Abortion has been around even before the beginning of America. When America was just 13 colonies, they followed English Common Law, and English Common Law forbade abortion. Before quickening (feeling life) was a misdemeanor. This punishment, from earlier laws, grew from there previous knowledge of human reproduction. The colonists then in the early 1800's learned that life did not begin when she "felt life", but at fertilization. In 1869 the British parliament passed the "Offenses Against the Persons Act" and dropped the felony charge back down to a misdemeanor. In the mid 19th century, each then present made there own laws against abortion. By 1860, 85% of the population lived in states which outlawed abortion with new laws. .
Abortion was dealt with in different ways. Despite all the laws, the charge of abortion was hard to charge someone with. Because back then there were no scientific ways to determine whether or not someone was pregnant. The only definite diagnosis of pregnancy both medically and legally binding, was for the doctor to hear the fetal heart, the heart could only be heard after four to five months. Before that, all the abortionist had to say was that her menstraul period was late, and all he did was bring on her period. It was impossible to convict someone of murder unless the body can produce the corpus delicti. They were almost never able to examine tissue removed from the woman in a court of law, it was next to impossible to prove that the woman was even pregnant or the actions of the doctor had terminated the pregnancy. The only sure way to prosecute the abortionist is when there patients were killed or injured in the operation. Until the invention of X-rays in the early 1900's and later hormone tests of pregnancy in the 1940's, pregnancy could not legally be determined in its earlier weeks. Surprisingly, women's involvement in there abortions were not prosecuted.