890-1899

Cameron, J. Chalmers. "Instrumental Operations."  An American Text-book of Obstetrics: For Practitioners and Students. James C. Cameron et al. Philadelphia. 1895. P. 867-940. P. 878 Discusses premature induction of labour; when the child is not viable, it is called an abortion. Abortion is indicated for excessive vomitting. In many instances, abortion may be only means of saving mother's life. Improvements in C-section and symphysiotomy has limited the need for premature labour. P. 882 Premature labour raises moral and religious questions that should be left up to the patient and family. P. 918 The physician should not be called to decide certain questions e.g. is it acceptable for to destroy a living child to save the mother? P.926 Section on craniotomy.  Few practitioners have had excellent results from symphysiotomy hence it is implied sometimes it is okay to perform craniotomy. P. 927 It is premature to say that  mutilating a living child is never justifiable. P. 932 Image of child's head being compressed. P. 934 Image of perforation of head. P. 935 Image of child being perforated. P. 939 Image of decapitation.

Cooke, Nicholas Francis. Satan in Society. Chicago: C.F. Vent Company, 1890. The author is strongly pro-life. Bio says he converted to Catholicism. Says child has a right to be born.

Edgar, J.C. "Embryotomy, Its Prognosis and Limitations." Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York.1893. P. 110-120. P.112 Argues embryotomy over c-section because it is fairly easy for the unskilled to perform (implying that c-sections require a certain degree of skill.) P. 115 Not enough cases of contracted pelvises in New York City for physicians to perform c-sections and gain experience. P.116 Question of whether embryotomy on a living fetus is ever justifiable is a "hackneyed" question. P. 117 Between embryotomy and c-section, patient and family generally choose embryotomy.

Grandin, Egbert H. and George W. Jarman. Pregnancy, Labor, and the Puerperal State. Philadelphia. 1895. P. 146 Section on Embryotomy. Indications for embryotomy is for when the fetus is dead, except for monstrosities. Advances in c-section and symphysiotomy means it's no longer necessary for the live fetus. P. 147 Physician should present the risks and benefits of two operations to patient without view to sentimentality or personal training. P. 151 Image of embryotomy. P. 158 Plate of use of instrument on manikin to show how to decapitate a baby. (Book is also known as Obstetric Surgery.)

Knowlton, Charles. The Fruits of Philosophy. Edited by Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh. San Francisco: The Reader's Library, 1891. Relatively little of interest concerning the unborn. I only put it here because it was published numerous times since its first appearance in 1832. Much of the reproductive information is dated and corrected in the footnotes by the editors. It was published to thumb noses at obscenity laws. It's basically a free-thought pro-contraception pamphlet.

Leavitt, Sheldon. The Science and Art of Obstetrics. Chicago. 1883.  P. 549 Section involving operations that destroy the fetus. Many types of operations mentioned. P.552 Illustration of baby with perforated head.  P. 557 Illustration of use of decapitating hook.

Murray, Robert A. "The Limitations of the Caesarean Section." Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York.1893. P. 121-125. American newborns are said to be heavier than European newborns, on average, which contributes to fetal mortality.  P. 125 Easier to find consent to craniotomy than to c-section. 

O'Hara, M. M.D. "Caesarean Versus Craniotomy." The American Ecclesiastical Review. Volume VIII No. 5 November 1893. P. 360-363. Denounces Craniotomy.

Parish, W.H. "The Present State of Craniotomy in the Medical Profession" The American Ecclesiastical Review. Volume VIII. No. 5 November 1893. P. 363-366. Says that in the American medical system, life of woman is paramount to that of child.

Stockham, Alice Bunker. Karezza: Ethics of Marriage. Chicago: Alice B. Stockham & Co. 1896. This is a pretty weird book. Alice Stockham was an OB\GYN, the fifth woman in the United States to become a doctor. She developed her own sexual philosophy that has shades of spiritualism/New Age. It draws upon Tantra. However, she was against abortion. P. 59 says that plannification for pregnancy fulfils the right of the unborn child. Advocates for pre-natal culture. This book in particular does not seem to have a lot about the unborn (although I only did a quick check) but what it does have is significant. There's an ad for a book about Pre-natal culture at the back.

Zinke, E. Gustave. "Symphyseotomy Vs. Embryotomy Upon the Living Fetus." Cincinnati Lancet and Clinic. Volume 73. April 6, 1895. P. 387-396. [Second part and conclusion the following week.] P. 387 Says that the question of whether embryotomy on a living fetus is the burning question of the day. For himself, he decided that mutilation of a fetus to save the mother's life is unnecessary.  Extensive use of tables and cases. Second part here. April 13, 1895. P. 418-423. P.419 Says that he has advocated for years that symphyseotomy was not justified on a living fetus. Says obstetric opinion disagrees with him.  P. 419 Says symphyseotomy honour to Italian school of obstetrics, but cannot feel that the Church, which has opposed all embryotomy, supported that operation. (He's taking a swipe at the Church.)  P. 419-420 Cites words of Penrose who says the in a case of difficult labour embryotomy is not a barbaric operation but a conservative and benign one. Embryotomy does not kill the child; impossible labour does; it saves the mother. Not a dangerous operation.A person who fails to perform embryotomy when needed is criminal in his ignorance or timidity. P.420 Quotes Grandin and Jarman:  in the United States, the mother should continue to have the right of choice  between symphyseotomy and embryotomy until mortality is comparable. But more than one European obstetrician is on record as saying that it is time to stop sacrificing the child to save the mother. (He's probably thinking of Pinard.)  P. 421 Agrees woman should have the choice between symphyseotomy and embryotomy. But doctor has his own right to choose. P. 421  Even disabled babies may become useful members of society.

20th Century +

Coppens, Charles. "Abortion." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907.
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Aristotle's Masterpiece. An anonymous marriage manual first published in 1684. Editions had been re-published right down the to 20th century. Claims that the soul is infused at the 45th day after conception. This article says it was one of the most popular books ever on making babies. According to Joseph Needham p. 92 of his book, St. Albert the Great's De Secretis Mulierum influenced the composition of this work. Also says that Fortunius Licetus De Monstrum Natura is a source. Illustrations of 1616 still being reproduced.

Aristotle's Masterpiece. New York: Published for the Trade, 1846. An updated edition of the 17th century version. Lots of false embryological information. One of the most popular manuals in America.



National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) - April 1974. Population control as an instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy, encouraging abortion and contraception.


"Is Maternal Emotion Communicable to the Foetus?" The Medical Repository (And Review Of American Publications On Medicine, Surgery And The Auxiliary Of Science) 1808.  p. 305.

"Society Proceedings. Philadelphia County Medical Society. Stated Meeting. October 12, 1892." Medical News. November 5, 1892.  P. 526-530. Discussion on symphysiotomy. P. 527 Dr. Ashton expressed the view that the obstetrician's first duty is to the mother, and between symphysiotomy and embryotomy should choose the latter. P.527-528 Dr. Noble stated that symphysiotomy will take away motive to destroy child among those prone to do that. Idea of destroying living child so repugnant to him that he resolved to use c-section. Nobody has the right to destroy fetus when only a slight increase to the mother could save it.

"Society Proceedings. New York Academy of Medicine. Meeting. April 16th, 1891." International Record of Medicine and General Practice Clinics. Volume 53. May. 16, 1891.  P. 573.  While rights of child were important, rights of mother paramount. C-section required skill, embryotomy did not.

Question: Is Embryotomy of the Living Fetus Justifiable? Sparked by paper presented by Egbert H. Grandin.


"Review of The Principles and Practice of Obstetrics by Gunning S. Bedford." The American Medical Monthly. September 1862. P. 215-239. An extensive book review. P. 222 Bedford's description of fecundation and reproduction praised. P. 228 Passage on abortion. Reviewer quotes Bedford asking if abortion is ever justified; later quotes Bedford saying that he cannot determine the question for others. P. 229 Quotes Bedford as saying he would induce abortion to save the mother's life. P. 237 Quoted Bedford as saying that if the mother is full-term and has a contracted pelvis, he would choose c-section over embryotomy.