The Boston surgeon, Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. (1830-1922), is known for his key role in creating the specialty of gynecology and for being the first surgeon to remove a pregnant uterus. The diseases peculiar to women were little understood and poorly treated when Storer began medical practice in 1853. Medical specialization of any kind was unacceptable to physicians at that time and a physician who paid attention to the female genitals was particularly suspect, given that there were “quacks” who pandered to women's non-medical needs. Horatio faced strong resistance to his campaign to promote gynecology, particularly from powerful Boston physicians and surgeons who also were upset because Horatio advocated chloroform, the anesthetic discovered by his Scottish mentor, Dr. (later Sir) James Young Simpson. Ether was worshipped in Boston where it was the anesthetic used when anesthetic surgery was first demonstrated to the world in 1846. Chloroform, ether's most serious competitor, was hated by these “Etherites.”
Storer is even better known for the “physicians’ crusade against abortion” which he started and carried out with the assistance of the American Medical Association. Most people today are surprised to learn that induced abortion was common among married Protestant women in the United States in the 1850s. The “physicians’ crusade” led to the passage of laws in almost every state that protected the fetus from conception. These physicians, and the new abortion laws they worked to create, taught people that the fetus was alive prior to “quickening,” the point in the pregnancy when movements of the fetus were first felt by the woman. The “physicians’ crusade” led to a drop in induced abortion, according to Dr. James Mohr who wrote a history of abortion in America. Even a small increase in the number of children surviving to birth has dramatic effects on the makeup of succeeding generations and many people today can thank Horatio Storer for one or more of their ancestors.
He started the first medical society and the first medical journal devoted exclusively to the diseases of women. The Gynaecological Society of Boston and Journal of the Gynaecological Society of Boston both commenced in 1869.
This occurred in 1869, five years before Edwardo Porro performed the same operation in Italy. Storer's patient only survived three days. Porro's recovered and there may be little injustice in the fact that the operation today is known as Porro's.
Mohr, James C., Abortion in America, Oxford University Press, New York, 1978. However, Mohr almost certainly was wrong about a decrease at the end of the nineteenth century (Dyer, F.N. The Physicians' Crusade Against Abortion—In review [July 2004] for possible publication by Catholic University of America Press).
If only one generation showed an increase in surviving pregnancies amounting to three percent of children this would provide a parent (or two) for 5.9 percent of the next generation, at least one grandparent for 11.5 percent of the second generation, at least one great-grandparent for 21.6 percent of the third generation, etc.