The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum’s 2021 Virtual Lecture Series kicks off next Wednesday with staff member Amanda Balyk’s presentation that promises to be provocative and illuminating.
An Atrocious and Abominable Offence shines a light on 19th century attitudes towards the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, a controversial subject for thousands of years, “with laws that have banned it, approved it, banished those who practised it, and even condemned others to death,” says the museum’s Barbara Worthy.
“It has been used as a political weapon, as much as it has been approved as a health measure.”
Balyk will use five distinct abortion trials from mid 19th century Victorian England to illustrate “the dizzying attitudes, language, and control practised by the anti-abortionists and medical professionals of the day,” says Worthy.
“The trials were diligently recorded in The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and best-known medical journals, giving a public and highly respected voice to the ‘doctors’ dilemma.’”
Abortion was against the law, “and the medical professional of the mid-19th century felt their newly acquired professional status was seriously challenged by charlatans and quacks who were always ready to profit from the misfortunes of women.”
Balyk is a recent graduate from Brock University, with her MA in history. Her areas of interest are nineteenth-century British crime and gender, and she brings a unique retrospect on the lesser-known aspects of mid-Victorian medical history.
She is also a high school teacher with the District School Board of Niagara, and currently works as the Tiny Museum coordinator with the museum.
An Atrocious and Abominable Offence is scheduled for: Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 11 a.m.
Please register at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum website: www.nhsm.ca/Events