Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand

Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand

by Margaret Sparrow

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Overview

Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand by Margaret Sparrow

The women in Rough on Women are all long gone and little is known of their inner lives. Most of what we know about them comes from coroners’ reports and newspaper accounts, and in many cases we know more about their abortionists than the women themselves. Of course, in the 19th century, those who survived abortions and did not suffer complications were unlikely to talk publicly about it, so we see here mostly the tragic cases, but the conditions facing desperate pregnant women back then are still brutal and shocking. Women obtained abortions by whatever means they could, despite the dangers of poisoning, hemorrhage, and infection. Abortionists did their work despite the threat of long prison sentences or even the death penalty. Rough on Women shows the lengths to which women will go to avoid bearing an unwanted child, and how far New Zealand has come in the battle for women to control their own fertility.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780864739360
Publisher: Victoria University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2015
Pages: 195
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Margaret Sparrow has had a long career in general and reproductive health, with an honorary doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington. She is also an honorary fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), and an honorary vice-president of family planning. She is president of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand and a Director of Istar Ltd, a not-for-profit company that imports the abortion pill. She is the author of Abortion Then & Now.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction vii

1 Restricted choices for women 1

2 Contraception in the 19th century 20

3 Abortion laws and practice in the 19th century 31

4 The Coroner's Court and the Courts of Justice 41

5 Doctors who became abortionists 52

6 Bogus doctors 93

7 Chemists 106

8 Some female abortionists 122

9 Helping others 140

10 Self-abortion 147

11 Lessons from history 158

Notes 169

Bibliography 179

Index 185

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