The History of Abortifacients
The peacock flower (or flos pavonis) is an arresting plant, standing nine feet tall in full bloom, with brilliant red and yellow blossoms. But it’s more than beautiful; it’s an abortifacient, too. One of the most striking records of the plant comes from German-born botanical illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian who, in her 1705 book Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam, recounts:
An absolutely fascinating article on the medieval and early modern access to abortifacients, and the erosion of reproductive freedoms for women over the past two hundred years. Well worth a read.