Presentation on theme: "The final paragraph of Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer’s first (Jan. 1859) North-American Medico-Chirurgical Review article: “And now words fail. Of the mother,"— Presentation transcript:
The final paragraph of Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer’s first (Jan. 1859) North-American Medico-Chirurgical Review article: “And now words fail. Of the mother, by consent or by her own hand, imbrued with her infant’s blood; of the equally guilty father, who counsels or allows the crime; of the wretches who by their wholesale murders far out-Herod Burke and Hare; of the public sentiment which palliates, pardons, and would even praise this so common violation of all law, human and divine, of all instinct, of all reason, all pity, all mercy, all love,—we leave those to speak who can.”
Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. and the Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion Frederick N. Dyer, Ph.D. Research Solutions, Inc. Columbus, Georgia
Presented January 22, 2015 to the Montgomery Federalist Society at the Capital City Club in Montgomery
Goals of this presentation: Discuss how I came to know and love Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer. Describe Dr. Storer’s key role in starting the “Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion” that led to stringent laws against abortion. Discuss how the “Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion” saved children and has greatly influenced who is alive today in the U.S.
Born in Boston February 27, 1830. Died in Newport, R.I. September 18, 1922. Harvard University: A.B. 1850; A.M. & M.D. 1853; LL.B. 1868. Studied a year with Edinburgh’s Dr. (later Sir) James Young Simpson. Began medical practice in Boston in 1855 with emphasis on obstetrics and gynecology
Who was Horatio Robinson Storer? Physician to the Boston Lying-in Hospital, St. Joseph’s (Catholic) Home, & St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for Women. Professor of Obstetrics & Medical Jurisprudence at the Berkshire Medical College, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Prize Essayist & Secretary American Medical Association 1865, & Vice-President 1868.
Anesthesia Pioneer Horatio observed many of the earliest uses of ether during surgery, though not the first by John Collins Warren on October 16, 1846. Worshipped chloroform discoverer, James Young Simpson of Scotland. Storer’s limited and later full advocacy of chloroform anesthesia angered Boston etherites. Advocated anesthesia for childbirth. – Storer saw this leading to fewer abortions by women who often chose abortion to avoid childbirth pain.
Dr. Storer’s contributions to gynecology and gynecological surgery Storer 1863: “Immediately on entering practice, it became evident to me that the great field for advance in obstetric therapeutics was the interior of the uterus,—an opinion that was daily strengthened during the intimate relations to which I was admitted by Prof. Simpson in 1854.” At that time (1853), women suffered or died with problems that could have been found and easily treated if they had digital examinations.
Started first society and journal devoted to gynecology
Dr. Storer’s contributions to gynecology and gynecological surgery One of the earliest successful hysterectomies Invented gynecological instruments Ironic that Storer founded gynecology and now the major association of gynecologists (ACOG) strongly supports abortion. However there is AAPLOG.
Abortion was common in the middle of the 19 th century. You may find it surprising that abortion was common in the middle of the 19th century. November 6, 1839. Hugh Lenox Hodge, M.D.’s Introductory Lecture: “this crime, this mode of committing murder, is prevalent among the most intelligent, refined, moral, and Christian communities” March 1844. Gunning Bedford, M.D. “It, indeed, seems too monstrous for belief that such gross violations of the laws both of God and man should be suffered in the very heart of a community professing to be Christian.”
Abortion was common in the middle of the 19th century. May 1844. Boston Medical and Surgical Journal editorial: “In the city of Boston. There are men … celebrated … for their success in exterminating foetal life. June 1850. David Meredith Reese, M.D. editorial: “We cannot refer such a hecatomb of human offspring to natural causes.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th January 1851. John P. Leonard, “Quackery and Abortion”: “This kind of charlatanism is rife,” ALSO: “Besides these bills of mortality, the records of criminal courts will furnish sufficient proof that this crime is every day becoming more prevalent.” November 1855. David Humphreys Storer’s (Horatio’s Father) Introductory Lecture: “The lecturer is silent, the press is silent, and the enormity, unrebuked, stalks at midday throughout the length and breadth of the land. “* – *David’s abortion comments were not published with the rest of his speech. Horatio published them in his journal in March 1872.
Abortion common in middle of 19th December 1855 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal editorial protesting the suppression of David Storer’s abortion remarks: “To whom shall the community look for a verdict upon practices which disgrace our land and prevail to an extent that would hardly be credited, if not to physicians—and, chiefest among them, to medical teachers?”
Abortion common in middle of 19th From Horatio’s November 1859 article, “The Duty of the Profession.” One basis for physician guilt was their current “apathy and silence” on the subject of abortion, despite the fact that “thousands and hundreds of thousand of lives are thus directly at stake, and are annually sacrificed.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th Augustus Kinsley Gardner, M.D., January 1960. “We look with a shudder upon the poor ignorant Hindoo woman, who from the very love of her child, agonizes her mother’s heart, when in the fervor of her religious enthusiasm she sacrifices her beloved offspring at the feet of Juggernaut or in the turbid waves of the sacred Ganges, yet we have not a pang, nor even a word of reprobation, for the human sacrifices of the unborn thousands annually immolated in the city of New York before the blood-worshipped Moloch of fashion.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th Edwin Moses Hale in his 1867 pamphlet, “The Great Crime of the Nineteenth Century,” claimed “two-thirds of the number of conceptions occurring in the United States, and many other civilized countries, are destroyed criminally.” High water mark in abortion estimates. “Dr. “ Hale later shown to provide them in Chicago.
Storer’s key role in creating stringent legislation protecting the unborn 1857: Requested the American Medical Association create a Committee on Criminal Abortion. They agreed and he was made Chairman. (First AMA reference to the topic.) 1859: Prepared Committee’s Report on Criminal Abortion and the Resolutions that were presented at the Annual AMA meeting in Louisville. 1860: Prepared the Memorial sent to state legislatures requesting improvement of laws pertaining to abortion. 1860: Prepared the Address sent to State Medical Societies requesting their cooperation in seeking improved laws.
Storer’s articles in the North-American Medico-Chirurgical Review The final paragraphs of Storer’s first North-American Medico- Chirurgical Review article read: “If we have proved the existence of fœtal life before quickening has taken place or can take place, and by all analogy and a close and conclusive process of induction, its commencement at the very beginning, at conception itself, we are compelled to believe unjustifiable abortion always a crime. - “And now words fail. Of the mother, by consent or by her own hand, imbrued with her infant’s blood; of the equally guilty father, who counsels or allows the crime; of the wretches who by their wholesale murders far out-Herod Burke and Hare; of the public sentiment which palliates, pardons, and would even praise this so common violation of all law, human and divine, of all instinct, of all reason, all pity, all mercy, all love,—we leave those to speak who can. “
Storer’s articles in the North-American Medico-Chirurgical Review Reading “Of the Mother…” in 1994 made me realize that Storer was strongly pro-life and that he definitely needed a biography. It is unfortunate that James Mohr did not include “Of the Mother…” in his 1978 Abortion in America. It would have reduced the need for Joseph Dellapenna’s 2006 Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History. Storer repeated “Of the Mother…” in 3 later books. “Of the Mother…” also was frequently repeated by other physicians and even by a judge in later articles and books.
1859 Report of the AMA Committee on Criminal Abortion The Report began: “The heinous guilt of criminal abortion, however viewed by the community, is everywhere acknowledged by medical men. Its frequency—among all classes of society, rich and poor, single and married—most physicians have been led to suspect; very many, from their own experience of its deplorable results, have known.” Additional evidence of abortion’s frequency were “comparisons of the present with our past rates of increase in population, the size of our families, the statistics of our foetal deaths, by themselves considered, and relatively to the births and to the general mortality.”
1859 Report of the AMA Committee on Criminal Abortion Horatio then moved to the reasons for the large number of abortions. These included the “wide-spread popular ignorance of the true character of the crime,” the innocent abetment of abortion by physicians who “are frequently supposed careless of foetal life,” and “the grave defects of our laws, both common and statute, as regards the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being.”.
1859 Report of the AMA Committee on Criminal Abortion The Report then moved to the duties of physicians. “The case is here of life or death—” he continued, “the life or death of thousands— and it depends, almost wholly, upon ourselves.” He called on physicians to enlighten the public about fetal development, to avoid any appearance of negligence “of the sanctity of foetal life,” and to establish an “obstetric code; which... would tend to prevent such unnecessary and unjustifiable destruction of human life.”
1859 Report of the AMA Committee on Criminal Abortion He then turned to the deficient laws on abortion and called on physicians “as citizens” to improve them. “If the evidence upon this point is especially of a medical character,” he continued, “it is our duty to proffer our aid, and in so important a matter to urge it.”
Resolutions of the Committee on Criminal Abortion “Resolved, That while physicians have long been united in condemning the act of producing abortion, at every period of gestation, except as necessary for preserving the life of either mother or child, it has become the duty of this Association, in view of the prevalence and increasing frequency of the crime, publicly to enter an earnest and solemn protest against such unwarrantable destruction of human life.
Resolutions of the Committee on Criminal Abortion “Resolved, That in pursuance of the grand and noble calling we profess, the saving of human lives, and of the sacred responsibilities thereby devolving upon us, the Association present this subject to the attention of the several legislative assemblies of the Union, with the prayer that the laws by which the crime of procuring abortion is attempted to be controlled may be revised, and that such other action may be taken in the premises as they in their wisdom may deem necessary.
Resolutions of the Committee on Criminal Abortion “Resolved, That the Association request the zealous co-operation of the various State Medical Societies in pressing this subject upon the legislatures of their respective States, and that the President and Secretaries of the Association are hereby authorized to carry out, by memorial, these resolutions.”
AMA Report and Resolutions Horatio was too ill to travel to Louisville Louisville 5 May 1859 My Dear Dr I cannot tell you the number of Gentlemen who have spoken to me about your Report since I read it nor can I begin to tell you the high encomiums, bestowed upon it without a single drawback. I thought you would like to know it. To know that our labors are appreciated by our brethren when those labors have been bestowed in the cause of humanity is a precious cordial for one's soul in this old and thankless world. … Yours very sincerely Thos W Blatchford
Myths of Abortion History Most liberal writers claim that the laws were to protect women, to regulate the medical profession, to increase Protestant births, etc. Rarely admitted they were to protect the unborn. Roe v. Wade decision related to false belief that laws designed to protect women against an operation that no longer was dangerous in 1973.
Memorial & Address I had the great good fortune of meeting 2 of Horatio Storer’s great-grandchildren, Robert Treat Paine, Storer, Jr. and Ethyl Storer. Each had a treasure drove of letters, pictures, articles, and journals Perhaps most important blank copies of the Memorial sent to Congress and State Legislatures and the Address sent to State Medical Societies. Copies are at my Web page: The AMA Documents that Led to the Laws Overturned by Roe v Wade.
1860 Memorial Requesting Improvement of Laws “To the Governor and Legislature of the State of __________ the Memorial of the American Medical Association, an Organization representing the Medical Profession of the United States.” The Memorial then indicated that criminal abortion was “the intentional destruction of a child within its parent; and physicians are now agreed, from actual and various proof, that the child is alive from the moment of conception.” It described the high and increasing rate of criminal abortion that led to the deaths of “hundreds of thousands” and “the serious injury thereby inflicted upon the public morals.”
1860 Memorial Requesting Improvement of Laws “Public sentiment and the natural sense of duty instinctive to parents proving insufficient to check the crime, it would seem that an appeal should be made to the law and to its framers.” The various problems with existing statutes were then briefly described including the inconsistency of the Common Law that “fails to recognize the unborn child as criminally affected, whilst its existence for all civil purposes is nevertheless fully acknowledged.”
1860 Memorial Requesting Improvement of Laws “The Association would in no wise transcend its office, but that office is here so plain that it has full confidence in the result. We therefore enter its earnest prayer, that the subject of Criminal Abortion in the state of _____________, and the laws in force on the subject in said State may be referred to an appropriate Committee, with directions to report what legislative action may be necessary in the premises.” Horatio’s 9 North-American Medico-Chirurgical Review articles were enclosed with the Memorial.
1860 Address Sent to State Medical Societies The Address consisted of the three Resolutions on Criminal Abortion plus the following: In pursuance of our instructions, a memorial, of which a copy is herewith enclosed, has been transmitted to the Governor and Legislature of the State of _______________, and it now has become our duty earnestly to request of the body you represent, such early and hearty action in furtherance of the memorial of the Association, as may insure its full success against the common, though unnatural crime it aims to check.
Memorial and Address were effective Within a year New York and Connecticut strengthened their laws after State medical society requests. The concerns of Ohio physicians about criminal abortion were communicated to their Legislature and in February 1867 the Ohio Senate passed a bill strengthening the state’s abortion law. The Special Committee of the Ohio Legislature claimed they drew many of their facts from Storer’s Why Not? a Book for Every woman. This may have also occurred in other states and territories
Memorial and Address were effective “The statute laws of Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states now conform to the remodeled theory of gestation. A private note from Dr. Storer, of Boston, informs us that vigorous measures are being taken to so change the laws of a few remaining states that statutes may secure the punishment which is escaped under certain constructions of the common law.” From “Criminal Abortion,” March 13, 1867 Northwestern Christian Advocate, a popular Methodist newspaper. (Rare clergy involvement at that time that Storer and other physicians stimulated.)
Memorial and Address were effective Connecticut’s 1860 law “was a unique piece of legislation that combined “into a single forceful act the denial of the quickening doctrine, the notion of women’s liability, and anti-advertising principles. It was the forerunner of similar legislation that would be passed in almost every state and territory in the next two decades.” [Mohr, JC, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978: 202]
Storer’s efforts to make women aware that abortion was murder.
Why Not? A Book for Every Woman At the 1864 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association in New York. Michigan delegates proposed that the Association “offer a premium for the best short and comprehensive tract calculated for circulation among females, and designed to enlighten them upon the criminality and physical evils of forced abortion.” The Association agreed, Storer’s essay won the prize, and he was authorized to publish it. He chose the title, Why Not? A Book for Every Woman.
Why Not? A Book for Every Woman The book went into four editions, 1866, 1867, 1868, and 1871. Over the years several physicians wrote how they distributed the book to patients requesting abortion and the women changed their minds. In 1897, when Horatio reviewed his anti-abortion efforts he indicated that because of the book “hundreds of women acknowledged that they were … induced to permit their pregnancy to accomplish its full period.”
MANY PHYSICIANS FOLLOWED STORER In 1888, the Texas physician, Henry Clay Ghent, discussed the “duty of the medical profession” to teach the rest of humanity that life began at conception and that it was an enormous crime to end it in the womb.. He discussed his own successes in preventing abortion: “We are satisfied we have been able to convince many fathers and mothers of their erroneous notions and criminal intent, and to-day could point to scores of bright, beautiful, living monuments of different ages and of both sexes, as so many attestations of the truth of the statement.”
MANY PHYSICIANS FOLLOWED STORER In 1894, the Brooklyn surgeon, Mary Amanda Dixon Jones, described 21 requests for abortion she had received from women. She did not know the outcome in 4 cases. In 12 cases her admonitions had the desired effect and the women bore their children. In 5 cases, the woman found some means of having the abortion. “Many are now walking the streets that I have saved— have prevented their mothers from destroying them.” Probably there were more children saved than the 12 she described, but if it were 12, one would predict 20 or more offspring being born to these 12, 40 or more grandchildren of these 12, and over one hundred descendants of these 12 in our current generation.
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions. In September 1889, a lawyer who believed women had a right to abortion, published the first call for abolishment of abortion laws. Junius Hoag, M.D., quickly responded: “If the laws do nothing else these laws certainly enable us now and then to rid the community of an infamous physician, who would otherwise have continued his abominable practices to the end of the chapter. Who shall say how much good is done, both directly and indirectly in putting a stop to the crimes of one such an individual?”
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions. Hoag continued: “In the laws concerning abortion we find an outspoken expression of the best sentiments of society. The law is a constant monitor; the clergy and all other educators may fail in their duty to properly instruct the people, but we still have left instruction in the law. The man who would remove this barrier to crime, lays the axe at the very root of civilization, society, home. Why one should wish to do so, I cannot comprehend.”
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions. When laws against abortion end, abortions increase. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortions gradually rose from 898,600 in 1974, the full year following legalization, to 1,497,700 in 1979. Even minor restrictions like waiting periods and parental notification reduce abortions. We can be confident that the restrictive abortion laws passed from 1860 to 1880 reduced abortions. The laws also supported physician persuasion of women to continue pregnancies.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today The “survivors” of pregnancy because of the new laws and because of physicians’ successful persuasion of women to continue pregnancies may have made up 5% or more of the children born during the century when physicians were actively opposing unnecessary abortion. However, to be conservative and to simplify the math, assume that 3% of the children of the single generation while Storer was actively involved owed their existence to the physicians’ crusade.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today 25 percent or more of pregnancies may have been ending in induced abortion in the middle of the nineteenth century. However, assume it would have been only 15 percent ending in abortion with 85 percent of pregnancies going to term. If 1 of every 6 of these women who would have had abortions changed their minds because of the physicians’ crusade, this would leave 12.45 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion and 87.55 percent of pregnancies going to term. The ratio of 87.55 to 85 is 1.03, i.e., there would have been 3 percent more children being born as a result of the crusade.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Approximately 56 million children were born during the generation from 1870 to 1900. If 3 percent of these were born from unwanted pregnancies that went to term because of the physicians’ crusade, this would amount to 1,680,000 children whose lives were saved.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Storer wrote in 1869: "Every life saved is, as a general rule, the precursor of others that else would not have been called into existence." A soldier saved during the war in 1944 was located in 1999 by the Atlanta resident who saved him. The soldier had recovered from his head wound, had married, and had 23 living descendants
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Not every life saved mushrooms to 23 people alive in two generations, but the number of “others” “called into existence” by the physicians’ crusade in the four or five generations since the physicians’ crusade against abortion started is enormous.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Assume 3 percent of the single generation while Storer was actively involved were “Crusade survivors.” By chance, the.97 proportion of this generation who were not “Crusade survivors” would marry each other at the rate of.97 x.97 =.9409. This means that 94.09 percent of the next generation would not have had one or both of “Crusade survivors” for a parent. However, it also means that 5.91 percent of that generation would have had one or both of “Crusade survivors” for a parent.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Not happy with this analysis because it only deals with those who were not unwanted pregnancy survivors? Here is another way of getting the 5.91 percent of the next generation who were survivors. By chance the.03 male “physicians’ crusade survivors” would marry.03 female “physicians’ crusade survivors.”.03 times.03 =.0009 and thus.09 percent of the next generation would have both parents who are physicians’ crusade survivors. However, it is more likely that.03 females would marry.97 males and.03 males would marry.97 females. The 5.91 percent with one or more abortion survivor parents can be calculated by (.03 male X. 97 female+.03 female X.97 male +. 03 male X.03 female) OR (.0291 +.0291 +. 0009)=.0591, i.e., 5.91 percent).
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Similarly, the.9409 proportion without “Crusade survivor” parents would marry each other by chance at the rate of.9409 x.9409, which, when rounded, equals.8853. This means that 88.53 percent of the next generation would not have had one or more of “Crusade survivors” for a grandparent, but 11.47 percent would.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Similar calculations show that in the next generation, 21.6 percent of children would have had one or more of “Crusade survivors” as a great-grandparent, and 38.6 percent of the next generation (approximately our current generation) would have one or more of “Crusade survivors” as a great-great- grandparent.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today However, the abortion reductions produced by the “physicians’ crusade” were not limited to a single generation and three percent probably is a low estimate for the number of additional children born because of the campaign.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today If one assumes five percent for just two generations beginning in 1860, the 38.6 percent figure for our current generation becomes a whopping 72 percent. This exponential increase in succeeding generations of people with “Storer’s survivors” as ancestors may surprise you. If you have primarily Protestant ancestors going back a few generations, you can be fairly certain that your own existence was one result of the successes of the physicians’ crusade for the unborn.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today Catholic women did not participate in the epidemic of induced abortion in any numbers until well into the twentieth century. Horatio Storer and other physicians credited the Catholic confessional for this. If your ancestors were largely Catholic, you can be thankful to the priests of your great- great-grandmother, great-grandmother, and grandmother for your existence.
The crusade’s profound effect on who is alive today The laws and the physician persuasion they supported were still saving children right up to 1973. I am particularly thankful for the physicians’ crusade laws and the physician persuasion the laws supported. My mother was 42 when I was born in 1938. She already had 3 boys, a girl, and a farm that was deeply in debt (eventually lost).
Storer’s 1922 Self-sketch Provided for Dr. James Joseph Walsh’s Cyclopedia “For nearly seventy years, Dr. Storer has written much upon the real time of commencement of foetal life, & of its sanctity. He has been supported, frequently and most authoritatively, by the concerted aid of the American Medical Association, the great body of reputable physicians, of which his father was a president and himself a vice-president. That action of the Association has been the most beneficent of its existence, and for the fact that he was to a small extent enabled to take a part, Dr. S. will be held in grateful remembrance, rather than as a progressive and successful surgeon.”
My web page: HORATIOSTORER.NET Home page (Has first abortion article) Journals (Check his voyage to Labrador at 19) Letters From Letters To Quackery/Abortion (Did Horatio write?) Links Storer Books (they amount to10) JGSB (All 7 volumes) StorerArticles (Has 1867 Methodist article) AMA vs Abortion (All 19 th century AMA articles)
My Books Champion of Women and the Unborn, Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion. Both still in print at Science History Publications, USA. (If Auburn research group I wanted to join had allowed a strongly Pro-life member, this glorious period of my life as an abortion historian probably would never have happened.)