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View Diary: Hey MSM! Why is Rachel Maddow the only one reporting this? (164 comments)

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  •  Many women died prematurely. (9+ / 0-)

    Life expectancy was much lower, not just because children died, but because women died in child-birth or soon after.  My grandmother had ten children; four survived to adulthood.  She died not long after her last was born and the household was managed by her eldest daughter, who never married. How well the children that did survive functioned is another matter. It's my guess that many of the cognitive difficulties we now identify and try to treat were just as prevalent in earlier generations, but went unnoticed. There's no question that some people are impoverished because they simply can't do for themselves.  If they're born into affluent clans with servants, their incompetence isn't noticed.  If they're born into "modest" circumstances, they're a drag on the clan. Even in the fifties, children born with fetal alcohol syndrome were placed in institutions where they languished until they died.  We have forgotten about all the orphanages that have been closed.  I know a man of ninety whose parents sent him and his siblings to the orphanage whenever their income fell.  He recalls his father bringing him presents and then taking the children home again.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 01:59:20 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  not in the 1950s-60s it wasn't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hungrycoyote, elwior, libnewsie

      I grew up in those decades and never knew of any woman dying in childbirth -- never. I'm sure it happened, just as it does now, but it was not something where you knew kids on the playground whose mother had just died.

      Before WWII, maybe. Before 1900, definitely.

      And in that era, nice Mormon and Catholic mothers did not have abortions, even for a late-in-life baby. Abortion was barely legal, and barely available -- I remember when New York legalized it in about 1970. Before that affluent women flew to the Dominican Republic, and there were some D&Cs that were probably covert abortions, but it really was not an available option.

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