Dr. Horatio R. Storer (1830-1922)

Photo: Dr. Horatio Storer

Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer is not one that is of regular familiarity. He was an American physician and founder of modern gynecology, and is also known to have had a major role in the Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion. As a student of Harvard Medical School, he was especially interested in female genitalia and gynecological studies, which was of high suspicion at the time. Not only was it unacceptable to have a specialization in practice in general at such an early stage in study, but to have one of women and gynecology was simply unheard of.
In 1865, Storer won an AMA prize for his essay aimed at informing women about the moral and physical problems of induced abortion. This was published as Why Not? A Book for Every Woman. It was widely sold and many physicians distributed it to patients who requested abortion.” Dr. Storer also published the first journal of gynecology in 1869, the Journal of the Gynaecological Society of Boston.
It was Dr. Storer who began associating gynecology with mental illness. One of his most notable books, The Causation, Course, and Treatment of Reflex Insanity in Women, deals with the notion that In 1869, he was the first doctor to ever remove a pregnant uterus completely out of a woman’s body, as the use of hysterectomies began to be a form of treatment.
The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion was a movement founded by the American Medical Association, when Dr. Storer persuaded them to form a committee on criminal abortion. This movement began in Massachusetts and gained national attention, persuading the public to become educated with the pro-life views of the time. It was all in efforts to strengthen laws against elective abortions, pressuring legislatures of the states and territories in the United States. It was, in his mind, essential to attempt the illegalization of all forms of abortion.
Although the legacy that Dr. Horatio Storer left behind is great, he is more likely than not unheard of. Dr. Storer is the founder of modern gynecology practice and was a pioneer in the great Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion in the 1850s. It is unclear as to why Storer was so against the abortion practice; like many of his time it could have been religiously related. It could have also been his great concern and love for the female anatomy. As the author of various informative books on women and women’s health, he was a man of great curiosity and attempted to educate people in the particular study.


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