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The Criminalization of Abortion in the West

Its Origins in Medieval Law
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Anyone who wants to understand how abortion has been treated historically in the Western legal tradition must first come to terms with two quite different but interrelated historical trajectories. On one hand, there is the ancient Judeo-Christian condemnation of prenatal homicide as a wrong warranting retribution; on the other, there is the juristic definition of "crime" in the modern sense of the word, which distinguished the term sharply from "sin" and "tort" and was tied to the rise of Western jurisprudence. To find the act of abortion first identified as a crime in the West, one has to go back to the twelfth century, to the schools of ecclesiastical and Roman law in medieval Europe.
IntroductionChapter 1. The Earliest Proponents of CriminalizationThe Scholastic Origins of Criminal AbortionForms of Sentencing in Medieval JurisprudenceCrimen in "An Age without Lawyers" (500-1050)Chapter 2. Early Venues of CriminalizationCrimen in Sacramental ConfessionJudicial Crimen in the Ecclesiastical CourtsPublic Penitential CrimenRoyal Jurisdiction in Thirteenth-Century EnglandChapter 3. Chief Agents of CriminalizationLegislation versus Juristic Communis OpinioCommunis Opinio and Peer DissentSystematic Law before the Rise of the Modern StateChapter 4. Principal Arguments in Favor of CriminalizationSuccessive Animation and CreatianismLegal and Theological Assessments of Therapeutic AbortionThe Demise of Late Medieval EmbryologyChapter 5. Objections to CriminalizationCustomary Indifference North and East of the River RhineRejection in the Royal Courts of England (1327-1557)6. Abortion Experts and ExpertiseEvidence of MidwiferyMedical Embryology and Abortion DiscourseAbortifacient PrescriptionsChapter 7. Abortion in the Criminal Courts of the Ius CommuneCriminal Accusationes and InquisitionesThe Rules and Safeguards of Ordinary InquisitionesExtraordinary InquisitionesChapter 8. Forms of Punishment in the Criminal Courts of the Ius CommuneStatutory and Customary SpecificationsSubstitute PenaltiesAdjustment Out of CourtChapter 9. The Frequency of Criminal ProsecutionsViable Statistical QueriesGeography and Patterns of Record KeepingA Triad of Typical CasesBibliographyIndex

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