Nearly sixty years before Roe vs. Wade, there was a brief cycle of films dealing with the delicate subject of abortion. One of the best of these was the 1916 World Pictures release, The Question. Selfish debutante Grace Hamilton (Marguerite Leslie) does not want her pregnancy to impede her social life, so she pays $150 for an illegal abortion. Upon learning this, Hamilton's husband turns to drink and also inaugurates an affair with his secretary, who soon finds herself carrying his baby. Ultimately, she dies in childbirth, while the father of her baby, Grace's husband, is killed while delivering a huge sum of money on behalf of his boss. Now alone and guilt-ridden, Grace adopts the dead woman's child and raises it as her own, providing the semblance of a happy ending. Evidently The Question was none too credibly acted, since the reviewer for the trade magazine Variety pretended to mistake it for a comedy!
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