Author Lauren Groff Is ‘Sorry’ Her Herbal Abortion Tips Were ‘Misunderstood’

·3 min read
Sophie Bassouls/Sygma via Getty Images
Sophie Bassouls/Sygma via Getty Images

When the paradigm-shifting news broke on Friday that the Supreme Court of the United States had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, a determination that means that American women no longer have the constitutional right to receive an abortion, immediate uproar and grief ensued.

Experts in the field of women’s reproductive health immediately offered thoughts on how to procure an abortion despite some states being likely to outlaw them entirely, and how to financially assist organizations which provide abortions.

Dozens of Providers in Red States Move to Prescribe Abortion Pills

Lauren Groff, the prominent novelist and short story writer who’s authored titles such as Fates and Furies, Florida and Matrix, took to Twitter with a statement of intent of her own.

“Planting my witch garden with abortifacients—tansy, rue, wormwood, angelica—like god and every single one of our ancestors intended,” Groff declared in a series of since-deleted tweets. “All our mothers, great and grand, benefitted from abortion; it was never seen as bad until the 20th century.”

“Tell a native woman or an early female colonist that she couldn’t use her herbs, she’d have fucked you up,” Groff continued.

“You mean the puritanical motherfuckers that still have our laws and policy in a Vice grip?” one person replied. “The fake ass bitches that threw enslaved women under the bus when they got scared of the spiritualism you’re appropriating?”

“Lol. Read more history, baby,” Groff responded.

Groff later tweeted: “For literalists who can’t read, obviously modern medical abortions are way safer, don’t rely on herbs.”

“I would never, ever, ever promote the use of herbs as abortifacients,” Groff told The Daily Beast in a statement on Monday. “Everyone is vulnerable and raw and terribly sad right now, and I’m sorry that my tweet was misunderstood. Much more importantly, I believe wholeheartedly in reproductive justice and everyone’s right to bodily autonomy. As a longtime board member of my local Planned Parenthood I will continue to do all I can to fight for these values.”

Groff’s statement followed online controversy about her original remarks. “She has over 50k followers,” Twitter user @jenelaina replied to Groff. “This isn't ‘literalists who can’t read’ this is “be f—king responsible and acknowledge when your tweet can be misread as an endorsement (someone else objected before she added last), delete, and try again.’”

“There are many people scared AF right now, understandably so,” @jenelaina continued. “And young folks in ban states might see your first tweet, think natural solutions! To help me and my friends! run off to Amazon, and buy some sh-t.You have the platform and the responsibility.” The Daily Beast reached out to @jenelaina for comment.

The first abortion law was codified in Connecticut in the 19th century, in 1821, not the 20th; it stated that any individual who took or provided any “other noxious and destructive substance” with the intent to induce “the miscarriage of any woman, then being quick with child” should be punished.

In the mid 1800s, a gynecologist named Horatio Storer began to argue that abortion caused “derangement” in women, an attitude that clearly persists to this day.

When it comes to modern scientific studies, abortifacients like the ones Groff mentioned have been deemed to be problematic solutions to unwanted conception: “herbal abortion is not a recommended method of intentional pregnancy termination,” a 2010 book, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, states.

“I do not recommend using herbs or homeopathic methods to end a pregnancy when we have ways to end a pregnancy with misoprostol, with mifepristone, with doing the surgical procedure that are still legal and safe,” Dr. Cara Delaney, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Connecticut, told Newsweek in May.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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