Letter: ‘As the Republicans go through their tiresome abortion ritual …’

Apollonia by day kept the doctor away

As the Republicans go through their tiresome abortion ritual, an interesting historical reality deserves to be noted. The Roman port of Apollonia in North Africa was renowned for one item of trade: an abortive herb called silphium. The lucrativeness of this trade led to an over-harvesting of the plant, and too soon this herb became extinct, and Apollonia fell into decay. Present-day scientists have no clear understanding of silphium’s genetic makeup, yet the ancients knew to treasure its medicinal qualities. Too bad we moderns cannot share in this largesse from nature, and instead we must witness so-called “moderns” acting on primitive attitudes, to restrict a woman’s right to choose. Those ancient Romans certainly had a better concept, although their herbal cultivation/harvesting technique didn’t quite measure up.

Hobart Bartshire, Fairfax

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