Since Its Beginning, Women’S Reproduction Has Been A Controversial

1393 WordsMar 13, 20176 Pages
Since its beginning, women’s reproduction has been a controversial and debated topic in the United States. Views on sexuality and gender, civil rights movements, and religious views have all had an effect on the control of women’s reproduction. While historical events have had some effect on current debates, some events have been overlooked or ignored by those involved in disputes involving reproductive rights. One of these time periods that is often not discussed is the colonial period. In the 1700s, abortion was actually quite common during the first trimester. During this time period, a lack of menstruation was not necessarily seen to be a sign of pregnancy. The medical theory Humorism was prevalent during this era, and a woman’s lack…show more content…
Society during this time did not view women as in control of their sexuality. Women were seen as passionate, irrational beings, so premarital sex by women was seen as a sin, but men were generally held responsible. Men often faced pressure from the church, courts and their family until they would agree to marry the woman. In current debates, religion, particularly christianity, is often used as a justification for the “pro life” view on abortion. It is interesting that in the 1700s, in which the church was arguably more involved in the government and was generally more conservative than it is now, that abortion was not condemned. It is also surprising that in our modern era in which church is not technically supposed to be involved in government matters that religious rhetoric is used so often to justify the view that abortion and contraception should not be available to women. As the eighteenth century transitioned into the nineteenth century, views on reproduction and sexuality changed. The way that women and men were viewed and treated in instances of unwanted pregnancy and premarital sex began to shift. The views of the church, government, and medical world also began to shift. This is when an opposition to abortion and contraception which is felt in today’s political climate truly began to develop. During the late eighteenth into the nineteenth century, views on contraception and abortion began to change. There was the rise of a double standard between

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