[God cursed women, so he objects to efforts to relieve their suffering. That’s the position of the author(s) below, and we don’t doubt that was the position of the patriarchy of the time, whatever God’s opinion might be. We thought compassion was godly. But the position of the patriarchy was more general – if God has gone to the trouble of inflicting suffering on His people, man or woman, then it is wrong to do anything to alleviate it.]

“When James Simpson proposed to relieve women’s labor pains with the newly discovered anesthetics, chloroform and ether, there was a great outcry from the clergy, who called it a sinful denial of God’s wishes. According to Scottish clergymen, to relieve labor pains would be “vitiating the primal curse against woman.” A New England minister wrote: “Chloroform is a decoy of Satan, apparently offering itself to bless women; but in the end it will harden society and rob God of the deep earnest cries which arise in time of trouble, for help.” With the usual half-concealed sadism of patriarchal morality, he was really saying that female screams of pain gave God pleasure, and men must see to it that God was not deprived of this. The matter was resolved when Queen Victoria allowed her doctor to give her chloroform during delivery of her eighth child, and publicly hailed the new pain-reliever as a great blessing. All at once the clergymen were silenced, in effect conceding to the Queen the right to overrule God.”
p. 665.

Pasted from <http://archive.org/stream/womansencycloped00walkrich/womansencycloped00walkrich_djvu.txt>

The woman’s encyclopedia of myths and secrets
by Walker, Barbara G. Published c1983

Pasted from <https://archive.org/details/womansencycloped00walkrich>

[We don’t have the original source for these quotes, so take them with a grain of salt. We found them quoted on the Internet, referencing Helen Ellerbe (whose book lacks original sources – a main criticism). Ellerbe quoted Walker who quoted Pearsall (Pearsall, Ronald. Night’s Black Angels) at which point we lost interest. The above is from Walker’s “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets.”

As anyone who tries to verify information on the Internet must soon find, a lot of stuff is lifted out of its context and quoted to suit the writer’s prejudice. Other quotes when traced just vanish into thin air, or are misattributed. We’re not disputing the information quoted here; we just get disturbed by the fact that we looked at a web page and three texts and still didn’t get to the original source.

Spoiled as we are in this day of easily-available online content, we wonder that people write books on subjects limiting themselves to other books on the same subject, never looking at the source materials. Of course they were writing pre-Internet, sitting at tables at their local libraries while the necessary source material was in collections overseas and it was their original perspective which justified the re-hash, but how could they or any subsequent reader know that they weren’t simply repeating errors?

Oh well, we don’t read Greek or Latin either, and it’s not like we have editors, so take what we say with a grain of salt too. Do your own research, and don’t get riled up because bigoted old men ganged up on women, supported by the same religious hatred that justified their hatred of Jews (their justifications were that Jews rejected and killed Jesus and women brought on the curse of God and ejection from the Garden of Eden). With clear reason, they hated each other too, united though they were in their comfortable, smug paternalism against everyone else. Okay, do get riled up. Europe “was” a war-like paternalistic society full of ignorance and fear and old men crawling over each other for power over others. It was no place for Christianity without compassion, and even if God and Satan approved, we don’t think Jesus would have. Can we blame Faust for trying another way?]