The English law on the subject is now governed by the Offences against the Person Act 1861, which makes the attempting to cause miscarriage by administering poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully using any instrument equally a felony, whether the woman be, or be not, with child.
The apprehension never died out in his mind; and when he knew that the principles and abstractions, the un-English dialect and destructive dialectic, of his former acquaintances were predominant in the National Assembly, his suspicion that the movement would end in disastrous miscarriage waxed into certainty.
It cannot, however, be shown that the leaders of the church at this time sought to procure the miscarriage of justice in dealing with such cases.
Popular Protestant feeling ran very high at the time, partly in consequence of the recent establishment of a Roman Catholic diocesan hierarchy by Pius IX., and criminal proceedings against Newman for libel resulted in an acknowledged gross miscarriage of justice.
Whatever may have been the exact view taken by the common law, the offence was made statutory by an act of 1803, making the attempt to cause the miscarriage of a woman, not being, or not being proved, to be quick with child, a felony, punishable with fine, imprisonment, whipping or transportation for any term not exceeding fourteen years.