“Abortion is an immoral, base crime; and he who aids and abets in its commission . . . is guilty of an act involving moral turpitude.” “Moral turpitude” is as redundant as the phrase “ATM Machine.” Morality is folded into the concept of “turpitude.” The term—turpitude—itself is old. Its Latin cognate appears as far back as the fifteenth century in a religious context: Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola famously envisioned the downfall of Renaissance Florence with the prediction, “This place will no longer be called Florence but turpitude and blood and a den of thieves.” As a result, Florentines burned their “vanities,” so perhaps they understood what he was accusing them of. American courts, however, have struggled to pin down the word’s precise meaning.
I WILL MULTIPLY THY SORROW AND THY CONCEPTION: ABORTION AS A CRIME OF MORAL TURPITUDE
Volume 96, No 1, Spring 2024