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Abortion in History and in Delaware

Updated: Mar 19

It has long been a desire of young men and women to avoid unwanted pregnancy and children despite the desire for sexual relationships. Throughout history, an unwanted pregnancy and child outside of marriage was devastating to a young woman. It was not until the advent of a reliable form of pregnancy prevention in the form of the “birth control pill” and widespread legalization of “the pill” in 1965, that young women were freed from much of the burden of unwanted pregnancy and children, which is always a possibility with sexual relations. Prior to reliable birth control, there has been abortion.


History of Abortion

Abortion, from the Latin ab-or-tion. Ab, away; orire, to come into being; and tion, to take action: “to take action to not come into being”. The word abortion is linguistically a relatively new word, first coming into usage around 1500 A.D., and then to describe natural miscarriage, and in the medical field, abortion still means miscarriage, such as a “spontaneous abortion”. An elective abortion is called "induced abortion."

The practice of inducing miscarriages has a long history and there is documentation from ancient Egypt and Greece of prescriptions for herbal concoctions to induce abortions, or abortifacients. In ancient times these abortifacients were taken early in pregnancy to induce a miscarriage and

rarely were they ever prescribed after the time of quickening, the time that the mother feels the baby move inside her, typically 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. Without the use of technology, this time of quickening was recognized as the time that the baby might be alive and have sensation. Another method of dealing with unwanted pregnancy in ancient times was infanticide. The most common method of infanticide was abandonment, or to allow an infant to be exposed to the elements and expire.

Since these times, humanity has evolved, and just as human societies no longer practice human sacrifice, cannibalism, and slavery, so too did we do away with infanticide.   But without adequate pregnancy prevention, abortifacients and induced miscarriages continued. Although inducing miscarriage for unwanted pregnancy is nothing new, readily available surgical abortion however is rather new. The first modern surgical abortion was first reported in France in 1720 and the first country to legalize surgical abortion was Russia in 1920. Though it was China that made surgical abortion a phenomena with the advent of their one child policy in 1979 with State enforced surgical abortions ranging in the tens of thousands for individual practitioners over the span of their career, who could perform 5 surgical abortions a day, often late term and including post-delivery infanticide.

Although abortifacients before the time of quickening were legal in the United States in the 18th century, due to safety concerns, by 1880 all States had laws to restrict abortion after the time of quickening, with exceptions for medical reasons. And just as there were unintended consequences of prohibition, so too were there unintended consequences of strict abortion restriction laws without any other option for birth control, causing many abortion practitioners to go underground, leading to complications and deaths from unregulated abortion practices. In the 1960’s, States began to introduce abortion reforms and in 1973 the landmark Roe v Wade Supreme Court opinion was passed, allowing States to still regulate abortion, just not before viability. Contrary to popular belief, Roe v Wade did not give carte blanche authority to abortionists without State regulated restrictions. “After the point of viability, the state’s interest in protecting the fetus outweighs the woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy.” After the point of viability, the Court ruled, a state can prohibit women from getting abortions. Of course, at this time, Roe v Wade has been overturned as a Federal edict and the authority to regulate abortions, before and after viability, has been returned to States.


The Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion, also known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), dilation and curettage (scraping), or suction aspiration, is the mechanical dilation of the woman’s cervix and removal of the indwelling live embryo (before 10 weeks) or fetus (11 weeks - birth) by a suction device or physical removal with surgical instruments. In the 1970’s when surgical abortion was legalized in the United States, since obstetric ultrasound was not available to visualize the indwelling baby, abortion practitioners applied the theory of quickening (16-20 weeks) as the point when the fetus was alive and could feel sensation including pain, as the limit when abortion could be performed.

The majority of D&E abortions are technically considered partial-birth abortions as most abortions partially deliver a living fetus vaginally before killing the fetus and completing the delivery. In some surgical abortions, the live fetus is killed prior to vaginal delivery.

Ultrasound In Abortion

In 1973 obstetric ultrasound became available. At that time, the abortionist at the busiest abortion clinic in the western world, in NYC, was Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who is reported to have performed or oversaw over 60,000 abortions, who, once he utilized ultrasound, initially to assist him to better visualize the procedure for greater success but also revealed the live fetus as well, gave up his instruments, and ultimately expressed great regret and stopped performing surgical abortions. Check out the Movie Unplanned.

Women who see an ultrasound of their pregnancy, not only have more complete informed consent about their abortion procedure, but also some of these women will decide not to have an abortion. Before a woman can get an abortion, as a part of the procedure, an ultrasound is often performed, why not ask the woman if she would like to view the ultrasound? Anti-gun proponents demand firearm training before being allowed to exercise their 2nd amendment right to bear arms, yet these same activists support removing a simple measure such as being offered a choice to view an ultrasound before a life is taken.


Abortion is legal in Delaware. In 2017, the Delaware legislature passed a law protecting women’s right to access an abortion until viability, or the ability to live extra-uterine with or without life support, which is determined by a medical professional. Often this “medical professional” is the abortionist, which is a conflict of interest as abortion is usually a cash transaction, costing $500-$800. Abortions may be performed at or after viability if the patient’s health or life is at risk or if there is a lethal fetal anomaly. 

In Delaware, nurses, midwives, and physician assistants may provide medications to induce abortion and may perform surgical abortions. Nurses are not required to have physician supervision or backup in case of complications. If it is the goal of the State of Delaware to provide legal and safe abortions, allowing nurses and midwives to perform elective surgical abortions, which is not a simple procedure, is taking a step backward in protecting the lives of women in Delaware.

State funds do not pay for elective abortion in Delaware.

For the actual statute read here.


Alternatives to Abortion

There are many options to avoid unwanted pregnancy, such as abstaining from sexual intercourse, and in the absence of abstinence, there are other options of pregnancy prevention, such as physical barriers like diaphragms and condoms, birth control daily oral medications, hormonal birth control injections such as Depo-Provera which is administered every 3 months, hormonal implants such as Norplant which is replaced every 5 years, intra-uterine devices (IUDs) which are replaced every 10 years, and surgical interventions such as a vasectomy and tubal ligation. If one of those methods fails to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, there is Plan B One-Step, the “morning-after” pill, available in any pharmacy without a prescription and is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy up to 5 days after intercourse. The prescription medications Mifeprex/RU-486 (mifepristone) and Cytotec (misoprostol) can be used to induce miscarriage up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.  

With all these options available, it is a wonder that anyone would need to have an elective surgical abortion, yet abortion is one of the most common medical procedures performed in the US each year. Also surprising, is that in the United State 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and half of these unplanned pregnancies end in elective abortion. See below for abortion statistics in Delaware.


Abortion and Society

As a human society, we should understand that surgical abortions after the quickening, or in Delaware - after viability of the baby outside of the womb, with or without life support, and infanticide are off the table, just as we do not support infanticide through abandonment and exposure. We as a society have evolved to have greater respect for human life.

In regard to human life, a common question is - when is an embryo or a fetus considered a human being? Let there be no doubt, at conception, when a human egg meets a human sperm, and two sets of 23 pairs of chromosomes, one set from the mother and one set from the father, join to form one 46 set of chromosomes, a human is formed, albeit in a stage of humanity not visible to us without the use of technology, but a form of a human, nonetheless.

It is the desire of every good ordinary person, that every pregnancy be wanted, and that every child is lovingly brought into the world, to be cherished and cared for. It is the goal of a human society that that be so. But since we are not a perfect society with perfect individuals, there will be unwanted pregnancies and unwanted children. Despite this, it is still our goal to protect and cherish human life, at all stages, in all conditions, whether as an infant, fetus, disabled, comatose, elderly or feeble. We honor and respect the sanctity of human life.

We support that women and families be able to obtain the best options for pregnancy prevention that is appropriate for their individual situations. We also honor, cherish and respect the life of every single woman who finds herself in a situation of having an unwanted pregnancy. We support women and families who choose to carry a pregnancy to term and we also support their freedom to pursue abortion within reason, so that it is safe for the mother and before the time of fetal viability, with or without life support (currently 23-24 weeks/500 grams) to not be unduly cruel to the indwelling human fetus.

It is our desire that all children are wanted and that every woman be able to decide when that is. We hope every woman has the care, respect and support that she requires when faced with a pregnancy, and that anyone who makes the individual hard choice to end a pregnancy not be subjected to shame.

It is our goal to continue to make available inexpensive options for pregnancy prevention and that if the state of Delaware is actually serious about unwanted pregnancy prevention, it would strive to make that so, by encouraging other methods of pregnancy prevention and education, instead of promoting the option of what should be the option of last resort, of surgical extraction of a living fetus, a surgical abortion.

Reason must be employed, that surgical abortion be limited after the time of quickening, or fetal viability, with or without life support (approximately 23-24 weeks), and when a fetus experiences human sensation. With the numerous and widely available forms of pregnancy prevention, early pregnancy detection methods, and early pregnancy termination options now reliably and readily available, certainly a case can be made to limit abortion to the first trimester, 13 weeks, as well.



What do Good Ordinary People (GOP) Republicans Support?

Republicans support unwanted pregnancy prevention education and options. And when that fails, Republicans support legal, safe, and rare abortion laws with common sense that induced abortion be performed early in pregnancy to respect the humanity of both mother and unborn child.

Legal – To avoid the unintended consequences of illegal, unsafe abortion that would lead to the death or injury of the mother.

Safe – Current legislation allows for many unsafe practices, such as the least trained practitioners to be able to perform medical and surgical abortions without physician supervision, restriction and without indemnity. We support full informed consent, with the option made to allow the woman to view her ultrasound.

Rare – We support alternatives to abortion, such as pregnancy prevention measures, pregnancy care centers, adoptions support, and private charitable organization support.

Reasonable – We support greater reliance on pregnancy prevention and first trimester abortifacients, and that induced abortion be performed early in pregnancy to respect the humanity of both mother and unborn child.

Abortion Statistics In Delaware 2021


FACT – 15% of pregnancies in Delaware were ended in elective, induced abortion. (12,104 reported pregnancies and 1,825 induced abortions).


91% of induced abortions were performed at less than 13 weeks gestation.

Less than 1% (0.6%) of induced abortions were performed at greater than 21 weeks gestation.

FACT – 32% of induced abortions in Delaware were performed by suction curettage, and 67% were medically induced.


FACT – 27% of induced abortions were first time pregnancies and 35% of abortions had at least 3 previous pregnancies.

FACT – 88% of women in Delaware who had an induced abortion were not married.


FACT – 39% of women who had an induced abortion had no previous children/live births, and 15% had three or more children/live births.


FACT – 60% of induced abortions had never had one before and 6% had had 3 or more previous abortions.

FACT - 8% of elective induced abortions in Delaware were in teens. 77% were between the ages of 20 and 35.

FACT - 62% of those who had an abortion in 2021 had a high school education only or less.


15% of pregnancies in Delaware end in abortion and the majority of those seeking abortion in Delaware are between the ages of 20 and 35, unmarried, had never had an abortion or a child before, and only have a high school education or less. I think this shows that pregnancy prevention education and increased availability would be key to decrease the abortion rate in Delaware. (See below this Tennessee awareness billboard campaign to educate women about pregnancy prevention, such as free IUDs and other forms of long-term pregnancy prevention.)

Also, although 91% of abortions were performed in the first trimester which can safely be performed medically instead of surgically, the percentage of surgical abortions in Delaware is proportionately higher than expected. The surgical vs medical abortion percentage should only be 9% instead of the 32% as reported. This needs to be further evaluated.

This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only. The content provided is for general information and entertainment purposes, and should not be construed as professional advice. The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Club. Readers are encouraged to seek professional guidance or conduct their own research when making decisions based on the information provided in this newsletter. The Club does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented in this newsletter and will not be held liable for any errors or omissions.

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