Home » Lifestyle » With highly toxic herbs, household cleaners or fungi: this is how women aborted before legality | Feminism

With highly toxic herbs, household cleaners or fungi: this is how women aborted before legality | Feminism

With highly toxic herbs, household cleaners or fungi: this is how women aborted before legality |  Feminism

«For this misfortune, you must purge with puffin of Cuba a week before you wait for the delay and repeat the same two days later. The next morning, drink a quarter of mint pennyroyal with twelve drops of ammoniacal liquor and another equal quantity at night when you go to bed. Continue this for nine days straight, rest for three, and continue the process for another nine days.” This treatment for misfortune or misfortune, depending on the chosen translation, first appeared in the book The Instructor, written by Ben Franklin in 1748. The book was a general guide to know-how intended for the American colonies, teaching everything from mathematics to standards for writing letters, going through various formulas for home care, and which also included this recipe for abortion at home. This detail in a work by the inventor of the lightning rod, bifocal glasses and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States is proof that abortion has been present in the lives of women throughout the planet for centuries. and very specifically in the country where he is in danger right now. It is also a testimony of how dangerous it can be for the woman’s body and the fetus to have an abortion without regulation and without medical attention. Ben Franklin’s “recipe” has returned to the news when the US media Slate used it last week to respond to the opinion signed by conservative judge Samuel Alito, which could annul the historic Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 that legalized abortion in the United States, where he wrote that “the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.” Now that reproductive rights are fully topical in many countries around the world – the draft of the new abortion law has just been released in Spain, which allows young women over the age of 16 to abort without their parents’ permission – it is It is interesting to remember that Ben Franklin was not the first to publish a recipe for abortion in a book, but he was the first, as reported by Slate, to include it in a book that, in current terms, could be considered a bestseller: a guide that every good American should have in his home to promote its proper functioning. Perhaps the right to abortion, as the judge argued, was not entrenched in American history until in 1973 a woman going by the pseudonym Jane Roe, who wanted an abortion in a state where it was illegal, filed a lawsuit against the district attorney. local, Henry Wade, claiming that the Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional, going so far as to change the laws of the country. In reality, abortion or the search for methods that would allow women to terminate unwanted pregnancies are rooted in the history and tradition of the United States, even if it is a story told in whispers. And to the history of mankind, actually. Natural remedies to cause “the return of menstruation”, as they used to refer to abortion, have been common in all times and places: the Greeks and Romans in the seventh century BC managed to extinguish in less than 100 years a miraculous plant called silphium which, among its many medical properties, was given to women with wine to cause “vaginal bleeding.” Plants such as the highly toxic black hellebore or fungi such as ergot, also known as “delivery powder” were some of the remedies described as effective in causing an abortion. However, much of this knowledge did not leave written records, as John M. Riddle, an American historian, specialist in the history of medicine, and author of the book, maintains. Much of the knowledge about contraception belonged to an oral culture, centered on women, where From antiquity to the 17th century, women had a monopoly on childbirth and the treatment of related matters, and information passed from grandmothers to mothers and from mothers to daughters, being matters considered minor and feminine. The black hellebore was one of the plants that were recommended for performing abortions. Today its highly toxic properties are known. To find written records, you have to jump back in time and read between the lines: in 1699, another guide to everything that served as a model for Franklin, entitled Young Man’s Companion, already included a recipe for “provoking the period” that recommended mixing plant of ash (known for its laxative and slightly sedative properties) with “a few drinks of white wine under the full moon”. In 1794, Carl Linnaeus, considered the father of botany, included five abortive herbs in his Materia medica. Starting in the 18th and 19th centuries, kitchen conversations behind closed doors were joined by some public talks and various publications that served as a guide for women who wanted to avoid pregnancy or have an abortion. This was due to the fact that in the United States in 1873 the Comstock law came into force, which contained a series of restrictions on sending erotic writings and objects by mail and which also contemplated those objects related to sexual and reproductive health, considering them “immoral”. This law criminalized obtaining, producing, or publishing information on contraception, sexual infections, or how to induce an abortion. In 1887, a New York-based single mother named Sarah Chase, a graduate of Cleveland Homeopathic College, took to giving talks on sexuality to groups of men and women. At the end of each talk, she sold a series of contraceptive products that she also sold by mail. This series of articles promised to “restore menstruation” or, put another way, cause abortions. Some of these products were sponges or vaginal enemas. During one of those talks, Chase sold one of those vaginal enemas to a man who wanted to buy it for her wife. That was a setup and Chase was arrested. As they explain in the Atlas Obscura article titled The 19th Century Women’s Secret Guide to Pregnancy Control, “Brave entrepreneurs, some of them women like Sarah Chase, made contraceptives and abortifacients (which were not always safe or effective), dodged authorities and spent time in prison, while information on how to obtain and use these items was passed between women through coded language and whisper networks.” Some of these abortifacients could be found in the supermarket: using knowledge of chemistry, women recommended household products that, when consumed, could terminate an unwanted pregnancy. In other cases, a series of euphemisms were used, such as the aforementioned «restore menstruation», to which were added those that promised to «clean the uterus» or «release the blockage». Madame Restell, perhaps the most famous abortionist of the 19th century, who lived in New York and advertised as a “female doctor” in newspapers such as the Herald or the New York Times, published in her advertisement the sale of “preventive powders” or “preventive pills”. women’s monthly. Restell committed suicide in 1878 after being charged with a crime under the new Comstock Act. Sarah Chase was arrested numerous times, but she only ever went to jail once, when one of her patients died from an abortion. Her methods, however, had already become popular and other women took her place with the aim of helping other women. In 1912, a New York nurse named Margaret Sanger saw a line of fifty women, most of them immigrants, waiting to get an abortion for five dollars because they lacked access to contraception. The terrible situation these women faced made the young nurse make sexual and reproductive rights her cause, which led her to publish a series of texts that would end up as the book What a girl should know, where advice and information on sexual health for women. Later, with the help of other activists, she would found the National League for Birth Control, which would be the germ of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, which today includes induced abortion. Whether it was through whispered comments behind closed doors, talks and discreet home deliveries, recipes for botanical infusions, sponges or false shopping lists, women always sought subterfuge and passed on their knowledge to prevent or end a pregnancy: abortions and pregnancy control have always existed, since long before 1973, when they were legalized in the United States. Time and the evolution of the debate will tell if women will have to return to the secrecy of yesteryear, in countries where they want to review the laws, such as the United States, or they will be able to continue doing these practices with institutional support and security, as is the effort now Same in Spain.

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– Article Written By @Beatriz Serrano from https://smoda.elpais.com/feminismo/con-hierbas-altamente-toxicas-limpiadores-del-hogar-u-hongos-asi-abortaban-las-mujeres-antes-de-la-legalidad/

Nicole Aniston