Birth Control and Self-Induced Abortions in Ancient Rome Essay

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Birth Control and Self-Induced abortions in Ancient Rome

The approach of having an abortion, the extinction of a pregnancy so that a baby is not born goes all the way back to ancient times. Pregnancies were ended through a number of approaches, and that does include the application of abort made herbs, the handling of extremely sharp tools, the necessity of putting pressure on the abdominal and other methods. During the course of a lot of years people were eager to do whatever they could to make sure fertility did not happen and prevent pregnancies (McLaren, 1990, pg. 30-45). Although in the ancient times people had remarkably little or no impact how women got pregnant, there were many instruments and several birth management approaches that people participated in many ancient groups to make sure that there were no babies. Lots of these approaches had nothing to do with sexual intercourse or the performance of creating a child and, clearly, had slight if any influence on birth control. Such approaches were dances, charms and certain rites (Riddle, 1992, pg. 22-23). With that said, the birth control used in ancient Rome contributed too many dangerous self-induced abortions.

Self-induced abortion in ancient Rome certainly did not hold much shame along with it and was generally not even prosecuted. Generally speaking, an ancient Roman woman would only be accused with a criminal Self-induced abortion if it was known that she had gotten pregnant and her husband did not want her to go through with it. The Ancient Roman women husbands were seen as the one contrary to whom the "crime" was assigned, not the fetus. Normal penalty for having an abortion would be the deficiency of an eighth of the women's dowry succeeding divorce that is if the husband decides that he wants to divorce his wife for the offense (Riddle, 1992, pg. 20-22). Ancient Roman women would put a leather pouch that was filled with cat's liver on their left foot for the extent of sexual intercourse to avert pregnancy. Several women thought that if they spit three times into the mouth of a frog was a convenient method of birth control. European women had this idea that they could put an end to pregnancy by twisting backwards a wheel of a mill when it became dark at night. However, in many cultures women including those in Ancient Rome, women always wore several necklaces and amulets, which were believed to have the power of controlling the operation of conception.

It is clear that self-induced abortion was acknowledged in both ancient Rome and Greece. The Romans and Greeks honestly did not care much about protecting the unborn, and when they did object to abortion it was only because the father didn't need to be robbed of a child that he thought that he was labeled to. The first truth-seekers also contended that a fetus did not get shaped and begin to live until at around 40 days after beginning for a male, and about 80 days for a woman (McLaren, 1990, pg. 30-45). The theorist Aristotle said. "when married couples decide to have children in overindulgence, let abortion be obtained before sense and life have taken place; what can or may not be legally done in these cases depends on the question of life and sense." (Aristotle, Politics 7.16). Aristotle thought that female embryos developed more slowly than male embryos, but made up for lost time by developing more immediately after birth. He appears to have arrived at this goal by seeing the parallel success of male and female fetuses that had been miscarried.

Roman doctors whose records that are still around, such as Pliney the Elder, Dioscorides, Soreanus, and Paulus Aeginta, had long catalogs (not like the list Bailey put together about from Cynthia Gorney's book) of abortion methods and potions. There were the obvious tangible ways: persistent labor or bareback horseback riding (McLaren, 1990, pg 40-41). But actual procedures of encouraging abortion were supposed to only be usable inside the first 30 days of the child being conceived. And as any women who is or has been pregnant can probably explain, regulating moment of conception is a process that can be especially difficult; more so when there is not an…

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