Medicine: After-The-Fact Birth Control

Birth Control Abortion pills, approved abroad, are doubtful for the U.S.

For generations, pregnant women have dosed themselves with unpalatable, hazardous potions in desperate, largely unsuccessful efforts to rid their bodies of unwanted fetuses. Among the dubious household remedies: swallowing narcotics made from hempseed, douching with the caustic disinfectant potassium permanganate, and even quaffing gin laced with iron filings. Such medieval measures are now giving way to a modern alternative: drugs that can induce abortion. Approved in pill form abroad, they appear to have what their noxious predecessors lacked: safety and efficacy. They are not, however, lacking in controversy.

China and France last month became the first nations to sanction the use...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!