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In 1803, a significant change occurred in the law governing infanticide. An unprecedentedly harsh criminal statute, enacted in 1623 against unmarried mothers accused of killing their children, was modified to be less harsh. However, moral judgments of unmarried women who gave birth to illegitimate children, known as "bastards" under the law, remained influential in the discourses and practices of law, medicine, and journalism throughout the Victorian era. The nineteenth century is also notable, however, for the crescendo of voices that sought to shift the conversation around infanticide to address issues of poverty, the sexual double standard, bodily integrity, access to birth control, and women’s inequality in both the public and private spheres.