If you thought that DIY abortions were a thing of the past or something that only occurs in poverty stricken corners of the globe, guess again. An alarming number of women in the western world have been so desperate to end their unwanted pregnancy that they have taken matters into their own hands – and the results are pretty gruesome. Because of certain healthcare laws and pressure from religious groups, some pregnant women have felt trapped and forced to do the unthinkable – perform an abortion on themselves.
What should have been a safe and secure procedure turned into a nightmare for these desperate women and girls who had to turn to illegal methods and even medieval practices to get rid of their unborn baby. Some pregnant women on this list tried using bent coat hangers and psychological methods, others sought out illegal drugs and resorted to leaving the country just to get hold of them.
This scary list is quite a wake-up call as to how dangerous current legislation is here in the US and abroad when it comes to denying women the rights to a safe and professional abortion. Unfortunately, because of the law in certain states and the never-ending debate between pro-choice and pro-life campaigners, this issue isn’t likely to be settled anytime soon. In the meantime, some women are out of options and are forced to make a horrifying decision. Here are 15 women and young girls who were so desperate that they attempted their own abortions.
15. Woman Who Put Her Fetus “In A Dumpster”
Back in July 2014, a woman named Purvi Patel arrived at an emergency room in Indiana claiming she had miscarried. What actually happened was that Patel had induced abortion with the help of illegal drugs ordered online and once Patel took the drugs, she had begun bleeding at an alarming rate. Scared and claiming that she didn’t know what to do, she put the fetal remains in a dumpster and went to the emergency room soon after.
Abortions are legal in Indiana, but Patel was eager to make sure her termination would not be on record. She had become pregnant as the result of an affair with a married man and wished to carry out an abortion at home and on her own terms. Unfortunately, this meant obtaining illegal abortion drugs on the internet – evidence of which was found in Patel’s text message history by the authorities. Both for the charge of obtaining the drugs and of feticide, Patel is now serving a 20-year sentence.
14. Giving Birth To 4 ½ Inch-long Baby After Using Strong Native American Herb
This is a prospect no woman should ever have to face, let alone experiencing it all alone and as a result of your own doing. Going through a miscarriage with the support of loved ones or hospital staff is one thing but what this teenage girl went through just to end her pregnancy was excruciating. One anonymous teen tried various herbs to induce miscarriage, before moving on to an incredibly powerful one known as Black Cohosh.
Black Cohosh is a traditional medicine used by Native Americans for things like cramps and insomnia. Because an extreme dosage can bring on pre-term labour, this teen thought she could use it to bring on a straightforward miscarriage, but the results were far from what she expected. The teen experienced an “incomplete miscarriage” and she watched as she birthed the 4 ½ inch fetus of what would have been her son “He was not alive. When I saw him, I began sobbing uncontrollably. It ripped my heart out.” Horrific.
13. Asking Her Friend To “Punch Her In The Stomach”
This disturbing case just goes to show how desperate and backed into a corner some women feel in order to end an unwanted pregnancy. One woman named Angela felt she was in the worst possible situation to have a child and tried everything to make sure her child was aborted. With no money for a clinical abortion, no job (and a partner she believed wouldn’t take responsibility for the child), she tried a whole host of horrible methods.
The most unsettling of which was when Angela asked a friend to punch her hard in the stomach. Unsurprisingly, her friend refused to. She also tried other methods such as drinking several shots of vodka, taking herbs and even using a speculum and scraping brush that she had stolen from her doctor’s office to perform a home “smear test” of her own. Grim. None of these approaches worked for Angela, but thankfully, she eventually raised enough money for a surgical abortion.
12. Woman Using The “Imaging” Method
One woman claims that the power of thought alone helped her to terminate her pregnancy. This is known as the “imaging method” which involves imagining that the issue within your body (in this case, a fetus) is changing and slowly disappearing. Our mind can affect our bodies and make us do strange things, but actually causing a miscarriage with the mind? This is a stretch of the imagination, to say the least.
What one woman named Inga believed to be thanks to the “imaging method” was actually just a result of the “herbal tea” she had taken to end her pregnancy. Inga had previously had a clinical abortion a few years earlier but suffered such emotional trauma that she preferred to go with alternative methods to help encourage a termination. Along with the strong herbal tea recipe, Inga would repeat the following mantra to herself each night: “When you are falling asleep, imagine the part of your body that’s giving you problems changing.” Kooky stuff.
11. Teen Resorting To Illegal Pills
At 17 years old, one girl called Renee had her whole life in front of her and was planning on going to medical school. But everything changed when she discovered she was pregnant. Unable to talk to her parents about her situation, she made way to her local abortion clinic but was immediately put off by the hateful religious protests outside the door. Renee recalls that she couldn’t go through with it that way. “All that screaming, telling you, ‘You’re going to hell!’ – I couldn’t do it.”
Guilt-tripped into keeping an unwanted baby, Renee was distraught, until she found out about the controversial abortion drug Misoprostol. Misoprostol or “Miso” can only be prescribed by a doctor and being underage meant there was no way she could get them herself. Eventually, a relative managed to get hold of the abortion-inducing pills for Renee and she later miscarried at home, in the form of a severe period.
10. Girl Who Used A Party Drug To Help “Complete” Miscarriage
One young woman named Violet fell pregnant over the Christmas holidays and immediately panicked about the prospect of motherhood. In her distressed state, she tried everything she could possibly think of to bring on a miscarriage. She smoked and drank excessive amounts of coffee. She also tried exercises that she was sure would result in bleeding but nothing worked. Violet also resorted to drinking a powerful combination of herbal teas and taking capsules intended for use on your period.
Out of options, a friend helped Violet get hold of the abortion drug misoprostol, but the drug was only partly effective. She took two of the abortion pills orally as well as inserting two inside her. She eventually started to bleed but knew straight away that it was not enough to convince her she had aborted. To finalize the miscarriage process, Violet helped things flow with the aid of masturbation, as well as taking some ecstasy at a party. Messed up.
9. Pregnant Midwife With Access To Abortion Drugs
Being a midwife makes you more knowledgeable about miscarriages and abortions, but it doesn’t mean you’re emotionally prepared to handle attempting your own, as Julie from Texas discovered. Abortions are legal in Texas, but due to the many restrictions and bizarre laws put in place by pro-lifers, Julie felt forced to carry out her own abortion. One of the recent, ridiculous legislations passed in Texas was to have “funeral services” for aborted or miscarried fetuses – adding extra financial burdens to already emotionally distraught women.
Because of this and many other reasons (including her partner leaving her), midwife Julie decided a child was not a part of her plan and carried out a home abortion. Having access to the right drugs, Julie arranged for a couple of doulas to provide emotional support while she terminated her pregnancy. She took the drugs and soon bled while her doulas comforted her. Julie admits that, without her medical knowledge, she never would have had the courage to attempt her own abortion.
8. Traveling To Mexico For Abortion Pill
The idea of hopping on a plane to get an abortion is unthinkable to most of us, but lack of money and desperation prompted one woman to do exactly that and leave the US for Mexico, where she could get her hands on the misoprostol abortion drug. Martina was struggling to afford her rent payments and couldn’t bear the thought of taking care of a child as well. Knowing a controversial abortion drug was legally available across the border, she spent everything she had on a ticket to Mexico.
The price of a flight to Mexico cost Martina a fraction of the price to get a safe and legal abortion procedure back home. Stunning. On top of using all of her funds just to get a termination, Martina was also taking a huge personal and medical risk, since she knew relatively nothing about the misoprostol drug. She was worried she would “do it wrong” and that it could “mess up her organs.” The pill did its job and she was relieved, but like so many women, Martina risked so much to get it done.
7. Inducing A Miscarriage With Parsley
A common cupboard ingredient is something this next woman used in the hopes it would bring on a miscarriage. 28-year-old Francesca Brandelius opted for a gentle method of abortion when she accidentally fell pregnant and for a while, she was torn about whether or not to keep the baby. Despite being a grown woman, her father and grandmother pressured her into having a termination, so she began exploring abortion methods.
Discovering that high amounts of Vitamin C could possibly cause a miscarriage, Francesca decided to take concentrated parsley tea. As well as drinking the tea, she inserted some actual parsley inside herself and nervously awaited the outcome. Despite light pink spotting on some toilet paper, Francesca didn’t properly bleed and was given a proper clinical abortion. She was devastated by the decision she was forced to make but insisted she would become a mother again, on her own terms.
6. Mom Of Pregnant Teen Serving Prison Sentence For Drug-Induced Abortion
The honesty of one mom led her to serve an 18-month sentence for recommending the use of illegal abortion pills to her pregnant teen daughter. Jennifer Whalen from Washingtonville, Pennsylvania promised to do anything to help her 16-year-old daughter end her pregnancy. The cost and distance from their nearest clinic (175 miles away) prompted Whelan to order the misoprostol pill when she saw an ad for it online.
Whelan had no idea at the time, but the abortion pill – which combines misoprostol with mifepristone – is illegal. Whelan may never have been found out, but her concern for her daughter led her to spill everything to the doctors. After Jennifer’s daughter miscarried, she took her to hospital and explained everything. Medically, it’s impossible to discern whether a woman has spontaneously miscarried or induced an abortion. Whelan is now serving what could be an 18-month sentence for offering her daughter the drug.
5. Told By Abusive Parents To Do It With A Razor
In an anonymous confession on the subject of botched and pressured abortions, a 17-year-old girl alleged that her parents pushed her into performing an abortion on herself, despite telling her she could keep the baby at an earlier stage. The teen known only as “Patient T” lived in an abusive household and when she found out she was pregnant, things only got worse. Her parents threatened her with physical abuse and told her she was going to have an abortion one way or another.
Two weeks after telling their daughter she could keep the baby, her mom forced her awake one morning and decided she was getting an abortion after all. “T” describes her mom yelling at her to get into the bathtub and handed her a razor, telling her to “hurry up.” T broke down and cried, so her father took matters into his own hands. She was eventually taken to an abortion clinic against her will and forced into a termination. Even the medical staff shamed her into having the child aborted and allegedly strapped her down while they performed it.
4. Wearing Tight Jeans To Bring On Miscarriage
You may have heard that men who wear tight pants and underwear can risk lowering their fertility levels. Well, one pregnant woman tried this approach for herself after researching the kind of things that can cause a miscarriage. The young woman referred to only as “O” was in an abusive relationship. She eventually left her partner and her hometown to live in a new city – and this is when she fell pregnant.
Broke and panicked, she quickly looked up ways she could terminate the pregnancy herself. Without the money for healthcare, she turned to drinking Aloe Vera juice and wearing really restrictive, tight jeans. O had heard that African women apply pressure to the uterus if they want to induce a miscarriage. A friend eventually sent O some money for a train ride back to her hometown where she could get an abortion under Medicare, but by then the “tight jeans” method had worked. She began spotting and miscarried.
3. Using A Bent Coat Hanger In A Bathtub
You may recognize the name Anna Yocca, as it’s pretty hard to forget a story like this. In 2016, 32-year-old Yocca, from Tennessee, attempted to end her pregnancy in the most medieval way possible – by using a bent coat hanger on herself. Unbelievably, she was 24 weeks pregnant at this point! Yocca decided almost 6 months into her pregnancy that she would abort her child using a coat hanger while sitting in the bathtub.
After attempting her botched home abortion, Yocca began bleeding intensely and was rushed to hospital by her partner, where she delivered a baby boy weighing just 1 ½ pounds. Tragically, but unsurprisingly under the circumstances, the baby was born with severe and possibly lifelong medical problems and was soon taken into foster care as a result. Yoccca was charged with aggravated assault as well as attempted criminal abortion in accordance with Tennessee’s fetal homicide law but has since been freed.
2. Clinic “Booked Up For A Month” Meant Home Abortion
One of the main reasons for the rise in DIY abortions around the country is that so many abortion clinics continue to close year upon year and those that are open are rarely available to women in desperate need. One woman from the coastal town of Corpus Christi in Texas was close to breaking point when she realized that she would not be seen by her local clinic for a month. A lot can happen in a month, so she wasn’t taking any chances.
The Texan woman – who has remained anonymous – had previously tried to induce a miscarriage at home with the use of herbs when her local abortion clinic closed. When this didn’t work, she tried to contact the clinic that was booked up (more than 100 miles away) and eventually resorted to taking misoprostol – the controversial abortion pill so many women have turned to when professional medical help just wasn’t available.
1. Nearest Clinic Was 200 Miles Away For 38-Year-Old Mother
For one mom in Missouri, becoming pregnant again at the age of 38 was not something on her wish list and the state’s only abortion clinic was an appalling 200 miles away. Being unable to get to the only clinic for miles, she turned to certain herbs and supplements at home in the hopes of miscarrying, but these all failed. Desperate not to have another child, she eventually ordered the Miso abortion drug online and was understandably furious at having to take this as the last resort.
Speaking about the absurdity of having to take extreme abortion measures, she spoke to Glamor magazine in a segment on the rise of DIY abortions in the US: “The legislation to remove a legal right absolutely infuriates me. Unwanted pregnancy happens to intelligent people. To people sitting next to you in church. That’s what gets lost in this debate – we are normal women just trying to make the best choice.”