At the time of our founding abortion was pretty common, but it was much more dangerous for the woman. Families usually had a medical book that offered at-home solutions for different medical conditions. This included stopping pregnancy. Things like eating Juniper. Benjamin Franklin even offered some of this advice.
I’ve talked about this idea of ensoulment before. Most Christians didn’t believe young fetuses yet had a soul. A fetus got its Soul at quickening, which was usually between 14 and 26 weeks. Basically when the woman could feel the fetus kick.
The first law outlawing abortions didn’t come until 1821 in Connecticut, and again it outlawed them after quickening. What was actually a much bigger issue for them at the time was mothers abandoning their live babies.
Abortions started to be outlawed more frequently starting in the 1840s. This was right about the same time that doctors were trying to take over female reproductive Health Care. Previously, midwives commonly performed both births and abortions. Midwives were doctors competition. At the time especially Victorian women started to volunteer more outside of the home. This was seen as a threat to the patriarchy and doctors were men. It was also typically upper class white women who were known to be getting this done. White men were very concerned about the growing population of immigrants and other ethnicities, so these male doctors, the American Medical Association, and the Catholic Church joined together and started campaigning to outlaw abortion.
From this time until Roe v Wade in 1973, it’s estimated as many as 5 000 women a year died of botched abortions.