Perhaps we should remember that New England was first settled by Protestant refugees from the Thirty Years’ War and other wars of the Reformation, both international and civil.

When New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the Southern New England colonies were settled, Protestants and Jews could settle here, but Catholic immigrants had to settle in French Canada or the colonies south of Chesapeake Bay.

Abortion was not an issue in New England — pregnancies were handled by midwives, who often had the knowledge of herbal abortifacient to perform abortions. Because bacteria and viruses were then virtually unknown, “doctors” operated without sterilizing their hands between operations, and thus probably communicated as many diseases as they healed.

Seen through a historical lens, today’s political problems have different original qualities.

William Burgess Leavenworth