TAILIEUCHUNG - Gale Encyclopedia Of American Law 3Rd Edition Volume 12 49

Gale Encyclopedia of American Law Volume 12 P49 fully illuminates today's leading cases, major statutes, legal terms and concepts, notable persons involved with the law, important documents and more. Legal issues are fully discussed in easy-to-understand language, including such high-profile topics as the Americans with Disabilities Act, capital punishment, domestic violence, gay and lesbian rights, physician-assisted suicide and thousands more. | MILESTONES IN THE LAW ROE V. WADE 467 VII Three reasons have been advanced to explain historically the enactment of criminal abortion laws in the 19th century and to justify their continued existence. It has been argued occasionally that these laws were the product of a Victorian social concern to discourage illicit sexual conduct. Texas however does not advance this justification in the present case and it appears that no court or commentator has taken the argument seriously. 41 42 The appellants and amici contend moreover that this is not a proper state purpose at all and suggest that if it were the Texas statutes are overboard in protecting it since the law fails to distinguish between married and unwed mothers. A second reason is concerned with abortion as a medical procedure. When most criminal abortion laws were first enacted the procedure was a hazardous one for the This was particularly true prior to the development of antisepsis. Antiseptic techniques of course were based on discoveries by Lister Pasteur and others first announced in 1867 but were not generally accepted and employed until about the turn of the century. Abortion mortality was high. Even after 1900 and perhaps until as late as the development of antibiotics in the 1940 s standard modern techniques such as dilation and curettage were not nearly so safe as they are today. Thus it has been argued that a State s real concern in enacting a criminal abortion law was to protect the pregnant woman that is to restrain her from submitting to a procedure that placed her life in serious jeopardy. Modern medical techniques have altered this situation. Appellants and various amici refer to medical data indicating that abortion in early pregnancy that is prior to the end of the first trimester although not without its risk is now relatively safe. Mortality rates for women undergoing early abortions where the procedure is legal appear to be as low as or lower than the rates for normal