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Q&A Forum

Q&A Forum for Imperial Mentorship members

Use of abortifacients in the classics

Question from a former student: “I'm curious - do the classics ever discuss the use of abortificants? (Don't worry - I am not using it on any live person!) - but... I do think given the current political shitstorm it would be useful to have this information in the event of a catastrophe lol

I had an RN recently ask me because she was curious - I know Dr. XYZ did in China but unfortunately they won't share because of legality issues in the USA.

Interestingly Dr XYZ wrote to me about a formula but said it didn't have any effects. I figured you would be a good source!”

Answer: “Great question! Get Francesca Bray, Technology of Gender and read the chapter on "Reproductive Medicine and the Dual Nature of Fertility," where she discusses the ambiguities around abortion and defining blocked menstruation. Basically, formulas for "breaking blood" and addressing "stopped menstruation" can be used to bring on the menstrual flow, with no need to discuss or even spell out consciously what caused the stopped menses. I can't believe these formulas didn't have effects. I have no idea what the person you mention above was using but some of the formulas in Sun Simiao’s Qianjinfang are super strong and full of hard-core emmenagogues, in contrast to Western herbalism including a lot of nasty bugs etc. Have fun.....

And in terms of spelling it out in the classical literature, I would assume that this was a topic and scope of practice that the male literati doctor-authors avoided and left to the midwives and other female healthcare providers. So you have to read between the lines.

Shitstorm is right. ):

Sabine WilmsComment