Wnyc Studios, United Nations, The New Yorker discussed on On The Media

On The Media


This week on The New Yorker radio hour, I'll talk with the Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations. The United Nations is not an ideal institution by design. And why should it be ideal? I mean, the United Nations was conceived by three fathers, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the pure evil Stalin. It's all next time on The New Yorker radio hour from WNYC studios. Listen, wherever you get your podcasts. A New Jersey couple is found dead in their home, and the investigation raises more questions than it answers. There's no fingerprint dust in the house. The rug that they were killed on is still rolled up upstairs, like how could you have done anything DNA testing you didn't do shit? I'm Nancy Solomon, and I've been trying to figure out what happened to John and Joyce Sheridan. Listen to dead end, a New Jersey political murder mystery from WNYC studios, available wherever you get podcasts. So it sounds like Maggie mayhem sent you down a bit of a rabbit hole. What did you learn about the history of abortion in our country? So to start, I hadn't even heard about the quickening. Have you heard of the quickening? No. It sounds like a film title, doesn't it? Yes. But, you know, in the early days of America, when they were still following what had been British common law, when there weren't disposable pregnancy tests around the idea was that there wasn't anything that would be legally recognized or treated as a fetus until the woman felt the first fetal movement, which would be about four to 5 months into pregnancy. So the time that first kick comes, then there's something going on. And until the quickening, it was perfectly legal for women to go out and pursue treatments to bring down the menses. As they called it. So early in the 19th century, you could go to a midwife, you could go to other traditional healers, and that was pretty uncontroversial. By mid century, you've got newspapers with all these advertisements for things like madam drones lunar pills and some of those commercial preparations could kill you. So some of the first laws set up to regulate abortion were really poison control measures aimed at those concoctions. They weren't there to make some sort of moral point. They were there to keep people from drinking stuff that might kill them. So when did social attitudes toward abortions start to change? Yeah, so it was around the 1860s that there was this shift in how abortion patients were perceived. There was a lot of racism and nativism going on at the time stoking fears about white women having fewer children than immigrants and people of color. The anti abortion leader, horatio Starr, who was running the anti abortion campaign, I mean, he literally asked whether the west would be, quote, filled by our own children or by those of aliens. And said, this is a question our women must answer upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation. Wow. And horatio's store led the campaign against abortion for the newly organized American medical association. Wow, so the American medical association was organizing against abortion in this way. Yeah, at the time, doctors, who were just about all male, weren't the ones who were delivering babies or performing abortions. Midwives were. So the American medical association was trying to drive out competition, and they decided to campaign against abortion, and it worked. With a new generation every single state had laws that criminalized or restricted abortion. Good evening. Tonight, the subject of abortion. The illegal termination of pregnancy has reached epidemic proportions in this country. Abortion will continue to be a critical problem. And for those involved, may call for desperate decisions that result in dangerous medical complications. So basically, when you have abortion becoming totally criminalized, it goes underground, which means some people are going to resort to really dangerous methods. The facts are astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women, unmindful of what may happen to them, secretly seek abortions. Common causes of abortion deaths were poisoning. And there were also complications from people introducing a foreign instrument into the uterus, something like the proverbial coat hanger. For them, there is a wide goth between what the law commands and what they feel they must do. By 1965, botched abortions accounted for one in 5 maternal deaths. So around that time, activists started organizing to make abortions safer. They knew how horrific they could be if they were done in the absence of good.

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