despite the fact that it's now been legal for years, abortion continues to be shrouded in shame -- and the fear produced by gunfire. I recently realized that despite being a health writer, I know very little about the possible health effects of this surgical procedure. And if I don't know about abortion, I'm thinking probably others don't either.
Like those in the medical system, alt health practitioners are reticent about the topic in public. That's where the terror unleashed by anti-choice fanatics has landed us. Meanwhile, you or someone you love may one day discover you're in desperate need of simple but hard-to-come-by info. Here's the scoop.
"Homeopathic arnica speeds healing. Use the 200C potency once a day before, the day of and the day after the surgery. If there is an infection, go on antibiotics, but afterward take lactobacillus for 10 days. Use vitamin C (up to two or three grams daily) and echinacea to help prevent infection, and nettle tincture or tea (a teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water) to help prevent hemorrhage before and after the abortion. (If you are on medication, avoid herbs.) Afterwards, taking flax seed oil or 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic, fresh-ground flax seeds daily supports hormone balance in the first half of the cycle, evening primrose oil in the second."
JUDITH FIORE, naturopath
"The Goddess is threefold -- birth, life and death -- and none of those places is any more sacred than the others. All life is a continuum. When you make a decision to terminate a pregnancy, you're diverting the path of the continuum. The most intimate, fulfilling and creative ritual around abortion that I've attended included the woman connecting with the fetus as one sacred being to another, explaining why she had come to that decision and saying good-bye."
"It's dangerous to use herbs to cause an abortion. They might possibly cause the placenta to come out, but not the placental sac; in such a case, the woman could die of hemorrhage. Herbs are powerful enough to interact with drugs, so don't use them for a week before surgery. After, female tonic teas like raspberry leaf and partridgeberry herb are good for the uterus. Calendula tea promotes healing. High doses of vitamin E may also reduce scarification. Scarring does 90 per cent of its work in the first two weeks after a procedure."
"The better rested and the better hydrated the person is before the procedure, the better she'll handle it. Uterine infection occurs in 2 to 5 per cent of cases. Persistent pain, heavy bleeding or fever or chills after an abortion mean you should call a doctor. Infection can result in scars in the tubes that increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (a potentially fatal condition in which the embryo starts to develop in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus)."
PHYSICIAN, Toronto abortion clinic
"Predisposing factors for negative post-abortion reactions include having no emotional support, having parents highly critical of one's sexual activity or who are anti-abortion, viewing the abortion as someone else's decision, blaming one's character for what's happened, being highly religious, or suffering from low self-esteem. Most people experience relief, although it can be mixed with sadness."
SHERI and BONNIE
Toronto abortion counsellors
"In Chinese medicine, static blood is a primary cause of pelvic pain and is caused by trauma such as abortion. Acupuncture and specific Chinese herbs will bring oxygen and circulation to the womb. Women need to know that unresolved emotional pain can become physical pain. They need to approach abortion as a conscious spiritual journey, take into account how our culture encourages shame and guilt, and break away from that."
SANDRA TESTAGUZZA Licensed doctor of acupuncture