By John Keown
Starting from the start of the 19th century to the Eighties, this publication specializes in the evolution of the legislations and scientific perform of abortion in England. Little educational recognition has hitherto been given to the advance and scope of abortion legislation in England, the formative effect of the scientific career, and the influence of the legislation on scientific perform. therefore, Dr Keown considers the functionality of abortion through medical professionals, and the impression the clinical occupation had at the restrict of the legislations within the 19th century and on its leisure within the 20th. The ebook doesn't deal at once with the criminal prestige of the unborn baby, the rights and tasks of its mom and dad and of the medical professionals fascinated by the supply of abortion or the query of the desirability of reform. particularly, adopting a socio-legal point of view, it considers what the scope of the prohibition of abortion has been and makes a speciality of facets impact at the evolution of that prohibition, and perform thereunder.
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Extra info for Abortion, Doctors and the Law: Some Aspects of the Legal Regulation of Abortion in England from 1803 to 1982
V. Goddard, where a midwife was convicted of murdering a woman who died from an operation to procure abortion, the journal protested that the crime was committed under such circumstances as should alert the legislature to the dangerous laxity which permitted even the most ignorant and worthless to engage in the practice of medicine. It continued: Under the cloak of the practitioner of medicine, which the shameful connivance of our laws permits every charlatan to wear, this and other offences against society are perpetrated by the most ignorant and vilest of men.
As with the Acts of 1803 and 1828, the parliamentary debates disclose an intention to consolidate the law relating to offences against the person. They also reveal a concern to reduce the number of capital felonies. 14 With specific reference to ss. 11-13 of Lansdowne's Act, they pointed out that the law was constantly frustrated by the reluctance of prosecutors to prefer a capital charge and of juries to convict, and by the readiness of the judges to interpret the law in the defendant's favour.
P. 23 The report continues: 'He did not, however, believe that this change was intentionally made. 24 In fact, the change was probably made in full knowledge of the authorities The influence of medical opinion 31 and was, probably, an accurate statement of the existing law. Pregnancy was not only an essential ingredient of post-quickening abortion but, after R. v. Scudder (1828),25 it also had to be proved when pre-quickening interference was alleged. Nevertheless, Lyndhurst's objection prevailed and the requirement of pregnancy was dropped.