offending foreign mass without the aid of the obstetrician. But it is not wise to advocate the waiting for such happy and spontaneous events. However while it is true that with proper medical care and attention most cases of abortion (excluding criminal cases and those complicated with other morbid conditions) present a modicum of danger, yet we must not forget that reports and statistics on this subject are very unreliable. First, there may be a false diagnosis; and secondly, concealment on the part of the patient, attendants, and all concerned is exceedingly common today.
From 1867 to 1875 the Bureau of Vital Statistics of New York reported 197 deaths from abortion, but admitted that the Department believed that number to fall far short of the truth. In the thirty years since then, obstetrical science has made many and important advances in ætiology, pathology and treatment; but abortions from one cause or another continue in abundance; and their results have been and are still crowding the offices and sanatoria of the female specialists. Hegar reckoned one abortion to every eight full-term deliveries. Lusk, Marsais, Siebold, Gallard, and other equally prominent but more modern obstetricians and gynæcologists present about the same testimony. From criminal abortion death is very frequent. To tear out the living products of conception by the roots is, in most cases, to give the pregnant woman gratuitous transportation for eternity. Tardieu alone records seventy women who died out of one hundred cases. Even in spontaneous cases, as we have seen, death may occur from hæmorrhage, shock, peritonitis, septicæmia, etc. How much greater the danger, then, when the vandal hand of the professional abortionist adds wounds and injuries to complete his diabolical work. After a careful perusal of this subject the conclusions are:—
When nature, from what cause soever, produces the abortion, some women die, and most have troubles of greater or less gravity left over; when abortion results from criminal interference, a large proportion of women dies, and all are more or less maimed for life. Both the these results increase in number and gravity in direct proportion to the number of times the fatality occurs in each individual case.
Since so many people today have ceased to look on abortion as a calamity at all times, and as a moral monstrosity in its criminal aspect, they should be deterred from committing it by the fear of physical consequences, if they are not moved by the love of morality and righteousness.
Marbais, Des blessures de la matrice dans les manœuvres criminelles abortives (Bibl. d'anthr. crim. et des sciences pénales) (1870); Siebold, Zur Lehre von der künstlichen Frühqeburt; Lusk, Nature, Origin, and Prevention of Puerperal Fever; Transactions, International Medical Congress (Philadelphia), 830; Hegar, Beiträge zur Pathotogie des Eies, Monatsschr. f. Geburtsk., XXI, 34; Gallard, De l'avortement au point de vue medico-légal (Paris, 1878), 45.
Abra de Raconis, Charles François d', A French bishop, born at the Château de Raconis in 1580 of a Calvinistic family; died 1646. In 1592, this family was converted to the Catholic faith, of which Charles then twelve years of age, was to become an earnest defender. He taught philosophy at the College of Plessis, in 1609; theology at the College of Navarre, in 1615, and three years later was appointed court preacher and royal almoner. At this epoch he took an active part in religious polemics and wrote works of controversy. In 1637, he was appointed Bishop of Lavaur, but was not consecrated until 1639. In 1643 he was back in Paris, and controversies with the Jansenists engaged him up to his death. St. Vincent de Paul spurred him on and encouraged him. Two years before his death he published his "Examen et jugement du livre de la fréquente communion fait contre la fréquente communion et publié sous le nom du sieur Arnauld" (Paris, 1644). The following year he published a rejoinder to the reply to this. Arnauld affected great contempt for him, and declared that his works were "despised by all respectable persons". Raconis also wrote against the heresy of "two heads of the Church [Sts. Peter and Paul]," formulated by Martin de Barcos. The bishop's "Primanté et Souveraineté singulière de saint Pierre" (1645) roused the wrath of his opponents. Towards the close of 1645, the report was circulated in Paris that he had written to the Pope, denouncing the dangerous teachings in the "Fréquente Communion", and telling the Pope that some French bishops tolerated and approved of these impieties. The Bishop of Grasse informed a general assembly of the clergy of this fact. This aroused their animosity, all the more since some of them had recommended Arnauld's work. They entered a complaint with the Nuncio, and then compelled Raconis to say whether he had written the letter or not. Although he denied having done so, they drew up a common protestation against the accusations of which they were the objects and sent it to Innocent X.
Oblet, in Dict. de theol. cath., I, 94; Bauer, in Kirchenlex., I, 113.
Abrabanel (Abravanel, Abarbanvel), Don Isaac, Jewish statesman, apologist and exegete, b. in Lisbon, 1437; d. in Venice, 1508, buried in Padua. From his early youth, he was carefully instructed in the Talmudic and Rabbinic literatures, and mastered the various branches of secular learning. His keen intellect and, above all, a great business ability drew to him the attention of Alfonso V of Portugal, who made him his treasurer, a position that he held until 1481. The favour shown by a Catholic prince to a Jew shocked the public opinion of those times, and under John II Abrabanel was accused of conspiring with the Duke of Braganza, and barely saved his life by fleeing to Castile, 1483. Soon afterwards he entered the service of Ferdinand and Isabella, 1484–92. After the fall of Granada, he shared the fate of his race, and was banished from Spain in 1492. He repaired to Naples and, owing to various vicissitudes, went successively to Messina, Corfu, Monopoli, and finally to Venice. Most of Abrabanel's works date from the last years of his life, when, on account of his misfortunes, he found more leisure for collecting and ordering his thoughts. Abrabanel knew Plato and Aristotle, and is often ranked among the Jewish philosophers. His philosophy, however, was intended by him simply as a means of defending his religious convictions. He can hardly be said to have written any work professedly philosophical, with the possible exception of a juvenile treatise on the form of the natural elements; his views in this respect must be gathered from his various theological and exegetical treatises. As a theologian and apologist, Abrabanel shows himself a champion of the most rigid Jewish orthodoxy, and does not hesitate to oppose even Maimonides when the latter seems to depart from the traditional belief. In the field of Biblical exegesis, Abrabanel has the merit of having anticipated much of what has been advanced as new by modern investigators, and of having considered systematically not only the letter of the sacred text, but also the persons of its authors, their aim and surroundings. Each commentary is furnished with a preface in which these preliminary questions are treated. His familiarity with Christian authors, his acquaintance with court life and customs, a keen sense of his misfortunes, joined with a very extensive knowledge and a great power of observation, fitted him eminently for the task of a Biblical interpreter. We have from him a commentary on Deuteronomy;