Can A Home Remedy Be Used For Abortion?
As part of our work to share abortion information and resources, HowToUse frequently addresses private questions from our users. Over this past year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of women asking if they can have an abortion using a home remedy: Can herbs be used for abortion? How about bleach? Can coke and aspirin terminate a pregnancy?
We feel so strongly about addressing this issue that we’ve decided to dedicate an entire blog post to it.
Whenever we’re asked about home remedies for abortion, we respond with a no-nonsense, straightforward answer: no, home remedies are not safe or effective methods for terminating a pregnancy. Many home remedies will not work and are often downright dangerous. Home remedies are considered a form of unsafe abortion by the World Health Organization, and jeopardize the health and safety of women. In fact, we know that unsafe methods of abortion will hospitalize around 7 million women a year, and are responsible for up to 13% of maternal deaths worldwide.1 We never recommend attempting to end a pregnancy through a home remedy.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. Safe methods of abortion do exist, and there are resources available for support. HowToUse is just one of the many teams out there who are working to ensure that women stay safe while terminating a pregnancy.
Why Home Remedies Are Not Safe For Abortion
In order to debunk home remedies, we first need to understand why they are not safe options for abortion.
First, many home remedies for abortion just simply do not work. They have become popularized through myths and misinformation but have no medical basis. Pineapple and papaya are good examples of ineffective home remedies. Neither one of these fruits will cause the uterus to expel a pregnancy. Eating too much of them, however, may cause stomach upset or diarrhea.
To further complicate matters, many home remedies cannot be safely managed. Take plants and herbs, for example. Though some plants and herbs do have medicinal properties, their potency is hard to gauge. It’s also difficult to predict how these herbs or plants may interact with other systems of the body. Aside from often being ineffective, they can commonly lead to adverse reactions.
And finally, many home remedies for abortion are highly dangerous. They do not target the pregnancy, but rather cause overall harm to the body. Drinking bleach or overdosing on aspirin, for example, can be deadly.
Identifying Safe Methods Of Abortion
So if home remedies are not safe options to explore, how can you have an abortion? The medical community recognizes two safe and effective methods: medication abortion (or an abortion with pills), and surgical abortion.
Let’s tackle surgical abortion first. A surgical abortion needs to be performed by a specially trained medical provider in sanitary clinical conditions. Beware: in many countries, fake doctors (often known as “quacks”) may advertise that they can perform an abortion. This is highly dangerous. Never seek surgical abortion care from someone who is not a medical expert with abortion training, or who is operating outside of a sterile clinical setting.
A surgical abortion may be difficult for some women to access depending on their location. Many countries restrict or ban surgical abortion care. If you’re looking for information about abortion options in your country, you can visit our country profile list to learn about abortion where you live.
Medication abortion, however, is becoming a more common method for terminating early pregnancies. Medication abortion involves two types of pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. You can either have a medication abortion by using mifepristone and misoprostol together, or you can use repeated doses of misoprostol by itself.2 Please note: when choosing to have an abortion with pills, it is critical that you have the right information, including the correct instructions.
If you are looking to learn more about safe medical abortion, you can visit our website or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow us on social media: we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Claire is a teacher, reproductive rights advocate, and the manager of https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/
- 1 Preventing Unsafe Abortion. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preventing-unsafe-abortion.
- 2 Medical Management of Abortion. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/medical-management-abortion/en/.