Abortion in the Weimar Republic is a compelling subject since it provoked public debates and campaigns of an intensity rarely matched elsewhere. It proved so explosive because populationist, ecclesiastical and political concerns were heightened by cultural anxieties of a modernity in crisis. Based on an exceptionally rich source material (e.g., criminal court cases, doctors' case books, personal diaries, feature films, plays and literary works), this study explores different attitudes and experiences of those women who sought to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and those who helped or hindered them. It analyzes the dichotomy between medical theory and practice, and questions common assumptions, i.e. that abortion was "a necessary evil," which needed strict regulation and medical control; or that all back-street abortions were dangerous and bad. Above all, the book reveals women's own voices, frequently contradictory and ambiguous: having internalized medical ideas they often also adhered to older notions of reproduction which opposed scientific approaches.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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