Young mother Yaribely Almonte may have had the charges dropped against her when it came to whether or not she self-induced an illegal, later term abortion. But the story itself has opened up a a wider look into the idea of women and girls using herbal remedies in an attempt to abort or miscarry, and how they could be endangering their own lives with these unregulated medicines.
The Village Voice reports on a Spanish language article discussing the surge in the sales of a tea called ruda, that is sold in neighborhood apothecaries run by santeras, or Caribbean Santeria priestesses. Used mostly by younger women who are trying to avoid the stigma of both unwanted pregnancies as well as having been discovered trying to obtain an abortion, the tea and accompanying pills sell for about $33 dollars, making it by far cheaper and more easily accessible than a clinical abortion, either medicinal or surgical. Also, unlike a clinical abortion, there is no one who will question your age or ask for ID if you purchase it.
Like most herbal remedies, due to lax regulation the herbs are easy to procure, but also come with little oversight should something go wrong. ”If taken in excess, El Diario says, ruda can cause bleeding, diarrhea, confusion, heart attack, and death.”
That girls, or even women, have to put their lives at risk just to access a cheaper, more private, more accessible way to terminate an unwanted pregnancy continues to show that when we make abortion unobtainable — either because of age, waiting periods, skyrocketing costs or clinic closures — we don’t stop abortion, we just put more women and girls’ lives in jeapordy.
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