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A guest poster was right. We're here to be supportive. While I also have very strongly held beliefs about abortion and women's rights to choose, all I intend to address here is whether certain preparations have an abortifacient (abortion-causing) effect.

Humphrey's 11 is formula intended to restore menstruation. As homeopathic remedies go, it's more than a little odd. Usually the idea behind a homeopathic remedy is to give tiny amounts of substances that would have the effect you don't want, to give the body a signal that's something you don't want it to do. Humphrey's 11 uses herbs that actually do, sometimes, after 90 days or so, restore normal menstruation. If anything, in terms of classical homeopathy theory, it should make a woman stay pregnant.

Of course, if a woman is menstruating, she can't be pregnant, so a rather large number of posters on the Internet seem to think that this formula would also induce an abortion.

It doesn't. There are, of course, many other plants that have been used for that purpose across history. There are vegetables that have been used to induce abortions. There are cereals that have been used to induce abortions. There are herbs there have been used to induce abortions. But there is always a particular way of preparing them that makes the difference. Even if I thought it would be a good idea to tell you which vegetables and cereals (not any cereal you'll find at the average supermarket) and herbs these are, and I don't, you would still have to use them in precisely the right way at precisely the right time to get the desired result. And because I don't want someone losing out on opportunities to make other choices because they were using the right plant in the wrong way I am not going to list those plants here.

The problem with these methods is that they "sort of" work. Sometimes there actually is an abortion. Sometimes there is just a highly complicated continuing pregnancy. Occasionally, the woman's life is put in danger by excessive bleeding. They just aren't something you can do on your own, regardless of your beliefs about a woman's right to choose.

Here's what I do know about options in problem pregnancies.

"Morning after" pills, which are available over the counter in the US, don't actually cause abortion. They simply keep the sperm from reaching the egg, or they keep the fertilized egg from reaching the lining of the womb. They do not kill sperm or eggs or zygote. But that's something almost any woman of reproductive age can ask for herself.

Once a woman is pregnant, terminating the pregnancy just isn't something she should try to do on her own. Things can go wrong, horribly wrong. I'm old enough to have known women who tried do-it-yourself abortions in the 1930's. They never physically recovered. Just don't do this.

And if you are pregnant, and you don't know what to do, maybe that's a better activity for us at SteadyHealth, to help you find choices. But cross Humphrey's 11 and do-it-yourself herbal abortions off your list of options. They are just too dangerous.

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