An Illegal Act.
In 1960 abortion was illegal in every state in the union. In forty-five states an exception was made if the mother's life were in danger from the preg-nancy. For the rich there was a way out: a women could go to certain doctors at certain hospitals and claim she would kill herself if forced to carry the pregnancy. Thus her life was in danger, and an abortion was permitted. Other women were having abortions illegally. Some were performed by surgeons in sterile environments for a large fee, but most were done by amateurs using dangerous methods.
Several states considered further exceptions. Before the end of the decade Colorado passed a law allowing legal abortion in the case of rape or incest, raising fear among conservative watchdogs that the exceptions provided a means of legal abortion for any woman willing to claim she had been raped. One married woman had to prove her husband was...
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