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October 13, 1900


Author Affiliations

Professor of Gynecology in the Chicago Policlinic; President of the Attending Staff of Cook County Hospital. CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1900;XXXV(15):943-947. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24620410027001i

I know a man of marked erudition who wrote a book on the primitive religions. His opening paragraph is as follows: "The facts in this book are true." There is more common sense than rhetoric in this remark. We are all liable to be mistaken in our estimate of conditions. Too many statements are accepted as true simply because frequent unchallenged repetition has made us believe there is no possibility of contradiction. Continued reiteration dulls the sense of perception and discourages investigation. Moreover, social conditions change, laws become obsolete, public opinion varies and our appreciation of justice is often irrational and selfish. For this reason it is important to know the truth. In a consideration of criminal abortion no prophylaxis is consistent without a knowledge of etiology, and discussion is without profit unless the naked facts are presented.

When married women become pregnant, I estimate that 80 per cent, of