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their own children."
[Footnote 31: Burdach.]
The Greeks practiced infanticide systematically, their laws at one time
requiring the destruction of crippled or weakly children. Among all
the various nations, the general object of the crime seems to have been
to avoid the trouble of rearing the children, or to avoid a surplus,
objects not far different from those had in view by those who practice
the same crimes at the present time.
The destruction of the child after the mother has felt its movements
is termed infanticide; before that time it is commonly known as abortion.
It is a modern notion that the child possesses no soul or individual
life until the period of quickening, an error which we have already
sufficiently exposed. The ancients, with just as much reason, contended
that no distinct life was present until after birth. Hence it was that
they could practice without scruple the crime of infanticide to prevent
too great increase of population. "Plato and Aristotle were advocates
of this practice, and these Stoics justified this monstrous practice
by alleging that the child only acquired a soul at the moment when it
ceased to have uterine life and commenced to respire. From hence it
resulted that, the child not being animated, its destruction was no
The prevalence of this crime will be indicated by the following
observations from the most reliable sources:--
"We know that in certain countries abortion is practiced in a manner
almost public, without speaking of the East, where it has, so to speak,
entered into the manners of the country. We see it in America, in a
great city like New York, constituting a regular business and not
prevented, where it has enriched more than one midwife."
"England does not yield to Germany or France in the frequency of the
crime of infanticide."
[Footnote 32: Jardien.]
"Any statistics attainable are very incomplete. False certificates are
daily given by attending physicians. Men, if they are only rich enough,
die of 'congestion of the brain,' not 'delirium tremens;' and women,
similarly situated, do not die from the effects of abortion, but of
'inflammation of the bowels,' etc."
"Infanticide, as it is generally considered (destroying a child after
quickening), is of very rare occurrence in New York, whereas abortions
(destroying the embryo before quickening) are of daily habit in the
families of the best informed and most religious; among those abounding
in wealth, as well as among the poor and needy."
[Footnote 33: Gardner.]
"Perhaps only medical men will credit the assertion that the frequency
of this form of destroying human life exceeds all others by at least
fifty per cent, and that not more than one in a thousand of the guilty
parties receive any punishment by the hand of civil law. But there is
a surer mode of punishment for the guilty mother in the self-executing
laws of nature."
[Footnote 34: Black.]
"From a very large verbal and written correspondence in this and other
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