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January 28, 1893

NATIVE AFRICAN CHILD-MARRIAGE: ITS RELATION TO UTERINE DISEASE AND DIFFICULT PARTURITION.

JAMA. 1893;XX(4):87-89. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420310005001b

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Abstract

The common impression that maternity is easy among nations uncivilized and consequently untrammeled by the restrictions of fashion and conventionality, is incorrect—certainly as to the tribes of Western Equatorial Africa. An acquaintance, based on a residence there of over thirty years, with native African customs and habits, has made it apparent to me that the sexual life of the native women is thereby marred, maternity made painful and often fatal, and diseases entailed that make their lives a burden. I have observed the following facts, which are fruitful sources of uterine disease and difficult parturition.

1. Women are taken in marriage at too early an age. Sexual connection is commonly had before the age of puperty.

Under the polygamous customs of the country, little girls, even in infancy, are bargained for with their parents by suitors, each running a race, trying who shall first complete the sum of money demanded

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