By James C. Mohr
'The heritage of the way abortion got here to be banned and the way girls lost--for the century among nearly 1870 and 1970--rights formerly regarded as normal and inherent over their very own our bodies is an interesting and infuriating one.
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Additional info for Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (Galaxy Books)
As early as 1800, for example, twothirds of the people who made their livings as physicians in the city of Philadelphia were neither members of the local College of Physicians nor graduates of any medical school of any kind. And this was in a major eastern city with a strong tradition of learned medicine established by the likes of Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin. Moreover, the besteducated and most-established physicians in Philadelphia were but provincial practitioners by European standards.
But it would be a great mistake to project such an image backwards into the early nineteenth century. Prior to the Civil War most American medical schools were run as private businesses and competed for paying customers. Few applicants were denied admission and no professor wanted to drive away—by enforcing high standards—the people who literally paid his salary. Many medical schools were out and out degree mills, where tuition dollars virtually bought a medical diploma. 23 Among those most deeply troubled by the state of medical practice in America during the first half of the nineteenth century were those physicians dedicated to the principles of what later became scientific medicine.
21 During the first four decades of the nineteenth century, a large number of people came forward to try to fill the gap. They were encouraged to compete in the medical field by the inherent weakness of the older practitioners, by the lack of anything blocking access to the field, such as licensing laws, and by a general democratization of the professions that took place during that period in American history. Most of these newcomers lacked formal training altogether or were trained in medical systems at variance with previously accepted doctrines.