Yesterday on the Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly asserted that he knows "for a fact" that the Founding Fathers would consider abortion infanticide. This begs the question: what does O'Reilly think the word fact means? If it means what standard dictionaries define it as, then it is not a fact that the founders would consider abortion infanticide. If, however, you define fact as something believed by Bill O'Reilly to be true, then in that case it could be a "fact."
As far as I can tell, abortions were legal at the time of the nation's founding, and remained so well into the 19th century. Indeed, the History Channel notes that abortion "was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century." The review of When Abortion was a Crime in The Atlantic states
UNTIL the last third of the nineteenth century, when it was criminalized state by state across the land, abortion was legal before "quickening" (approximately the fourth month of pregnancy). Colonial home medical guides gave recipes for "bringing on the menses" with herbs that could be grown in one's garden or easily found in the woods. By the mid eighteenth century commercial preparations were so widely available that they had inspired their own euphemism ("taking the trade"). Unfortunately, these drugs were often fatal. The first statutes regulating abortion, passed in the 1820s and 1830s, were actually poison-control laws: the sale of commercial abortifacients was banned, but abortion per se was not. The laws made little difference. By the 1840s the abortion business -- including the sale of illegal drugs, which were widely advertised in the popular press -- was booming. The most famous practitioner, Madame Restell, openly provided abortion services for thirty-five years, with offices in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia and traveling salespeople touting her "Female Monthly Pills."
In one of the many curious twists that mark the history of abortion, the campaign to criminalize it was waged by the same professional group that, a century later, would play an important role in legalization: physicians.