Monday, December 3, 2012

Ordinary Pharmacist; Extraordinary Hero

Samuel Taylor was a proto-typical mild mannered small town pharmacist.  A family man, community leader, and life-long Methodist, he had a natural Midwestern aversion to controversy.  But when the daughter of one of his customers was nearly poisoned by a dose of mail-order abortifacient pills, he sprang into action.  

He discovered that the abortifacient business was booming all over the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century--and that it was an entirely unrestricted, unregulated, and unmonitored industry.  

Without the benefits of a government agency, an institutional largess, or a corporate sponsor, he began a one-man educational campaign--first with his fellow pharmacists, later expanding to physicians, and finally with state legislators--to alert the public to the physical dangers and the moral liabilities of the child-killing trade.  Taylor testified before the Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana legislatures--winning their support for a ban on the sale of all chemical parricides and abortifacients--and he  drafted model legislation that was approved by fourteen other states.

Taylor was a very ordinary man who utilized his very ordinary skills and resources to accomplish something quite extraordinary.