While many of the lower animals have several offspring at once, human beings are, as a rule, born singly. Twins and trip’ lets are by no means uncommon; but they are the exception and not the rule. Why should twins be born, on occasion, and why should some twins closely resemble one another, while other sets of twins do not?
There are two types of twins: those born from a single egg or ovum, and those where two eggs in the woman’s body have been fertilized, instead of one. In the former case, the twins are always the same sex, and generally look alike. In the latter, they may be of different sexes, and need not resemble one another in the least. Twins are usually born within a few hours or even a few minutes of one another, though, of course, one at a time. Modem tests enable the physician to determine whether or not there will be a multiple birth, and make his preparations ac-cordingly.
In the case of triplets, two of them may be of the same sex, and resemble one another, while the third may be of the opposite sex, and be of an entirely different coloring and appearance. In such cases, the first two arose from a single ovum; while the third was due to the fertilization of a separate egg.
ABORTION AND ITS DANGERS
Abortion means the expulsion of the embryo from the womb by intentional means. It differs from miscarriage, where the unborn child is bom prematurely, usually as the result of some accident or illness. In cases of abortion, the woman is actually pregnant, for a longer or shorter time, but wishes to dispose of the child before it is bom. They are usually undertaken soon after conception, though often two, three or more months elapse before it is attempted. In all such cases, of course, the baby is bom dead. Abortions are considered crimes in this country; and the one who performs the operation is considered a criminal.
Aside from the legal aspect, all abortions are highly dangerous, and the woman takes her life in her hands whenever one is performed. There is danger of infection and sterility; it is, moreover, an exceedingly painful operation. The husband who permits his wife to undergo such an operation, and even urges her to do so, is both selfish and ignorant. He does not realize the danger his wife must face in having an abortion performed
It is a mistake to think that the majority of such cases are single girls afraid of bearing a child. Statistics show us that most abortions are performed upon married women, often those who have had one or more children. Thousands of women die every year as the result of abortions.
Many women have attempted to bring this about by taking some chemical substance, such as ergot, which produces contractions of the uterus. These preparations are almost entirely valueless; they do not produce the results claimed in the advertisements. The mother’s womb guards its contents most carefully, and reacts successfully against all such abortive substances. In order for it to respond, it must be thoroughly poisoned, which means that the woman herself must be poisoned! Only in rare cases, do these substances have any effect. All such quack advertisements should, therefore, be disregarded and disbelieved. They will not produce the results claimed for them.
Most abortions are produced by opening the uterus by instrumental means, and subsequently scraping and irrigating it; for, if any minute part of the placenta adheres to the wall, infection sets in, as this decays. The thorough cleansing of the interior of the uterus is essential: hence, the pain connected with this operation.
If the person performing the operation is not thoroughly versed in anatomy, he may perforate the wall of the vagina, or pierce it and enter the bladder or the intestine. In any of these cases, there is grave danger because of hemorrhage and poisoning. Death may result, in consequence.
The uterine Os, or the wall of the womb, may be pierced, with similar results. If the operation has not been performed under absolutely antiseptic conditions, peritonitis may develop infection spread by germs from the outer world. This is al-ways serious and impairs the woman’s future health.
The danger of blood-poisoning is ever present, since germs will almost inevitably be carried from the vagina into the uterus. If this occurs, there is always danger.
Hemorrhage, excessive bleeding, is also a possibility; and if this is not stopped promptly and efficiently, may result in death. The whole interior of the womb is suffused with blood, during pregnancy, and bleeds easily. Hence, the danger of prolonged bleeding. Only a skilled surgeon knows how to prevent this.
From the above, it is obvious that the dangers of abortion are very great. It has been estimated that twice as many woman die every year as the result of this illegal operation, as they do from cancer. In fact, the percentage is probably higher than this, because of the secrecy always attached to this operation.
Girls and young women should avoid abortions as they would the plague. Children should either be bom normally or avoided altogether. The escape from these alternatives should not be sought in abortion.