Read e-book online A Cultural History of Pregnancy: Pregnancy, Medicine and PDF

By Clare Hanson (auth.)

ISBN-10: 023051054X

ISBN-13: 9780230510548

ISBN-10: 1349431079

ISBN-13: 9781349431076

ISBN-10: 3620046182

ISBN-13: 9783620046184

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83). Attacked by her mistress and thrown out, Jemima eventually turns to abortion. Because her story is told in the first person, Wollstonecraft is able to offer a rare glimpse of a woman's feelings as the movements of the child in her body cease. The fact that the child moves is particularly significant in the context of contemporary debates about abortion, which was not actually criminalised until 1803. Prior to this, abortion was not a statutory offence, but was considered a 'misdemeanour' in common law and then only if it was procured after the stage of quickening.

Seven months into her pregnancy, she sees some children playing on a terrace but excluding one boy from their game. When she asks why, she is told that he is a bastard and so is not fit company for the others. 24 As the language suggests, Adeline's mental and physical torments are inextricably intertwined: her body speaks her feelings. The 'horror' she 32 A ClIltllral History of Pregl/(II/C)! witnesses affects her so powerfully that she just has strength to return to Glenmurray and ask him to marry her, before she falls senseless to the floor.

Under the terms of the new Act, a betrothal was no longer recognised as having a coercive or sanctioning power. Despite this, Nicholas Rogers has argued that poorer women continued to use their sexuality in order to secure marriage partners, deliberately getting pregnant and expecting marriage to follow. The statistics would suggest that this strategy was often successful: by the early nineteenth Advice to the Fair Sex 41 century about a third of brides were pregnant at the time of their marriage.

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A Cultural History of Pregnancy: Pregnancy, Medicine and Culture, 1750–2000 by Clare Hanson (auth.)


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