Regardless of whether you’re pro or anti choice, the fact remains that unwanted pregnancies is a very real problem, something that has existed since ancient times. Nowadays, we may not talk about it much, but it’s a simpler process to prevent or abort an unwanted pregnancy.
Like all things historical though, birth control has also seen some gruesome and disgusting things. From stuffing leeches in the vagina to consuming the psychosis causing ergot, us humans have tried it all.
Here are some of the weirdest forms of birth control and abortion ever tried!
1. Applying Lysol cleaning agent
In the early 1900s, women were encouraged to use Lysol as a spermicide. For the uninitiated, Lysol is a household cleaning and sanitizing agent. Basically, it’s NOT meant to be anywhere near the vagina. It lead to some medical effects and even some deaths before being taken of the birth control radar.
2. Opium Diaphragm
In early times, women would use a diaphragm containing opium flowers to prevent pregnancy. Probably got them high as a kite too! And no, it didn’t work.
3. Crocodile poop and honey
Ancient Egypt saw women using a wall of crocodile poop and honey inside themselves to keep from getting pregnant. What the what!? I’d rather sleep with the crocodile!
4. Drinking toxic Pennyroyal tea
Women would drink tea containing this attractive purple plant to induce menstruation and even hoped for abortion. The catch is, too much of this tea is toxic and can cause organ failure. Sooo… no thank you!
5. Putting a leech up the vagina
There’s not much else to be said about this, it’s pretty clear as is. Medieval abortion laws force women to do some pretty horrible things.
6. Potato grows roots inside vagina
This woman in Colombia inserted a potato into her vagina, and it actually began to grow roots inside after 2 weeks of insertion. This is because potatoes are tubers and thrive in darkness, but let’s leave the science for later.
7. Drinking mercury water
In case you weren’t aware, mercury is highly toxic. Ancient Egypt and Greece didn’t get the memo however, as their women would drink it to prevent pregnancy, and others used it to treat syphilis.
8. Consuming the hallucinogenic ergot
Apparently this fungus causes spontaneous pregnancies. It also causes psychosis, gangrene and death. In fact, I think it’s an active ingredient in LSD.
9. Using a coat hanger
The infamous symbol of unsafe abortion, using the hooked end of a hanger as a DIY abortive mechanism has been used by women in the past. Needless to say, ewww!
10. Lying in the snow
Women would induce hypothermia by lying in snowbanks for a period of time, and this would somehow cause an abortion. I don’t need to tell you that this can be fatal.