Experts warn against 'DIY abortions' as Google searches for home remedies skyrocket

Online interest in how to self-manage an abortion at home has risen since the Supreme Court overturned the consitutional protection of abortion in late June, prompting experts to warn about the dangers of "DIY" care, USA Today reported July 7. 

The news outlet cited Google Trends, which showed a spike in searches for the term "DIY abortion" following the ruling. On TikTok and Facebook, posts tout certain herbs, such as pennyroyal and mugwort, that can lead to miscarriages or abortions. Views on some of these posts have reached hundreds of thousands. 

Herbal concoctions can be very dangerous and cause long-term health issues, experts warn. Pennyroyal contains a highly toxic substance called pulegone that can be especially harmful to the liver. 

"It breaks my heart that we are here at this point in time when people are going to attempt something that could potentially kill them," Melissa Simon, MD, vice chair for research in the OB-GYN department at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told the news outlet. "I really hope that people don't take home remedies to accomplish an abortion … It's extremely dangerous." 

Additionally, herbs are not federally regulated, making it difficult to identify the species, concentration and dosing required for a desired health outcome without serious risks. "Even if you have the right plant, even if you know the concentration, you still don't know how to use it properly," Norma Fowler, PhD, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, told USA Today. "It's very dangerous stuff." 

The American Association of Poison Control Centers says it is monitoring the national data system and hasn't seen an increase in calls related to pennyroyal or herbal concoctions meant to induce abortion.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars