As made clear by the statements reproduced below from the pro-life United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the pro-choice National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, abortion remains one of the most heated social issues in America today. But the controversy goes back centuries. Until the mid-1800s, abortion was both legal and widely available in the United States. Then, in the late 1850s, a Massachusetts doctor named Horatio Storer launched the “physician’s crusade against abortion” and persuaded the American Medical Association to form its Committee on Criminal Abortion. The committee’s 1850 report, also presented below, makes an anti-abortion argument that remains at the core of the debate to the present day: fetuses are human beings with a right to life.