[Queen Victoria had been denouncing the Women's Rights movement] ... And after chloroform was introduced to ease the pains of childbirth, she demanded that it be used on her. Religious and medical conservatives were shocked. They said God had decreed that women must suffer in childbirth as atonement for the sins of Eve. But queen Victoria wouldn't accept this particular anti-woman's-rights dictum. She became one of the first women to use anesthesia during childbirth , and knighted Dr. James Simpson, the Scottish physician who developed this use of chloroform, though he was excommunicated by his church for doing so.

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