Abortion in the 1930s.

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HIST104: Abortion in the 1930s.

The economic situation during the 1930s drove some potential mothers to undergo illegal abortions. Opinions on this issue differed, as illustrated by these three documents.
Doris Gordon, in her newspaper report ‘Evil of Abortion', argues that it is a woman's duty to reproduce. She feels that the increase in illegal abortions has been contributed to by the advertising of contraceptives, high wages for women and lack of supervision of children by parents who prefer to relax. Gordon believes that children are needed for the good of the nation, relating stability of the Empire to stability of the home.

The letter to the editor, ‘Abortion Problem' values quality of life over quantity. The author argues that, to have a healthy race, the physical and mental wellbeing of mother and child should be considered. She recalls a personal experience which could have been avoided were abortions legal, arguing that each case is different. As acknowledged in the McMillan Report, the legalisation of abortions would reduce the number of accidents. This letter argues that the risk this may be abused is a risk which may have to be taken.

The McMillan Report claims that the main reasons people are resorting to abortion are economic hardship, changes in moral values, fear of childbirth and the view of unmarried mothers. The report determines that doctors are able to perform an abortion when there are valid reasons without fear of criminal charges and that, while the State will do what it can to alleviate the causes of the abortion issue, the attitude of the public is ultimately what matters. This report describes wilful abortion as a selfish act which could result in "race suicide."

Although the laws surrounding abortions have changed greatly since the 1930s, legal abortions continue to be an issue today.

WORD COUNT: 297
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