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Gaseous Poisons

Sale Of Poisons; Scheduled Poisons

Duration Of Pregnancy

Marriage And Divorce

Nitric Acid

Carbolic Acid

Phosphorus

Idiocy Imbecility Cretinism

Abortifacients

Belladonna Hyoscyamus And Stramonium


Foeticide Or Criminal Abortion





This consists in giving to any woman, or causing to be taken by her,
with intent to procure her miscarriage, any poison or other noxious
thing, or using for the same purpose any instruments or other means
whatsoever. It is a felony to procure or attempt to procure the
miscarriage of a woman, whether she be pregnant or not, and it is a
felony for the woman, if pregnant, to attempt to procure her own
miscarriage. It is a misdemeanour for any person or persons to procure
drugs or instruments for a like purpose. It is not necessary that the
woman be quick with child. The offence is the intent to procure the
miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with child. When
from any causes it is necessary to procure abortion, a medical man
should do so only after consultation with a brother practitioner. Even
in these cases there is no exemption legally. Any medical man who gives
even the most harmless medicine where he suspects the possibility of
pregnancy may render himself liable to grave suspicion should the woman
abort.

In medicine, an abortion is said to occur when the foetus is expelled
before the sixth month; after that it is premature birth. In law,
however, any expulsion of the contents of the uterus before the full
time is an abortion or miscarriage.

In deciding whether any substance expelled from the uterus is really a
foetus or a mole, and therefore the result of conception, or the coat of
the uterus, and unconnected with pregnancy, the examination of the
substances expelled must be carefully made. Moles are blighted foetuses.
An examination of the woman will be necessary, though it is not easy
during the early months of pregnancy, and especially in those who have
borne children, to say whether abortion has taken place or not. The
history must be inquired into; the regular or exceptional use of drugs
to promote menstruation is important, for in the former case no criminal
intent may exist, although pregnancy be present. The state of the
breasts, the hymen, and the os uteri, should all be carefully examined.
Putting a few apparently unimportant questions as to the frequent use of
purgatives, the presence or absence of constipation, will often assist
the diagnosis as showing that the woman has acted in an unusual manner.
Abortion may be procured by the introduction of instruments, by falls,
violent exercise, blows on the abdomen, etc. In the hands of ignorant
persons the use of instruments (sounds, bougies, skewers, etc.) is
attended with great danger. Perforation of the vaginal walls, bladder,
cervix, or uterus, may follow their use. Septic pelvic peritonitis may
ensue, and the woman may lose her life. The person who has employed such
means for inducing abortion is liable to be charged with the crime of
murder. There is no evidence to show that ergot, savin, bitter-apple,
pennyroyal, or any other drug administered internally, will cause a
woman to abort, except when taken in such large doses that actual
poisoning results, with inflammation of the contents of the true
pelvis. In such cases reflex uterine contractions may be set up, and
abortion may follow. Diachylon pills are largely employed to induce
abortion, and very often the woman taking them suffers severely from
lead-poisoning.





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Previous: Delivery



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