Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Road to Hitler Was Paved With Abortions

The New Oxford Review has a review of a book detailing the legalization of abortion in Weimar Germany.

It's hard to pick just one snippet of this review, but here's a gem:

Usborne reveals that surgical abortions in the Weimar years were not necessarily safer for women than those done by "quacks": In 1921 an anonymous collection of cases from university maternity hospitals was published in which hundreds of women were said to have died from medical abortions performed by gynecologists under the 1917 guidelines. Yet when such doctors came to trial, they were usually acquitted, or when found guilty their sentences were laughably mild. One doctor stood trial for seven commercial abortions, two of which ended in death, and he was acquitted, though five women testified he was known to perform abortions for money and one doctor accused him of malpractice. Another doctor was convicted of manslaughter in two abortions but received a sentence of three months' imprisonment, a far cry from the 15 years maximum the law prescribed before 1926.

Usborne's theme is that "lay abortionists" were demonized by doctors in a "campaign to medicalize birth control and abortion." She thinks these "lay abortionists" — who might be midwives, pharmacists, masseurs, fortune-tellers, or nature therapists — had a good "safety" record. Of course, she ignores the 100 percent death rate for the children in the womb! The Berlin pharmacist and socialist Heiser, tried in 1927 and convicted for 300 criminal abortions, boasted that he had performed 11,000 such abortions. And the case of the abortionist Frau Martha Spitzer demonstrates the extent to which "alternative medicine, superstition, active witchcraft (as well as abortion) was practiced in a working-class community at a time of arguably the first modern welfare state in history." Spitzer carried an image of Lucifer in a silk purse for protection.

Abortion is a shady business. It will always be a shady business. Because it deals with shady things, like killing babies.