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Abortion in relation to fetal and maternal welfare

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      Abstract

      • 1.
        1. An estimate of 700,000 abortions annually in the United States is certainly no exaggeration of the actual condition. There is every reason to believe that an increase in this number is taking place with each decade similar to the experiences of other civilized countries.
      • 2.
        2. This increase is the result partly of the decreased infant mortality, partly arises from the changed social and economic status of woman, and partly is the outcome of economic conditions resulting from the World War.
      • 3.
        3. The increase is noticed primarily among married women who have three or more children.
      • 4.
        4. All efforts to control the incidence of criminal abortion by legislation have resulted in failure.
      • 5.
        5. Birth control may prove a factor in the reduction of criminal abortions, especially if more reliable contraceptive measures are discovered.
      • 6.
        6. The maternal death loss from abortion in the United States has been estimated as 15,000 annually. Deaths from puerperal sepsis following abortions are relatively seven times as frequent as those from puerperal sepsis after childbirth.
      • 7.
        7. The Russian experiment with legalized abortion indicates a definitely lower maternal mortality with operations done openly in hospitals than with secret, illegal operations as formerly.
      • 8.
        8. A decrease in maternal mortality can be expected from improving the training of medical students and physicians in the proper management of abortion cases and from an increased knowledge concerning the prevention and treatment of septic infection.
      • 9.
        9. The abortion problem, so vital to the human race, demands more careful and more open study, free from the trammels of political or religious dogma. Women should be taught to respect their duties, as mothers, to the social state, and the state in turn should be made to feel its obligations to motherhood, granting such relief, financial and otherwise, especially to those with many children, as will to the greatest degree avoid economic distress and promote the physical wellbeing of the mother.
      • 10.
        10. The women of this country should be told that interference with pregnancy, even in its earliest stages, is not the harmless procedure they generally seem to consider it to be, but is a procedure inevitably associated with considerable risk to life and especially to future health.
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