Angus McLaren

Length: 3 Pages 758 Words

Angus McLaren, author of “Illegal Operations: Women, Doctors, and Abortion” demonstrates the life of an abortionist in the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. McLaren explains a series of affairs in detail with many different abortionists. Since abortion was illegal at the time, many women consulted midwives, or took the procedure of abortion among themselves, this at times resulted in their death. The articles purpose is to use legal sources to explore the decision to abort while the state, and the professions took a serious interest in the fertility control decisions of women. What is being argued is the fate of women burdened with unwanted pregnancies whose well-being was placed at risk by the law. Midwives, herbalists, and masseuses performed most abortions. Therefore, most of these people were convicted. Most women supported other abortionists, but in some cases women would accuse others of aborting or attempting to abort. McLaren argues that abortions came only to the attention of authorities when something went wrong. This supports her feelings that women’s well-being was jeopardized around this part Continue...


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If a pro-abortionist reads the article, it's only obvious that they'll agree that women were mistreated at this time. McLaren accuses doctors of neglecting women who wanted to abort because of the responsibility that came with the operation. So one can easily argue that if you don't have any self-respect why should others respect you. All doctors couldn't legally perform the operation; other professionals and the law would accuse them heavily. Some doctors saw themselves as the authorities. This is why McLaren feels it wasn't fair for women that doctors were too concerned for their reputation rather than the women who needed their help. Wouldn't a pro-abortionist expect all the proper treatment for a woman who chooses to abort. McLaren also uses the phrase "burdened with unwanted pregnancies a little too loosely. Sure methods of contraception were not easily accessible, so in turn more pregnancies were unwanted. McLaren also mentions that women were not given the opportunity to abort properly by professionals and therefore conducted their own operations, or visit a midwife, or herbalists. icular time, especially poor, or single women. Therefore women used these excuses as their defence. For example, single, or poor women were reported more often than private patients by hospital staff. Of course we see that doesn't apply to today. The author supports her argument by providing a detailed description of factual cases that occurred during the mid 1800's to mid 1900's.