Abortion was not just legal—it was a safe, condoned, and practiced procedure in colonial America and common enough to appear in the legal and medical records of the period. Official abortion laws did not appear on the books in the United States until 1821, and abortion before quickening did not become illegal until the 1860s. If a woman living in New England in the 17th or 18th centuries wanted an abortion, no legal, social, or religious force would have stopped her.
The fundamental concern that I have is that we’re criminalizing a medical problem that these women suffer from, and that we don’t do that to any other segment of our society. I understand the concern about the unborn fetus, but the very best way to manage that situation and the very best outcome for the unborn fetus is to treat the mom and the baby as a unit, and to get the best care for the mom. That means she has to be comfortable and free to seek care without concern that she will be placed in jail.
Dr. Barbara Levy, of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains her concerns with the personhood movement and criminalizing pregnant women who suffer from drug addiction
You can learn more about the personhood movement and hear 3 different points of view on the issue on our page here.