Story: Contraception and sterilisation

Woman's unfailing friends

Woman's unfailing friends

These pills, advertised in rather oblique language, were used by women to attempt to abort a pregnancy. Sold at pharmacies, they were mainly powdered capsicum coated in sugar and chalk. The claimed active ingredients were oil of pennyroyal and iron sulfate. Pills such as these had no medical basis, but desperate women tried many different chemicals in their attempts to induce abortions.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Evening Post, 12 August 1903, p. 2

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Jane Tolerton, 'Contraception and sterilisation - Early 20th-century methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Jane Tolerton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 7 Dec 2018