Abortion is a tremendous issue in our society today. This is one of the many reasons why the issue that I will be discussing in my paper in regards to the current issues involving abortion law in Texas.
Some brief background about abortion is that historically, in Anglo-American law, abortion had been criminalized, at least from the point of "quickening" (c.15-18 weeks) and often severely punished. Liberalization of abortion laws in both countries began to occur in the later 1960's. English Law Henry Bracton, (1216-1272) "the Father of Common Law," apparently regarded abortion (at least after 5 or six weeks) as homicide and it seems that at early Common Law abortion was a felony, and, therefore, a hanging offense. Later commentators, Coke and Blackstone, held expressly that abortion after quickening was not the crime of murder, but a separate crime (a "grave misprision"). It is unclear whether pre-quickening abortion was still criminalized.
of Woman Act of 1803 ("Lord Ellen borough's Act," 43 Geo. 3, c. 58.), introduced
a statutory abortion scheme in England. Pre-quickening abortion was made a
felony and post-quickening abortion was a capital crime. In 1837, with abolition
of the death penalty, 7 Will. 4 & 1 Vict., c. 85. ÃÂ§ 6, the quickening
distinction was removed and all abortion was punished as a single felony. In
1861, the Offenses Against the Person Act, 24 & 25 Vict., c. 100, ÃÂ§ 59,
introduced a replacement statutory scheme, where, as before, all abortions were
felonies. In 1929, the Infant Life (Preservation) Act, 19 & 20 Geo. 5, c. 34,
was passed. It supplemented the OAPA and included a defense for bona fide
efforts to save the mother's life. A common law health exception to the OAPA was
introduced in 1938 by Rex v. Bourne, ...