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Abortion and the Government The Constitution is made for people of fundamentally differing views and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar or novel and even shocking ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question whether statutes embodying them conflict with the Constitution of the United States Justice Harry Blackmun on Roe v Wade People fail to remember while abortion may be a moral and ethical issue it is also a Constitutional issue In 1955 the anthropologist George Devereux demonstrated that abortion had been practiced in almost all-human communities from the earliest times The patterns of abortion use in hundreds of societies around the world since before recorded history have been strikingly similar Devereux The 1800s brought and era of change people began to turn their attention in a new direction the fetus They began to protest abortion as cruel inhumane and murderous Filled with a new sense of purpose and the glory of a fresh righteous cause to uphold this new morality swept the countryside enveloping almost everyone in its wake Prentice17 Abortion is an extremely complex and highly debated public issue that has consumed much of the American social and political arena in the late twentieth century The constitution does not define person in so many words Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three references to person The first in defining citizens speaks of persons born or naturalized in the United States There was an absence of any legislation on abortion in the United States in 1800 the legal status of the practice was governed by traditional British commerce law Abortion had been a phenomenon associated with a gestation known as quickening Quickening was the first perception of fetal movement by the pregnant woman Quickening occurs generally in the late fourth or early fifth month Mohr 3 From 1307 to 1803 abortion before the fetus moved perceptibly or quickened was not punished under English common law
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