Horatio Storer

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Horatio Robinson Storer (February 27, 1830– September 18, 1922) was an American physiciannumismatist, and anti-abortion crusader.

Storer was born in Boston, Massachusetts and attended the Boston Latin School, Harvard College, and the Boston (Harvard) Medical School. After obtaining his M.D. in 1853 he traveled to Europe and spent a year studying with James Young Simpson at Edinburgh.[1] He began medical practice in Boston in 1855 with emphasis on obstetrics and gynecology.

In 1857, he started the “physicians’ crusade against abortion” both in Massachusetts and nationally, when he persuaded the American Medical Association to form a Committee on Criminal Abortion. The Committee Report was presented at the AMA meeting in Louisville, Kentucky in 1859 and accepted by the Association. As a result, the AMA petitioned the legislatures of the states and territories to strengthen their laws against elective abortions.

By 1880 most states and territories had enacted such legislation. Although abortion continued, some women were dissuaded by these new laws and by physician persuasion.

In 1865, Storer won an AMA prize for his essay aimed at informing women about the moral and physical problems of induced abortion. It was published as Why Not? A Book for Every Woman. It was widely sold and many physicians distributed it to patients who requested abortion.

In 1869 Storer founded the Gynaecological Society of Boston, the first medical society devoted exclusively to gynecology, publish the first gynecology journal, the Journal of the Gynaecological Society of Boston.

After his retirement from practice in 1872, he became an authority on, and a notable collector of, medallions of medical interest.


  • Frederick N. Dyer, Champion of Women and the Unborn: Horatio Robinson Storer, M.D. Science History Publications, USA. 1999.
  • Leslie Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine and the Law in the United States, 1867–1973 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), Chapter 2.
  • James C. Mohr, “Storer, Horatio Robinson,” American National Biography.
  • John F. Quinn, “The Good Doctor,” Crisis Magazine, 10 December 2012 [1]

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