Margaret Sanger, "Abortion in the United States," May 1914.

Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 3, May 1914 , 24 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0538 .


It is a well recognized fact that "criminal" abortion prevails to-day to such an extent that it is estimated that one-third of all pregnancies result in criminal abortion.

It is said 100,000 criminal abortions occur each year in the United States and 6,000, at the lowest estimate, die yearly from the direct result of this.

"Criminal" abortions arise from a perverted sex relationship under the stress of economic necessity, and their greatest frequency is among married women.

Prominent authorities claim that criminal abortions are 50 per cent. of all abortions that occur, and this is considered a conservative estimate.

Just why there is such danger in abortions can be readily understood when we realize the process of growth of the embryo. During the first six weeks after conception the ovum becomes implanted in the uterus. The second six weeks is occupied with the formation of the placenta (afterbirth). This is the period when abortion most easily occurs, because of the firmly adhering covering of the embryo to the walls or lining of the uterus.

When instruments are used they often rupture the membrane and the entire placenta may be left, though the foetus comes away. The covering or envelope of the ovum may come away in a shred-like discharge after an abortion, all of which necessitates a careful curettage (or scraping) to avoid resulting conditions of blood-poisoning and disease. Most of the deaths are the result of sepsis (or decay) of some kind. Often the foetus is found macerated (or softened) and the whole region of the reproductive organs is in a highly inflamed condition. Rarely if ever is an abortion complete, and only in a very small percentage, authorities claim, is there reason to believe the ovum is expelled unbroken. Consequently the uterus needs careful investigation after each case of abortion.

When an abortion is properly done by one specialized to do so, the cost is usually tremendous. What a wholesale lot of misery, expense, unhappiness and worry will be avoided when woman shall possess the knowledge of prevention of conception!

In Paris up to a few years ago the instruments to produce abortion were sold openly in the market place, while all the mechanical preventatives were, and are, openly displayed in the windows of the drug stores. Abortions, with their horrible consequences, are quite needless and unnecessary when the subject of preventive means shall be open to all to discuss and use. How soon this shall be, depends on you.

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