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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEANS  TO  INDUCE  CRIMINAL MISCARRIAGE                            335

advanced beyond the stage of quickening and where death is caused after
the quickening and before the birth of the child. A person would be guilty
of culpable homicide, if he caused the death of a pregnant woman by an act
which he knew that it was likely to cause her death. If his act injured the
woman and did not cause her death, but caused the death of her unborn
quick child he would be guilty of the offence defined under this section.


The means adopted to induce criminal miscarriage are—

A.    The internal^ge=2|_drugs.

B.    Mechanical violence.

A.   The Internal Use of Drugs.—There are practically no drugs which,

when administered by the mouth, act on the healthy uterus, and expel its
contents, unless they are given in very large doses so as to have deleterious
effects on the woman herself.

The drugs that are generally administered for this purpose may be
classified as—

1.    Those acting directly_onJ!,.tLe uteras.

2.    Those acting reflexly through the genito-urinarv channe^

3.    Those acting reflexly through the gastro-intestinal canal.

4.    Those having poisonous effects on the system generally.

1.    Those acting ^directly on the Uterus.—These are ecbolics and em-
menagogues.   Ecbolics increase the uterine contractions; the chief of these
are ergot, quinine,  cotton root bark and pituitary extract.   Ergot is the
most commonly used drug for procuring criminal miscarriage.   It acts as a
true ecbolic, and produces powerful uterine contractions, but acts better
if administered when the uterus is contracting.   It,  however,  frequently
fails during the earlier months of pregnancy.    Quinine produces contrae-
tions of the uterus, acting directly on the muscular tibres and is commonly
used as an abortifacient amongst certain classes.   The cotton root bark or
gossypium is supposed to resemble ergot in its action.   Pituitary extract
which   causes   powerful   contraction   of   the   uterus   has   sometimes   been
employed to procure abortion.

Emmenagogues promote the menstrual flow, but do not act as aborti-
facients unless administered in large and frequently repeated doses. The
chief of these, most frequently used criminally, is savin in the form of oil
of jjavin,or a decoction or infusion of its leaves. Ife abortifacient action is
doubtful. It often causes death from gastro-intestinal irritation. Borax is
also frequently used, but it is very doubtful in its action. Apiol is used as
an abortifacient, but it produces toxic polyneuritis due to the presence in it
of tricresyl phosphate.

(Estrogenic substances are used as emmenagogues, but they do not
seem to have an abortifacient effect, unless administered in very large doses,
which are likely to produce toxic symptoms.

2.    Those acting reflexly through tiie Genito-tirinary Channel—Oil of

pennyroyal, oil of tansy, and oil of turpentine are sometimes used to induce
abortion. They act as irritants to the gemto-raiaary channel and refiexly;
excite uterine contractions. In l^rge doses they may cause severe
mation of the kidneys and ma^? produce albuminuria, haemat
supinression of urine and may even cause death.

Diuretics in large doses may be used, but they are
generally fail in their action.                                               ;