Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1854: Oil of Tansy Leads to Abortion Death

Mary L. Stone, a 26-year-old native of England, was living in New York City with her husband, George, in 1854. Some time in late August, she left her husband and went to live with William Mills in New Haven, Connecticut. White at Mills' home, Mary took oil of tansy as an abortifacient. She stated that she had done this at the recommendation of Mrs. Britton, who denied the charge.

After taking the oil of tansy, Mary became very ill. About five weeks later, she returned to New York, going to stay with a friend. She sent for her husband. After seeing his wife's condition, Mr. Stone had her taken to New York Hospital. There, she died the night of Sunday, October 15.

Her death was attributed to "exhaustion produced by abortion."

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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Anonymous said...

It has always been widely known among herbalists to NOT take the essential oils of plants like pennyroyal, hemlock, and tansy.

Hell, I'm NOT an herbalist and I know better than to take essential oils internally.

This is not a slight on the poor woman who was scared and panicking, but rather on you and your journal. You present only one side of the facts.

Taken properly, tansy and pennyroyal work very well to induce abortion, but they are best drunk in a tea. The oil of either plant should NEVER be taken internally.

Christina Dunigan said...

I've not recommended taking tansy or pennyroyal in any form. But then, I don't recommend killing one's offspring by any means, herbal or otherwise.