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Twitter thread shows how deeply rooted abortion is in American history, contrary to court's claim

Historians have pointed out how abortion was a common and accepted part of life throughout much of American history.

Cover Image Source: Twitter/John Skiles Skinner

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that made abortion legal in the U.S. nearly 50 years ago. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion that, according to CNBC, also tossed out Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights. "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

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"That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be 'deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition' and 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," Alito added. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives." Since Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion back in May, historians have already pointed out the untruths, cherry-picked facts and deliberate omissions in it, including how abortion was a common and accepted part of life throughout much of American history.

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However, according to The Washington Post, Alito dismissed the amicus briefs submitted to the court arguing that abortions in the early stages of pregnancy were common in the nation's history. Instead, he pointed to his own historical evidence to argue that abortion has always been unpopular and criminalized. Now, an engineer named John Skiles Skinner is exposing the long history of legal and accepted abortion in the U.S. in a viral Twitter thread that contradicts the Supreme Court's claim. "The court claims a right to abortion is not 'deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.' Is that true? I searched 18th-century newspapers because I wanted to learn how people really felt about abortion at America's founding. Answer: they *loved* abortion," Skinner tweeted.

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"How much would you guess that people in the 1770s used the word 'abortion'? I guessed zero. I was wrong! They talked about abortion ALL THE TIME in early America," he continued. Skinner's research revealed that abortions—either performed by a midwife or obtained by ingesting certain herbs or teas—were largely considered a necessary part of life that only gained attention when something went wrong and the pregnant person died.

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Furthermore, Skinner also observed that abortion was often spoken of as a metaphor. "A 1774 political critique: 'unless our ministry are such skillful midwives as to procure an abortion, we shall be surprised with something monstrous,'" he tweeted. "From this we learn that abortion was: skilled work, done by midwives, intentional, seen as good, protection from 'monstrous births.' This last is a reference to a medieval Christian belief that some babies are hell-sent monsters, needing to be aborted." According to The New York Times, abortion was legal in the country during the 17th and 18th centuries under common law before "quickening" or when the pregnant individual could feel the fetus move, which usually begins around 16 weeks.

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In the decades after the American Revolution, the birth rates in the country saw a steady drop as couples took control of the size of their families due to a number of reasons. Contrary to what Alito claims, abortion in the early stages of pregnancy was common and generally not considered immoral or murderous. Concluding his now-viral thread on the topic, Skinner wrote: "abortion-loving sapphic freedom-fighters have been speaking truth to power in our nation's highest court SINCE THE BEGINNING... Americans enjoyed the right to abortion since the beginning. Women forcefully took their rights since the beginning."

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"The right to abortion is not new. It is older than 1973. The right to abortion is deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition, and people at the time of America's founding were proud of it. Abortion is patriotic," he added. "Finally: we SHOULDN'T HAVE TO CARE what 1700s people thought about abortion. Many were idiots who owned slaves and died from unnecessary bloodletting. The fact remains they embraced it, and SCOTUS is lying."

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