“If there were safe, effective herbal methods [for abortion], people would be using them. We would be telling people.” one doctor said.
The Dangers of Herbal Abortion
Doctors are working to debunk misinformation spreading on TikTok suggesting that those without access to abortion should use a series of herbal remedies.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, many online have scrambled to find resources to help those who live in states with abortion bans. In some cases, many have turned to medical misinformation that could pose serious health risks to people seeking to terminate pregnancies.
Many posted TikToks promoting herbal abortion and abortion teas, citing herbs like pennyroyal, blue cohosh, and mugwort as effective abortifacients. According to TikTok’s Discover tab, videos related to herbal abortion have racked up over 756 million views.
This trend quickly alarmed doctors and medical professionals who were concerned it could lead people down a dangerous path.
“PLEASE DO NOT TAKE PENNYROYAL AS AN HERBAL ABORTION,” Dr. Josh Trebach, a toxicologist and emergency room doctor, tweeted in a thread.
“No herbs/plants are safer+more effective than MISOPROSTOL,” he added, referring to a clinically proven abortion pill.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Trebach explained that pennyroyal contains an agent that forms toxins in the body and can cause liver necrosis, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures, liver failure, and death. Blue cohosh is similarly dangerous.
Dr. Ryan Marino shared a parallel thread warning that there “is no safe amount of pennyroyal that humans can consume.”
“Even at low doses that might not send you to the hospital, there is risk of long term health complications,” Marino explained. “There is no evidence it can induce abortion or provide any benefit. It can only harm.”
The Spread of Medical Misinformation
A representative for TikTok told Bloomberg it had removed numerous posts touting these herbs as they violated the platform’s guidelines against promoting dangerous acts that could result in injury or death.
Several outlets highlighted a slew of these videos that were among the clips that have been taken down. However, as of Wednesday morning, a search for phrases like “herbal abortions” and “abortion teas” still solicited a handful of videos advertising these concepts, racking up thousands of views.
Many of the videos under those topics aim to debunk the claims, but experts are still concerned by the potential further spread of this misinformation. Some turned directly to TikTok to combat the false solutions.
“There are no safe or effective herbs or botanicals to cause an abortion,” Dr. Jen Gunter said in a video. “People might be spreading this with good intention, but they’re wrong, okay. They’re incorrect.
“If there were safe, effective herbal methods, people would be using them,” she continued. “We would be telling people. I would have no reason to keep that information from you.”
In a detailed substack article, Gunter explained that suggesting someone take these herbs is no better than recommending they consume poison.
“Many herbal abortifacients are quite literally poisons, so abortion may be a by-product of the poisoning,” Gunter wrote, explaining that at worse, these methods “can cause serious harm and death.”
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Gizmodo) (Bloomberg)
Shane Dawson Says Cancellation Felt Planned By The Universe
The YouTuber said that by being forced to take a digital break, he had a chance to step back and “see what the bigger purpose is.”
Dawson Speaks Out
Two years after facing intense backlash online, YouTuber Shane Dawson said he found a positive side to being “canceled.”
In the summer of 2020, Dawson faced intense scrutiny after people resurfaced his old controversial videos where he wore blackface, made racist jokes, and said inappropriate remarks about children. He lost a slew of subscribers as a result and stepped away from YouTube for over a year following the scandal.
Dawson has since returned to posting, sharing long-form content every few months on his channel to millions of viewers, though his audience is not nearly as large as it was before the backlash. He also started a podcast earlier this year.
While speaking on Perez Hilton’s podcast this week, Dawson said his cancellation actually came at a time when he needed to rethink his life online.
“I really think the universe and God, or whatever, really planned it this way because I was at a point before I got canceled where I didn’t wanna be around anymore,” Dawson said. “I was so burnt out.”
“Wait, you were so burnt out that you were depressed and suicidal?” Hilton followed up. “Just from overworking?”
“Well it wasn’t just from overworking,” Dawson added. “It was, well, I’m a workaholic.”
Cancelation “Felt Very Designed”
Dawson went on to explain that being a workaholic opened the doors for other issues, like fearing he will lose his success, getting stressed about his online reputation, worrying about spending enough time with family, and negative thoughts about his body image. As all this started to take a toll on him, he started therapy. Not long after, he started dealing with his 2020 controversies.
“Oddly enough, two months after I started therapy, maybe even sooner, I got canceled,” Dawson said. “And it was like, ‘oh.’ That felt very designed to me, by something.”
“Because I was like, okay, she’s learning about everything, all my issues, all this, all that, and my biggest fear is being canceled again and it happened,” he continued. “So now I can see what the bigger purpose is.”
Now he says he is grateful to be at a point where he is not constantly worried about making content and pleasing people. Dawson said that earlier in his career, his need to be liked was so severe that he would message people who said negative things about him online in an effort to change their minds.
“It’s always that thing where like, I want people that hate me to like me. Which is toxic,” Dawson explained. “Like a hater would say something, and I’ll DM them, this is something I’d do years ago, I’d DM them and talk to them and then, ‘oh, they like me now!’ It was dark.”
Monica Lewinsky Asks Beyoncé to Change “Partition” Lyric Amid “Renaissance” Edits
The 2013 song includes the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Monica Lewinsky’s Request
Monica Lewinsky suggested that Beyoncé remove a lyric from her 2013 song “Partition” that references the infamous scandal involving the former White House intern and then-President Bill Clinton.
The request came as Beyoncé’s representatives confirmed she would be removing an ableist lyric from a track off her latest album “Renaissance.” The song “Heated” used the word “spaz,” which many disability advocates have condemned as an offensive slur.
Earlier this year, Lizzo removed the same word from her song “Grrrls” after facing backlash. On Monday, a spokesperson for Beyoncé said that while the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful way,” it “will be replaced.”
Lewinsky shared that news Monday on Twitter and added, “uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition.”
In “Partition,” the Grammy winner sings the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Response From the Beyhive
The Beyhive was quick to call Lewinsky out for her plea, arguing that the song has been out for nearly a decade and she could have brought her complaint up sooner. Some said she was in no place to be upset with the lyric as she has the phrase “rap song muse” in her Twitter bio.
Lewinsky issued replies to many of these complaints on Tuesday, saying this is not the first time she publicly addressed “Partition,” and the numerous other songs referencing her. Regarding her Twitter bio, she said she uses humor to cope with the public scandal.
When people continued to accuse her of singling out Beyoncé when there are dozens of artists who have written similar lyrics, Lewinsky said, “when articles about the 125+ other artists changing lyrics to a song cross my TL, i promise i’ll do the same.”
Lewinsky’s request prompted frustration from people who felt that by changing the ableist lyric in “Heated,” Beyoncé inadvertently opened a door for people to pressure her into tweaking other songs.
“Heated” is not the only track off of “Renaissance” that has had to return to the cutting room since the album’s release. Beyoncé also removed an interpolation of the Kelis song “Milkshake” after Kelis spoke out against its use and called it “theft.”
Neither Beyoncé nor her team has publicly responded to Lewinksy. In a tweet, Lewinsky said she had not privately reached out to the singer to sort the issue behind closed doors.
See what others are saying: (People) (Entertainment Weekly) (USA Today)
Chris Rock Addresses Oscars Slap After Will Smith’s Apology Video
In his latest statement, Smith said his “behavior was unacceptable.”
Chris Rock Talks Oscars
Just hours after Will Smith posted an apology video regarding the infamous Oscars slap, Chris Rock addressed the incident during a show in Atlanta.
“Everybody is trying to be a fucking victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims,” Rock said during a Friday show, via People. “Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith … I went to work the next day, I got kids.” (Rock’s “Suge Smith” joke was likely a reference to Suge Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records who is currently in jail over a deadly hit and run.)
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian reportedly continued.
Rock has been sprinkling remarks about the slap into some of his recent sets over the last couple of weeks.
The controversy unfolded during the 94th Academy Awards when Rock was presenting the statue for Best Documentary. He made a quip about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith then walked onto the stage and slapped Rock. Upon returning to his seat, he shouted, “leave my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.” Less than one hour later, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard.”
Within the following days, Smith issued an apology and resigned from the Academy. The organization also banned the actor from attending any of its events for the next decade.
Will Smith Posts Apology
Smith has held a low profile since the Oscars, but made a return to the public eye on Friday by posting a YouTube video titled “It’s been a minute…” Smith claimed he has reached out to Rock, but the stand-up star said he is not ready to talk it out just yet.
“I apologize to you,” Smith said in the video. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actor continued. “There is no part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family, as well as his own, for dragging them into controversy and hurting them with his actions.
Smith also clarified that Pinkett Smith had no influence over his decision to slap Rock on stage.
“I made a choice on my own,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it.”