By Wolfgang P. Müller

Someone who desires to know the way abortion has been taken care of traditionally within the western felony culture needs to first come to phrases with really various yet interrelated historic trajectories. On one hand, there's the traditional Judeo-Christian condemnation of prenatal murder as a incorrect warranting retribution; at the different, there's the juristic definition of "crime" within the smooth feel of the observe, which wonderful the time period sharply from "sin" and "tort" and was once tied to the increase of Western jurisprudence. to discover the act of abortion first pointed out as a criminal offense within the West, one has to return to the 12th century, to the universities of ecclesiastical and Roman legislations in medieval Europe.

In this ebook, Wolfgang P. Müller tells the tale of the way abortion got here to be criminalized within the West. As he indicates, criminalization as a unique phenomenon and abortion as a self-standing legal class built in tandem with one another, first being formulated coherently within the 12th century at faculties of legislations and theology in Bologna and Paris. Over the consequent centuries, medieval prosecutors struggled to widen the diversity of felony instances regarding girls accused of finishing their undesirable pregnancies. within the method, punishment for abortion went from the area of conscientiously crafted rhetoric via ecclesiastical experts to eventual implementation in perform through clerical and lay judges throughout Latin Christendom. trained by way of felony heritage, ethical theology, literature, and the heritage of drugs, Müller's e-book is written with the troubles of recent readers in brain, hence bridging the space that will another way divide sleek and medieval sensibilities.

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Extra resources for The criminalization of abortion in the West: its origins

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4) and Tryphoninus (Dig. 39), specify that an imperial decision had ordered the willfully miscarrying woman to be relegated into “temporary” exile. In a fourth and final lex touching upon fetal death, the Roman lawyer Paul detailed the treatment awaiting those who administered love potions or abortifacient beverages (Dig. 5). Paul’s text stated that regardless of their good or evil intentions, perpetrators of lower social standing were to be sent to the mines, whereas more honorable delinquents would endure banishment to an island and lose part of their property.

C. 10 was not included in the first recension of the Decretum. T H E E A R L I EST P R O P O N E N TS O F C R I M I N A L I Z AT I O N 25 the broader topic of manslaughter. 5 Modern observers who investigate the doctrinal attitudes of canonists in the earliest, formative period of their discipline, from around 1140 to 1234, may be led to believe that in the minds of Gratian and his students, abortion formed on the whole a rather marginal concern. By the time the decretists had placed the matter in the larger framework of crime and homicide, it appears as though quests for systematic coherence had been satisfied and interest in the argument subsided.

3. The quoted expressions are taken from important studies of Gratian’s achievement by Stephan Kuttner, Harmony from Dissonance: An Interpretation of Medieval Canon Law (Latrobe, PA: Archabbey Press, 1960), reprinted in Stephan Kuttner, The History of Ideas and Doctrines of Canon Law in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1992), no. 1; Paul Fournier, “Un tournant de l’histoire du droit 1060–1140,” Nouvelle Revue historique de droit français et étranger 41 (1917): 129–180, reprinted in Paul Fournier.

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