The History and Epidemiology of Abortion at University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

By Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman – August 12, 2017

After a nonstop morning shadowing Dr. Colleen McNicholas who saw 9 abortion patients before 11:30am, we were driven to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

But first we had to pass the contingent of protestors outside the clinic who come often around lunchtime.

For the next 1.5 hours I sat in on Colleen’s lecture to the OB-GYN residents on “The History and Epidemiology of Abortion”, under the direction of Lisa Landrum, MD, PhD in Gynecology Oncology. While the residents ate a non-glamorous lunch of pizza, Colleen (no chance to eat herself) covered the worldwide history of abortion from the days of Plato 1150 B.C. to the present.

We learned that prior to the U.S. Constitution, abortion was legal, widely advertised and performed before “quickening” (when fetus’s were first felt to move in utero). The stringent religious influence was felt soon enough as laws appeared in the early 1800’s criminalizing the circulation of contraceptives which were considered for “immoral use”. However by the late 1800’s our country experienced a profound demographic change — including the proliferation of suffragettes eventually resulting in the 19th constitutional amendment and the work of Margaret Sanger promoting birth control for which women desperately begged.

As medical science became more perfected and exploded with technical and pharmaceutical advances, so did cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Women’s lives changed dramatically as was evident by the majority number of women in this OU OB/GYN residency class.

I was fascinated by the questions asked of Colleen afterwards, including the safety precautions in daily life that abortion providers, particularly those in red states must make.

And then we immediately headed back to the clinic where patients were waiting.

No time for lunch.

State Rep. Stacey Newman