When abortion was illegal in the United States, even the many abortions performed properly by skilled physicians were not reported. Women without funds for a safe illegal abortion often committed desperate acts. Restrictions on legal abortion, including prohibition of public funding for the procedure, have produced some of the same results. Women have inserted harmful and even lethal substances such as lye into their vaginas in the mistaken belief that it will cause an abortion. Long knitting needles have been inserted into the uterus and moved around enough to cause an abortion. While this can cause an abortion, penetration of the uterine wall or other organs can occur and be fatal.


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