some thoughts on self induced abortions

January 15, 2010 § 6 Comments

on menstrual extraction:
its kind of funny but it never occurred to me to get training. i figure i will build one myself. and start with testing the del-em on papaya until i get the feel for it. and then have someone -probably habibi who will help me build it- take out my period-unfertilized-so that i can see what it feels like. and then extract another woman’s period. and after that a couple of times. then do a fertilized uterus.. the first women who created the machines didnt have much to any training what so ever. and they taught the process in a few hours in workshops. on top of that i a reading lots and lots of personal accounts fro women who have undergone the procedure and those who have performed it. also i read/devoured the zine- jane- a few years ago and am going to re read it. i know women’s biology. ive had a miscarriage at 10 weeks pregnant and have assisted women post abortion. so i know a lot of what to look out for.
but i think that is just my way: im like a mad scientist. i always do the experiment on myself first. i dont like giving something to others that i havent tried.

on herbal abortion:

ok. inducing a miscarraige using various plants has been around since longer than written history. we know that much. and it has existed in nearly every culture that western sociology, ethnobiology has studied.  and there a large variety of plants that can aid in inducing miscarriage.  actually all plants are to some degree an abortifacient but there are special plants that have large amounts of the constituents needed to induce miscarriage.  we also know that there has been little modern western scientific experimentation and studies on abortifacient qualities in plants.  the best that we get most of the time is studies showing us that xyz plant ‘should not be used by pregnant women’.  we also know that there are varying degrees of ‘success’ that individual folks have with using plants to induce miscarriage.

in my studies and most importantly in talking with folks who have induced miscarriage there are certain factors that i see coming up time and time again that increases the success of the ‘herbal abortion’.

1. certainty that they dont want to be preggers.  dont want to have a baby. and at peace with that decision.

2. using herbs that are a part of their collective and ethnic memory.  for instance cotton root bark was used by n. american slave women to abort. black cohosh was used by indigenous n. american to do the same.  and so on.

3. using herbs that stimulate the mechanics of releasing the blood.  stopping the progesterone/detaching the placenta, opening the cervix, stimulating contractions in the uterus, and so on.

4. taking the time for the herbal abortion to work.  understanding that it could take weeks, and not just days.  not giving up after a couple of days.

5. keeping the herbs in the bloodstream constantly. consistent use of the herbs on a regular basis.

6. being able to relax.

7. using herbs that do not cause harm to already sensitive parts of the body system.  for instance not using highly estrogenic herbs for folks who have sensitivity to estrogen.  or folks who have a history of hemorrhaging, not givng herbs that increase the likelihood of hemorrhage. watching for food sensitivities.  diabetes. low white blood cell count. etc.

–furthermore if the herbal abortion is not successful, either does not facilitate an abortion, or is an incomplete abortion, it can usually be finished with menstrual extraction.

on surgical abortion:

i dont know what is the best option for a particular person.  perhaps it is surgical abortion and surgical abortion ought to be freely available everywhere. point blank. but not all people obviously believe that surgical abortion is the best option or so many people wouldnt be looking for alternatives even though they surgical abortion is available to them.

some reasons surgical abortion may not be the best option:

–the way that healthcare officials treat marginalized folk, esp. abortion providers

–requires a level of public visibility that could be harmful to the person attempting to procure an abortion. in other words, they fear family violence, partner violence, or other violations and violence if people found out that they were going to an abortion clinic or were pregnant.

–a mechanical digitized vacuum in your vagina.  some folks experience a lot of pain, bleeding, infection from the machine.

–triggers and flash backs of sexual violence

i think we often are looking for the ‘best’ option for everyone. without realizing that there is no such thing. different people need different processes.  best, optimal, normal, natural–these are all words that are look for a totalizing ideal to fit onto each person (with slight adjustments). self inducing abortion is like birth in that some folks bodies need to do it quickly. and others need to go slowly.  some need parsley and some need black and blue cohosh.  some need nipple stimulation and sex and some just need silence and privacy.  let it be.

frankly i meet a lot of women who would invest a lot of time and energy into a process that did not mean taking synthetic hormones so that they didnt get pregnant and when/if those hormones failed they could get a mechanical vacuum cleaner stuck to their cervix to remain un pregnant.

and lets not forget that china has a one-baby per family policy since the 1960s.  how? in part through inducing miscarriage through acupuncture.

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§ 6 Responses to some thoughts on self induced abortions

  • Aaminah says:

    These are all EXCELLENT points!

    May i please add that ALL surgery has risks – risks of infection, risks of injury (the apparatus could bruse, nick or cut or in some other way cause injury), if they give you any kind of anestesia (some do, some don’t) or pain medication you can have a bad or allergic reaction to it, there is ample opportunity for error on the part of the doctors, etc. There is a reason that risk factors are laid out for every person before any kind of a surgical procedure. In so many other cases, doctors try to avoid surgery and find alternative treatments (wanna hear how much i had to go thru to get a hysterectomy, and how frequently i was told that “surgery is dangerous” as the reason they were offering other alternatives first?). So, when someone says that surgical abortion is the “safest” and the “best” procedure, i say they are ignorant and should keep their mouth shut. If they are a woman who does abortions, i suspect that they are self-serving when they say surgery is the method women need to use. And it is, indeed, a huge white privilege issue. Plus it marginalizes the cultures of people who are already marginalized. How dare some white woman try to tell me that she knows more about what i need than my aunties who can point back to a long line of women in our culture and others who used herbal abortions for centuries???

    i would also like to add that afaik clinics offer very little to NO spiritual and emotional support for dealing with the trauma of an abortion and the unnatural method that creates additional trauma to the body and soul. A friend of mine had a choice between two clinics locally – one costs almost $600 because they “take care of you and let you stay and rest for 2 hours after” and the other costs about $350 and doesn’t let you relax there – in and out. i don’t think it’s a huge favor to let you rest for 2 hours afterwards, but at that price difference 2 hrs of rest isn’t an option anyway. She was also offered a “pill you can take at home” for $850 – which makes no sense at all to me. So, if you aren’t going to have excellent medical care after the abortion and a means of handling the after-affects, you might just as well do it yourself anyway and save a lot of money. If you end up with problems, who do you go to? And how do you stay safe if you go to someone? It’s a lot safer to go into the ER or your family doctor and say you’re miscarrying and having a problems than to go in and say you had an abortion and now are having problems. The way you are treated is completely different.

  • Ash says:

    It’s not that I think surgical abortion is best, and I apologize if I gave that impression. It’s just that I worry about an incomplete herbal abortion that might lead to infection, sepsis, death if the woman does not have access to care after she has tried herbal abortion and by some chance it has not been complete. I recognize that surgery has risks too.

    From what I know, so much depends on how early the pregnancy is caught. Ideally, a woman who is in tune with her body may notice soon after conception.

    Anyway, I’ll cede that I just simply don’t know enough about the efficacy of herbal methods yet.

    I’m actually conducting an interview with a person who aids woman seeking herbal abortions Monday for my research paper. I can’t wait till I’m done with that, I am definitely going to send a copy to you.

  • NaksibendiMuslimah says:

    Ash, i don’t mean to pick a fight with you, but you need to STOP saying one thing and then claiming that you were misunderstood. This has happened repeatedly when you comment here, so i know it’s not accidental. i would greatly appreciate if you put A LOT more thought into your comments. Say what the fuck you mean – and if you already said something, don’t tell me i misunderstood or that it wasn’t what you meant to give an impression of. Because what you wrote was:

    “…as far as I understand it’s not really the best solution… Surgical abortion is one of the safest procedures available to women.”

    There’s no mistaken impression. You wrote it plain as day that surgical abortion is the “safest” and that “as far as you understand” (which means, maybe you just don’t understand and shouldn’t speak until you do know what you’re talking about) herbal abortions are not the best.

    And i would posit that maybe, you don’t know what’s best for everyone else, and maybe you don’t know what the hell safety even means for a lot of us – because in FACT, surgical abortion is the LEAST SAFE method of abortion for many women of color, for trans and queer folk, and even for many white people. And not just because of the general risks of surgery – which are very real – but for a million other reasons that you clearly just don’t understand, even when Mai’a repeatedly lays them right out there for you. Also, all those risks you mention for a woman who does an herbal abortion? They ALL still exist for a woman who has a surgical abortion. And a woman who has a surgical abortion is sent home and doesn’t have any more care than a woman who did it herself at home. And if a woman who had a surgical abortion does manage to go to the ER for help? Well, it’s obvious that she had a surgical abortion and she has to admit that she had a surgical abortion, and that puts her at other risk, including not being treated well by the ER and her family attacking her for having the abortion. Whereas a woman who does it herbally, if she needs to go to the ER, as far as everyone is concerned she’s just miscarrying and it’s SAFER to miscarry than to knowingly abort.

    Okay, i know that you can’t “get” something that you haven’t personally experienced and don’t personally know the science behind, but generations of women probably know better than you do. For as long as humankind has existed, herbal abortions & miscarriages have existed. In every culture. And i’m talking long before Emergency Rooms and good white doctors existed. And people have been surviving those herbal abortions just fine without interference. i am one of those women – who did it myself, with no help from ANYONE, no access to a doctor, nothing. But what the hell would i know? i’m not an educated midwife who makes a living off telling women that they NEED me…

  • Ash says:

    Thanks, points taken

  • Bobby says:

    Very informative, Thanks.

  • Annonymous says:

    Natural Liberty: Rediscovering Self-Induced Abortion Methods ISBN: 0964592002 is now available on Scribd to read for free!

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