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physiological craving, for in that case they would be liable to occur in
any pregnancy unless, indeed, it is argued that with each successive
pregnancy the woman becomes less sensitive to her own physiological state.
There has been a frequent tendency, more especially among
primitive peoples, to regard a pregnant woman's longings as
something sacred and to be indulged, all the more, no doubt, as
they are usually of a simple and harmless character. In the Black
Forest, according to Ploss and Bartels, a pregnant woman may go
freely into other people's gardens and take fruit, provided she
eats it on the spot, and very similar privileges are accorded to
her elsewhere. Old English opinion, as reflected, for instance,
in Ben Jonson's plays (as Dr. Harriet C.B. Alexander has pointed
out), regards the pregnant woman as not responsible for her
longings, and Kiernan remarks ("Kleptomania and Collectivism,"
_Alienist and Neurologist_, November, 1902) that this is in "a
most natural and just view." In France at the Revolution a law of
the 28th Germinal, in the year III, to some extent admitted the
irresponsibility of the pregnant woman generally,--following the
classic precedent, by which a woman could not be brought before a
court of justice so long as she was pregnant,--but the Napoleonic
code, never tender to women, abrogated this. Pinard does not
consider that the longings of pregnant women are irresistible,
and, consequently, regards the pregnant woman as responsible.
This is probably the view most widely held. In any case these
longings seldom come up for medico-legal consideration.
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