Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. and the Physicians* Crusade Against

Report
• The final paragraph of Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer’s
first (Jan. 1859) North-American Medico-Chirurgical
Review article:
• “And now words fail. Of the mother, by consent or by
her own hand, imbrued with her infant’s blood; of
the equally guilty father, who counsels or allows the
crime; of the wretches who by their wholesale
murders far out-Herod Burke and Hare; of the public
sentiment which palliates, pardons, and would even
praise this so common violation of all law, human
and divine, of all instinct, of all reason, all pity, all
mercy, all love,—we leave those to speak who can.”
Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. and
the Physicians’ Crusade Against
Abortion
Frederick N. Dyer, Ph.D.
Research Solutions, Inc.
Columbus, Georgia
Presented January 22, 2015 to the
Montgomery Federalist Society at
the Capital City Club in Montgomery
Goals of this presentation:
• Discuss how I came to know and love Dr.
Horatio Robinson Storer.
• Describe Dr. Storer’s key role in starting the
“Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion” that
led to stringent laws against abortion.
• Discuss how the “Physicians’ Crusade Against
Abortion” saved children and has greatly
influenced who is alive today in the U.S.
Who was Horatio Robinson Storer?
Who was Horatio Robinson Storer?
• Born in Boston February 27, 1830. Died in
Newport, R.I. September 18 , 1922.
• Harvard University: A.B. 1850; A.M. & M.D.
1853; LL.B. 1868.
• Studied a year with Edinburgh’s Dr. (later Sir)
James Young Simpson.
• Began medical practice in Boston in 1855 with
emphasis on obstetrics and gynecology
Who was Horatio Robinson Storer?
• Physician to the Boston Lying-in Hospital, St.
Joseph’s (Catholic) Home, & St. Elizabeth’s
Hospital for Women.
• Professor of Obstetrics & Medical
Jurisprudence at the Berkshire Medical
College, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
• Prize Essayist & Secretary American Medical
Association 1865, & Vice-President 1868.
Anesthesia Pioneer
• Horatio observed many of the earliest uses of
ether during surgery, though not the first by John
Collins Warren on October 16, 1846.
• Worshipped chloroform discoverer, James Young
Simpson of Scotland.
• Storer’s limited and later full advocacy of
chloroform anesthesia angered Boston etherites.
• Advocated anesthesia for childbirth.
– Storer saw this leading to fewer abortions by women
who often chose abortion to avoid childbirth pain.
Dr. Storer’s contributions to
gynecology and gynecological surgery
• Storer 1863: “Immediately on entering practice, it
became evident to me that the great field for
advance in obstetric therapeutics was the interior
of the uterus,—an opinion that was daily
strengthened during the intimate relations to
which I was admitted by Prof. Simpson in 1854.”
• At that time (1853), women suffered or died with
problems that could have been found and easily
treated if they had digital examinations.
Started first society and journal
devoted to gynecology
Dr. Storer’s contributions to
gynecology and gynecological surgery
• One of the earliest successful hysterectomies
• Invented gynecological instruments
• Ironic that Storer founded gynecology and now
the major association of gynecologists (ACOG)
strongly supports abortion.
• However there is AAPLOG.
Abortion was common in the middle
of the 19th century.
• You may find it surprising that abortion was common in
the middle of the 19th century.
• November 6, 1839. Hugh Lenox Hodge, M.D.’s
Introductory Lecture: “this crime, this mode of
committing murder, is prevalent among the most
intelligent, refined, moral, and Christian communities”
• March 1844. Gunning Bedford, M.D. “It, indeed, seems
too monstrous for belief that such gross violations of
the laws both of God and man should be suffered in
the very heart of a community professing to be
Christian.”
Abortion was common in the middle
of the 19th century.
• May 1844 . Boston Medical and Surgical
Journal editorial: “In the city of Boston. There
are men … celebrated … for their success in
exterminating foetal life.
• June 1850. David Meredith Reese, M.D.
editorial: “We cannot refer such a hecatomb
of human offspring to natural causes.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th
• January 1851. John P. Leonard, “Quackery and
Abortion”: “This kind of charlatanism is rife,” ALSO:
“Besides these bills of mortality, the records of criminal
courts will furnish sufficient proof that this crime is
every day becoming more prevalent.”
• November 1855. David Humphreys Storer’s (Horatio’s
Father) Introductory Lecture: “The lecturer is silent, the
press is silent, and the enormity, unrebuked, stalks at
midday throughout the length and breadth of the land.
“*
– *David’s abortion comments were not published with the
rest of his speech. Horatio published them in his journal in
March 1872.
Abortion common in middle of 19th
• December 1855 Boston Medical and Surgical
Journal editorial protesting the suppression of
David Storer’s abortion remarks: “To whom
shall the community look for a verdict upon
practices which disgrace our land and prevail
to an extent that would hardly be credited, if
not to physicians—and, chiefest among them,
to medical teachers?”
Abortion common in middle of 19th
• From Horatio’s November 1859 article, “The
Duty of the Profession.”
• One basis for physician guilt was their current
“apathy and silence” on the subject of
abortion, despite the fact that “thousands and
hundreds of thousand of lives are thus directly
at stake, and are annually sacrificed.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th
• Augustus Kinsley Gardner, M.D., January 1960.
• “We look with a shudder upon the poor ignorant
Hindoo woman, who from the very love of her
child, agonizes her mother’s heart, when in the
fervor of her religious enthusiasm she sacrifices
her beloved offspring at the feet of Juggernaut or
in the turbid waves of the sacred Ganges, yet we
have not a pang, nor even a word of reprobation,
for the human sacrifices of the unborn thousands
annually immolated in the city of New York
before the blood-worshipped Moloch of fashion.”
Abortion common in middle of 19th
• Edwin Moses Hale in his 1867 pamphlet, “The
Great Crime of the Nineteenth Century,”
claimed “two-thirds of the number of
conceptions occurring in the United States,
and many other civilized countries, are
destroyed criminally.”
• High water mark in abortion estimates. “Dr. “
Hale later shown to provide them in Chicago.
Storer’s key role in creating stringent
legislation protecting the unborn
• 1857: Requested the American Medical Association
create a Committee on Criminal Abortion. They agreed
and he was made Chairman. (First AMA reference to the
topic.)
• 1859: Prepared Committee’s Report on Criminal Abortion
and the Resolutions that were presented at the Annual
AMA meeting in Louisville.
• 1860: Prepared the Memorial sent to state legislatures
requesting improvement of laws pertaining to abortion.
• 1860: Prepared the Address sent to State Medical
Societies requesting their cooperation in seeking
improved laws.
Storer’s articles in the North-American
Medico-Chirurgical Review
• The final paragraphs of Storer’s first North-American MedicoChirurgical Review article read:
• “If we have proved the existence of fœtal life before quickening has
taken place or can take place, and by all analogy and a close and
conclusive process of induction, its commencement at the very
beginning, at conception itself, we are compelled to believe
unjustifiable abortion always a crime.
• - “And now words fail. Of the mother, by consent or by her own
hand, imbrued with her infant’s blood; of the equally guilty father,
who counsels or allows the crime; of the wretches who by their
wholesale murders far out-Herod Burke and Hare; of the public
sentiment which palliates, pardons, and would even praise this so
common violation of all law, human and divine, of all instinct, of all
reason, all pity, all mercy, all love,—we leave those to speak who
can. “
Storer’s articles in the North-American
Medico-Chirurgical Review
• Reading “Of the Mother…” in 1994 made me realize
that Storer was strongly pro-life and that he definitely
needed a biography. It is unfortunate that James Mohr
did not include “Of the Mother…” in his 1978 Abortion
in America. It would have reduced the need for Joseph
Dellapenna’s 2006 Dispelling the Myths of Abortion
History.
• Storer repeated “Of the Mother…” in 3 later books. “Of
the Mother…” also was frequently repeated by other
physicians and even by a judge in later articles and
books.
1859 Report of the AMA Committee
on Criminal Abortion
• The Report began: “The heinous guilt of criminal
abortion, however viewed by the community, is
everywhere acknowledged by medical men. Its
frequency—among all classes of society, rich and poor,
single and married—most physicians have been led to
suspect; very many, from their own experience of its
deplorable results, have known.” Additional evidence
of abortion’s frequency were “comparisons of the
present with our past rates of increase in population,
the size of our families, the statistics of our foetal
deaths, by themselves considered, and relatively to the
births and to the general mortality.”
1859 Report of the AMA Committee
on Criminal Abortion
• Horatio then moved to the reasons for the
large number of abortions. These included the
“wide-spread popular ignorance of the true
character of the crime,” the innocent
abetment of abortion by physicians who “are
frequently supposed careless of foetal life,”
and “the grave defects of our laws, both
common and statute, as regards the
independent and actual existence of the child
before birth, as a living being.”.
1859 Report of the AMA Committee
on Criminal Abortion
• The Report then moved to the duties of
physicians. “The case is here of life or death—”
he continued, “the life or death of thousands—
and it depends, almost wholly, upon ourselves.”
He called on physicians to enlighten the public
about fetal development, to avoid any
appearance of negligence “of the sanctity of
foetal life,” and to establish an “obstetric code;
which ... would tend to prevent such unnecessary
and unjustifiable destruction of human life.”
1859 Report of the AMA Committee
on Criminal Abortion
• He then turned to the deficient laws on
abortion and called on physicians “as citizens”
to improve them. “If the evidence upon this
point is especially of a medical character,” he
continued, “it is our duty to proffer our aid,
and in so important a matter to urge it.”
Resolutions of the
Committee on Criminal Abortion
• “Resolved, That while physicians have long
been united in condemning the act of
producing abortion, at every period of
gestation, except as necessary for preserving
the life of either mother or child, it has
become the duty of this Association, in view
of the prevalence and increasing frequency of
the crime, publicly to enter an earnest and
solemn protest against such unwarrantable
destruction of human life.
Resolutions of the
Committee on Criminal Abortion
• “Resolved, That in pursuance of the grand and
noble calling we profess, the saving of human
lives, and of the sacred responsibilities thereby
devolving upon us, the Association present this
subject to the attention of the several legislative
assemblies of the Union, with the prayer that the
laws by which the crime of procuring abortion is
attempted to be controlled may be revised, and
that such other action may be taken in the
premises as they in their wisdom may deem
necessary.
Resolutions of the
Committee on Criminal Abortion
• “Resolved, That the Association request the
zealous co-operation of the various State
Medical Societies in pressing this subject upon
the legislatures of their respective States, and
that the President and Secretaries of the
Association are hereby authorized to carry
out, by memorial, these resolutions.”
AMA Report and Resolutions
• Horatio was too ill to travel to Louisville
•
Louisville 5 May 1859
• My Dear Dr
•
I cannot tell you the number of Gentlemen who have spoken
to me about your Report since I read it nor can I begin to tell you
the high encomiums, bestowed upon it without a single drawback.
I thought you would like to know it. To know that our labors are
appreciated by our brethren when those labors have been
bestowed in the cause of humanity is a precious cordial for one's
soul in this old and thankless world.
• …
•
Yours very sincerely
•
Thos W Blatchford
Myths of Abortion History
• Most liberal writers claim that the laws were to
protect women, to regulate the medical profession,
to increase Protestant births, etc.
• Rarely admitted they were to protect the unborn.
• Roe v. Wade decision related to false belief that
laws designed to protect women against an
operation that no longer was dangerous in 1973.
Memorial & Address
• I had the great good fortune of meeting 2 of
Horatio Storer’s great-grandchildren, Robert Treat
Paine, Storer, Jr. and Ethyl Storer. Each had a
treasure drove of letters, pictures, articles, and
journals
• Perhaps most important blank copies of the
Memorial sent to Congress and State Legislatures
and the Address sent to State Medical Societies.
• Copies are at my Web page: The AMA Documents
that Led to the Laws Overturned by Roe v Wade.
1860 Memorial Requesting
Improvement of Laws
• “To the Governor and Legislature of the State of
__________ the Memorial of the American Medical
Association, an Organization representing the Medical
Profession of the United States.” The Memorial then
indicated that criminal abortion was “the intentional
destruction of a child within its parent; and physicians
are now agreed, from actual and various proof, that the
child is alive from the moment of conception.” It
described the high and increasing rate of criminal
abortion that led to the deaths of “hundreds of
thousands” and “the serious injury thereby inflicted
upon the public morals.”
1860 Memorial Requesting
Improvement of Laws
• “Public sentiment and the natural sense of duty
instinctive to parents proving insufficient to check
the crime, it would seem that an appeal should
be made to the law and to its framers.” The
various problems with existing statutes were then
briefly described including the inconsistency of
the Common Law that “fails to recognize the
unborn child as criminally affected, whilst its
existence for all civil purposes is nevertheless
fully acknowledged.”
1860 Memorial Requesting
Improvement of Laws
• “The Association would in no wise transcend its
office, but that office is here so plain that it has
full confidence in the result. We therefore enter
its earnest prayer, that the subject of Criminal
Abortion in the state of _____________, and the
laws in force on the subject in said State may be
referred to an appropriate Committee, with
directions to report what legislative action may
be necessary in the premises.”
• Horatio’s 9 North-American Medico-Chirurgical
Review articles were enclosed with the Memorial.
1860 Address Sent to State Medical
Societies
• The Address consisted of the three Resolutions on
Criminal Abortion plus the following:
• In pursuance of our instructions, a memorial, of which
a copy is herewith enclosed, has been transmitted to
the Governor and Legislature of the State of
_______________, and it now has become our duty
earnestly to request of the body you represent, such
early and hearty action in furtherance of the memorial
of the Association, as may insure its full success against
the common, though unnatural crime it aims to check.
Memorial and Address were effective
• Within a year New York and Connecticut
strengthened their laws after State medical
society requests.
• The concerns of Ohio physicians about criminal
abortion were communicated to their Legislature
and in February 1867 the Ohio Senate passed a
bill strengthening the state’s abortion law.
• The Special Committee of the Ohio Legislature claimed they
drew many of their facts from Storer’s Why Not? a Book for
Every woman. This may have also occurred in other states
and territories
Memorial and Address were effective
• “The statute laws of Ohio, Massachusetts, New York,
Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states now
conform to the remodeled theory of gestation. A
private note from Dr. Storer, of Boston, informs us
that vigorous measures are being taken to so change
the laws of a few remaining states that statutes may
secure the punishment which is escaped under
certain constructions of the common law.”
• From “Criminal Abortion,” March 13, 1867
Northwestern Christian Advocate, a popular Methodist
newspaper. (Rare clergy involvement at that time that
Storer and other physicians stimulated.)
Memorial and Address were effective
• Connecticut’s 1860 law “was a unique piece of
legislation that combined “into a single forceful
act the denial of the quickening doctrine, the
notion of women’s liability, and anti-advertising
principles. It was the forerunner of similar
legislation that would be passed in almost every
state and territory in the next two decades.”
[Mohr, JC, Abortion in America: The Origins and
Evolution of National Policy, 1800-1900. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1978: 202]
Storer’s efforts to make women aware
that abortion was murder.
Why Not? A Book for Every Woman
• At the 1864 Annual Meeting of the American
Medical Association in New York. Michigan
delegates proposed that the Association “offer a
premium for the best short and comprehensive
tract calculated for circulation among females,
and designed to enlighten them upon the
criminality and physical evils of forced abortion.”
• The Association agreed, Storer’s essay won the
prize, and he was authorized to publish it. He
chose the title, Why Not? A Book for Every
Woman.
Why Not? A Book for Every Woman
• The book went into four editions, 1866, 1867,
1868, and 1871.
• Over the years several physicians wrote how they
distributed the book to patients requesting
abortion and the women changed their minds.
• In 1897, when Horatio reviewed his anti-abortion
efforts he indicated that because of the book
“hundreds of women acknowledged that they
were … induced to permit their pregnancy to
accomplish its full period.”
MANY PHYSICIANS FOLLOWED STORER
• In 1888, the Texas physician, Henry Clay Ghent,
discussed the “duty of the medical profession” to
teach the rest of humanity that life began at
conception and that it was an enormous crime to
end it in the womb.. He discussed his own
successes in preventing abortion: “We are
satisfied we have been able to convince many
fathers and mothers of their erroneous notions
and criminal intent, and to-day could point to
scores of bright, beautiful, living monuments of
different ages and of both sexes, as so many
attestations of the truth of the statement.”
MANY PHYSICIANS FOLLOWED STORER
• In 1894, the Brooklyn surgeon, Mary Amanda Dixon
Jones, described 21 requests for abortion she had
received from women. She did not know the outcome
in 4 cases. In 12 cases her admonitions had the desired
effect and the women bore their children. In 5 cases,
the woman found some means of having the abortion.
• “Many are now walking the streets that I have saved—
have prevented their mothers from destroying them.”
Probably there were more children saved than the 12
she described, but if it were 12, one would predict 20
or more offspring being born to these 12 , 40 or more
grandchildren of these 12, and over one hundred
descendants of these 12 in our current generation.
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions.
• In September 1889, a lawyer who believed
women had a right to abortion, published the
first call for abolishment of abortion laws.
• Junius Hoag, M.D., quickly responded: “If the
laws do nothing else these laws certainly enable
us now and then to rid the community of an
infamous physician, who would otherwise have
continued his abominable practices to the end of
the chapter. Who shall say how much good is
done, both directly and indirectly in putting a
stop to the crimes of one such an individual?”
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions.
• Hoag continued: “In the laws concerning abortion
we find an outspoken expression of the best
sentiments of society. The law is a constant
monitor; the clergy and all other educators may
fail in their duty to properly instruct the people,
but we still have left instruction in the law. The
man who would remove this barrier to crime, lays
the axe at the very root of civilization, society,
home. Why one should wish to do so, I cannot
comprehend.”
Legal Restrictions Reduce Abortions.
• When laws against abortion end, abortions
increase. According to the Guttmacher Institute,
abortions gradually rose from 898,600 in 1974,
the full year following legalization, to 1,497,700
in 1979.
• Even minor restrictions like waiting periods and
parental notification reduce abortions.
• We can be confident that the restrictive abortion
laws passed from 1860 to 1880 reduced
abortions. The laws also supported physician
persuasion of women to continue pregnancies.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• The “survivors” of pregnancy because of the new
laws and because of physicians’ successful
persuasion of women to continue pregnancies
may have made up 5% or more of the children
born during the century when physicians were
actively opposing unnecessary abortion.
However, to be conservative and to simplify the
math, assume that 3% of the children of the
single generation while Storer was actively
involved owed their existence to the physicians’
crusade.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• 25 percent or more of pregnancies may have been
ending in induced abortion in the middle of the
nineteenth century. However, assume it would have
been only 15 percent ending in abortion with 85
percent of pregnancies going to term. If 1 of every 6 of
these women who would have had abortions changed
their minds because of the physicians’ crusade, this
would leave 12.45 percent of pregnancies ending in
abortion and 87.55 percent of pregnancies going to
term. The ratio of 87.55 to 85 is 1.03, i.e., there would
have been 3 percent more children being born as a
result of the crusade.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Approximately 56 million children were born
during the generation from 1870 to 1900. If 3
percent of these were born from unwanted
pregnancies that went to term because of the
physicians’ crusade, this would amount to
1,680,000 children whose lives were saved.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Storer wrote in 1869: "Every life saved is, as a
general rule, the precursor of others that else
would not have been called into existence."
• A soldier saved during the war in 1944 was
located in 1999 by the Atlanta resident who
saved him. The soldier had recovered from his
head wound, had married, and had 23 living
descendants
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Not every life saved mushrooms to 23 people
alive in two generations, but the number of
“others” “called into existence” by the
physicians’ crusade in the four or five
generations since the physicians’ crusade
against abortion started is enormous.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Assume 3 percent of the single generation while Storer
was actively involved were “Crusade survivors.”
• By chance, the .97 proportion of this generation who
were not “Crusade survivors” would marry each other
at the rate of .97 x .97 = .9409. This means that 94.09
percent of the next generation would not have had one
or both of “Crusade survivors” for a parent.
• However, it also means that 5.91 percent of that
generation would have had one or both of “Crusade
survivors” for a parent.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Not happy with this analysis because it only deals with
those who were not unwanted pregnancy survivors? Here
is another way of getting the 5.91 percent of the next
generation who were survivors.
• By chance the .03 male “physicians’ crusade survivors”
would marry .03 female “physicians’ crusade survivors.” .03
times .03 =.0009 and thus .09 percent of the next
generation would have both parents who are physicians’
crusade survivors. However, it is more likely that .03
females would marry .97 males and .03 males would marry
.97 females. The 5.91 percent with one or more abortion
survivor parents can be calculated by (.03 male X. 97
female+.03 female X .97 male +. 03 male X .03 female) OR
(.0291 + .0291 + . 0009)= .0591, i.e., 5.91 percent).
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Similarly, the .9409 proportion without
“Crusade survivor” parents would marry each
other by chance at the rate of .9409 x .9409,
which, when rounded, equals .8853. This
means that 88.53 percent of the next
generation would not have had one or more
of “Crusade survivors” for a grandparent, but
11.47 percent would.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Similar calculations show that in the next
generation, 21.6 percent of children would
have had one or more of “Crusade survivors”
as a great-grandparent, and 38.6 percent of
the next generation (approximately our
current generation) would have one or more
of “Crusade survivors” as a great-greatgrandparent.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• However, the abortion reductions produced
by the “physicians’ crusade” were not limited
to a single generation and three percent
probably is a low estimate for the number of
additional children born because of the
campaign.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• If one assumes five percent for just two
generations beginning in 1860, the 38.6 percent
figure for our current generation becomes a
whopping 72 percent. This exponential increase in
succeeding generations of people with “Storer’s
survivors” as ancestors may surprise you.
• If you have primarily Protestant ancestors going
back a few generations, you can be fairly certain
that your own existence was one result of the
successes of the physicians’ crusade for the
unborn.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• Catholic women did not participate in the
epidemic of induced abortion in any numbers
until well into the twentieth century. Horatio
Storer and other physicians credited the
Catholic confessional for this.
• If your ancestors were largely Catholic, you
can be thankful to the priests of your greatgreat-grandmother, great-grandmother, and
grandmother for your existence.
The crusade’s profound effect on who
is alive today
• The laws and the physician persuasion they
supported were still saving children right up to
1973.
• I am particularly thankful for the physicians’
crusade laws and the physician persuasion the
laws supported.
• My mother was 42 when I was born in 1938.
She already had 3 boys, a girl, and a farm that
was deeply in debt (eventually lost).
Storer’s 1922 Self-sketch Provided for
Dr. James Joseph Walsh’s Cyclopedia
• “For nearly seventy years, Dr. Storer has written much
upon the real time of commencement of foetal life, &
of its sanctity. He has been supported, frequently and
most authoritatively, by the concerted aid of the
American Medical Association, the great body of
reputable physicians, of which his father was a
president and himself a vice-president. That action of
the Association has been the most beneficent of its
existence, and for the fact that he was to a small extent
enabled to take a part, Dr. S. will be held in grateful
remembrance, rather than as a progressive and
successful surgeon.”
My web page: HORATIOSTORER.NET
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Home page (Has first abortion article)
Journals (Check his voyage to Labrador at 19)
Letters From
Letters To
Quackery/Abortion (Did Horatio write?) Links
Storer Books (they amount to10)
JGSB (All 7 volumes)
StorerArticles (Has 1867 Methodist article)
AMA vs Abortion (All 19th century AMA articles)
My Books
• Champion of Women and the Unborn, Horatio
Robinson Storer, M.D.
• The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion.
• Both still in print at Science History Publications,
USA.
• (If Auburn research group I wanted to join had
allowed a strongly Pro-life member, this glorious
period of my life as an abortion historian
probably would never have happened.)

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