Miscarriage Wasn’t Always a Tragedy or a Crime

How Race, Medicine, and the Law Shape Reactions to Pregnancy Loss

In the fall of 2012, I woke up early in the morning with cramps. I went to the bathroom and saw blood on my underwear. I was nine weeks pregnant, and it looked like I was having a miscarriage. I was surprised and sad, but also resigned. I had been researching and writing about the history of 19th century miscarriage for seven years, and I knew how often it is a routine part of a person’s reproductive journey.

I called my doctor’s office and was directed to the emergency room, where …