Why is this Person Telling this Story?

I don’t know if you clicked through, but earlier Prin posted a link to this story about how there are rumors of girls in Wisconsin taking livestock drugs to induce abortions.  I was all prepared to write a post being all “Holy Jesus, how could this be happening?”  But then I read the story and did some googling.  And every single story about girls shooting themselves with cow medication seems to come back to one woman saying that she knows of ten girls who have done this.  I quote:

So far, the professionals in animal and human health and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction are treating the reports of girls inducing their own abortions with prostaglandins – drugs commonly used by cow breeders to regulate animals’ heat cycles – as rumors, because no cases have been officially confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

But Anna Anderson, the executive director of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Green County in Monroe, maintains that she has identified at least 10 girls ages 14 to 18 in a three-county area who admitted to taking some form of cow abortifacient in the past year. Care Net is part of a large system of pro-life, Christian-affiliated pregnancy resource centers that counsel women against abortions.

Anderson said the girls told her they took it because they found it to be a cheap and easy way to end their pregnancies without their parents finding out.

And I find this interesting because it sounds plausibe until you start to consider the details as we have them.  A cow weighs quite a bit and a teenage girl, in comparison, doesn’t.  So, girls are supposed to be self-medicating in this way and yet no one has ended up in the hospital or dead?  How would teenage girls find out about this?  The articles mention emails and websites, but I tried googling every thing I could think of that might bring up a site that would tell me how to induce an abortion with prostaglandin drugs, and the sites Google found, no matter what terms I used, seemed only to bring up stories about how Anna Anderson is telling everyone that girls are doing this.  And email?  In this day of cell phones and text messages, do kids send email anymore?

But weirder still–why would girls who have already done this report it to Anna Anderson?  She runs a pregnancy center that counsels women against having abortions.  Are the girls in Green County so depraved that after they have abortions, they come in to brag to the anti-abortion folks about what they’ve done?  Taunt them with their acts?  If so, then why supposedly go to the effort to have an abortion in a way that can be kept hidden?  Don’t get me wrong.  I know teenage girls are idiots, but it strains credulity to think that they’d be so desperate to hide their abortions that they’d inject cow drugs to keep their parents from finding out, but then they’d go brag to the local anti-abortion crusader–who seems to have a remarkably big mouth, with the calling of the school and the spreading it to the media–like it was no big thing.

So, the whole thing seems implausible.  Highly implausible.

So why tell it?

Why would Anna Anderson make this up?  In a weird way, it almost seems like she’s hoping that a girl near where she is will hear about this method and try it, thus confirming the story and proving that she was right all along.  But she’s right that a kid could die trying this, and I think we have to give Anderson the benefit of the doubt that she’s not hoping for anyone’s death.

Okay then what?  Is she trying to signal to the parents and school officials in her community that she is someone who must be listened to because she knows things about the children in their care that they don’t?  And what would that be?  That they might be sluts and you’d never know it?

Or is it some kind of anxiety about living in a farming community and seeing that livestock’s reproduction is manipulated casually in ways that you find completely inappropriate for humans?

Is it about the threat of girls being able to do what they want with their bodies without anyone knowing?  A way for her to call a bluff on girls who might be considering an abortion of any kind?  Trying to insinuate that they may think that what they’ve done is a secret but that she will find out and she will tell?

I’m not sure.

But I find it strange.

9 thoughts on “Why is this Person Telling this Story?

  1. Is this the new version of “the candy is laced with acid?” It seems so much like an urban legend, with all of the friend of a friends and supposedlies. There was a story a couple of years ago about some guy who allegedly put cow hormones in a girl’s drink to induce abortion, too.

  2. …it almost seems like she’s hoping that a girl near where she is will hear about this method and try it, thus confirming the story and proving that she was right all along.

    Bingo. And if the little slut dies, well, then, so be it. Chalk it up to God’s will. She should have either kept her legs closed in the first place or carried the pregnancy to term.

    Short of that more drastic motive, which I’m leaning toward, methinks the ‘pro-lifer’ spreading the rumor is just using the tried and true wingnut method of throwing shit against the wall and waiting to see how much of it sticks.

    The real culprit here, though, is the newspaper. There is no substantiated evidence that this is actually occurring, but after the misleading headline (which suggests that there is something really happening) you have to read through almost 800 words to figure out that this is all a big kerfuffle over a rumor started by someone with a possible interest in seeing such a rumor gain traction. That’s shoddy journalism at best, and stealth anti-choice activism at worst.

  3. Pennyroyal tea will induce miscarriage. Shhh! I personally know of several. But it’s a crap shoot, and won’t always work… Also, you might barf it up before it can do the trick… and its gross and plenty barfable too.

    But good luck finding any in bulk in an herb store these days–and that’s why.

    I’ve been tempted to write about that… but I don’t want to draw attention to any small mom-and-pop herb stores still selling it somewhere in the boonies. I know of one woman who drove all day to get it. You CAN still find it, if you make a herculean effort.

    Also, they make “natural flea collars” of Pennyroyal, but these are in too-small doses to be effective on grown women. Must be ingested. (Yes, I’ve been asked “Will the flea collar work?”)

    And great post, Aunt B… thanks for doing the work. I have heard the rumor too.

  4. I have seen some places online selling pennyroyal as a good container plant. I laughed when I saw that, because it seemed completely sincere. I thought, “Well, shoot, that’s going to put an interesting wrinkle in the abortion debate, if it becomes widespread again.”

  5. What scares me is that I have heard of a lot of desperate girls who have their boyfriends punch them in the stomach to try to induce miscarriage. I imagine that happens a lot more frequently than anyone trying different drugs, because most women know they can take a beating without dying.

  6. Pennyroyal is pretty easy to grow. I don’t know why people don’t grow it more, other than that it will take over (like any mint). It grows wild all over the hills in KY. Black or blue cohosh also works as an abortifacient (especially in combo with pennyroyal). Perhaps the most readily available abortifacient at the grocery store these days is flaxseed or flaxseed oil.

  7. Maybe it’s a wingnutty response to The Age Of Obama? I’ve been reading snippets of things here and there that seem to be based on some idea that now that the Bush Era is over, and Obama is rolling back the misbegotten ideologies of the FDA vis a vis Plan B, and the Global Gag Rule, etc., that basically we’re in End Times.

    It’s an unfortunate, wingnut-specific reading of recent history that suggests that since the other side’s guy is in office, everything you hold dear is up for grabs. In such a climate who can be surprised that a made-up story about those awful girls ingesting bovine hormones –an evil if ever there was one– would circulate?

    What’s sadly missing is any awareness that the reasons why Lefties in general bemoaned the Bush Era were logistically sound: there WAS a wholesale ignorance of science in lieu of cheap politics, there WAS a general abandonment of the rule of law in favor of cheap theatrics and fear tactics, there WAS lawlessness writ Republican/Neocon. Truly scary stuff.

    But until anyone shows due cause, I’m not buying it on the tit-for-tat backswing.

Comments are closed.