How to Give Yourself an Abortion
January 9, 2020
Posted by Arielle Swernoff
Illustrated by Matt Lubchansky
For as long as people have gotten pregnant, people have given themselves abortions. Historically, these methods have varied from the brutal to the toxic to the bizarre.
But history hasn’t always gotten it wrong. From the Bronze Age until the 1st or 2nd century BCE, silphium, a plant native to Libya, was used as a safe and effective contraceptive and abortifacient. It’s said the plant was so popular that it was harvested to extinction. More recently, enslaved black people in the American South devised numerous herbal treatments to terminate unwanted pregnancies, some of which are still used today.
The Forgotten Father of the Abortion Rights Movement
What Bill Baird's aggressive, often illegal form of activism can teach a new generation about combating anti-abortion forces.
By Myra MacPherson
October 7, 2019
I first met Bill Baird in Hempstead, Long Island, on a freezing December night in 1968. This was 18 months after he was arrested and jailed for handing a can of contraceptive foam to an unmarried coed at Boston University. And it was some four years before the Supreme Court would hand down its decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird, the case that grew out of Baird’s illegal action and established the right of unmarried people to possess contraceptive products. Eisenstadt, in turn, was a crucial privacy precedent that the Court cited in 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision establishing a woman’s right to an abortion. But on that night in 1968, Baird was attending to more immediate matters: a clinic packed with desperate women.
After a rocky start, the IUD is now celebrating its 50th birthday
A Likhaan NGO health worker shows an Intrauterine family planning device to housewives at a reproductive health
Written by Katherine Ellen Foley
January 27, 2018
Until relatively recently, scientists didn’t really understand contraception.
The earliest efforts on record to prevent unwanted pregnancy, from ancient Egypt, were to simply clog the uterus—rocks seemed to work well enough in animals like cows and camels (although the logistics of inserting those are a little fuzzy). For obvious reasons, that was not a suitable option for humans.