The following is for mature readers only.

My jaw dropped in disbelief the other day when I read this post on one of the most famous colas in the world (emphases in the original):

Thought of as a soft drink. Strong enough to kill.

Yes. One 12 oz oca Cola [sic] is all it takes to end a human life. Many women when late try to end their pregnancy, in poor countries, and over a period of time, they’ve worked out the best way to do it.

All they need is a 12 oz bottle of Coca Cola. This they boil for fifteen minutes. Then they leave it out in the midday sun from morning til afternoon.

This must do something to alter the chemical composition, because that alone, when drunk, can be fully effective to cause an abortion. They only add headache pills to beef up the solution, and whack, the pregnancy’s over. It works in about half of cases, my partner assures me. Her friends have used it successfully.

What chemicals are there inside Coca Cola which achieves this outcome, I wonder?

Another report says that a metal coin left in Coca Cola for a week will dissolve into the liquid. You put an egg in Coca Cola and the shell disappears.

What’s in that drink, for God’s sake?

It attracted two anonymous comments asking for more information. Another person mentioned the douche method from the 1950s and 1960s, which I’ll get to below.

First, however, let’s look at the issue of the pointed accusation at the world’s top cola drink manufacturer. Would the world’s other leading brand work as well? What about other brands of cola? Surely, they contain nearly the same ingredients. What about non-cola drinks?

Furthermore, once the cola is combined with headache pills, then it is no longer cola as originally manufactured.

One might as well ask what is in the headache pillnote, the brand was unspecifiedthat acts as a possible abortifacient.

And no one has speculated on the effect of hot sunshine, boiling and how combining a soft drink with headache pills under those conditions produces a halfway-reasonable abortion method.

One thing is clear: the substances will have all been altered either by heat or by combining one with the other. Neither colas nor headache pills can produce the effect as they are, if such an effect really exists.

I searched the Internet and could find nothing to support this method, which I can only conclude must be purely anecdotal with a 50% success rate.

Ladies — do not expect this method to work. Men — think a little bit about the above questions before advising people not to drink a particular brand of cola.

Now to the original Coca-Cola abortion myth.

Nearly 60 years ago, a story developed saying that douching with Coca-Cola would produce a home abortion. This was common currency until sometime in the 1960s. The origins of the story are unclear.

However, anyone — man or woman — who has paid attention in high school biology class will know instinctively and logically that this is anatomically impossible.

Let’s explore myth and reality further.

How was the method meant to work?

From Urban Dictionary:

The practice of rinsing the vaginal vault with a carbonated beverage, such as a cola drink. The can or bottle is usually agitated vigorously post coitus, and the ensuing spray is directed towards the vaginal opening. In the 1950s, prior to availability of the oral contraceptive pill, this was considered a form of birth control, and Coca cola was thought to have some spermicidal properties. Referred to in the song “Coca Cola Douche” by 60s New York band, The Fugs.

Snopes says that Dr Pepper was also used. The carbonic acid in the shaken bottle of the soft drink was thought to act as a spermicide and that the sugar would ‘explode’ sperm cells. They cite studies which have tested for spermicidal properties in Coca-Cola; the initial positive results by Harvard University researchers in 1985 could not be replicated by other teams around the world. A Taiwanese group concluded that ‘cola has little if any spermicidal effect’. The same holds true for Pepsi-Cola. Nigeria’s Krest Bitter Lemon, studied in 1992, seemed to work the best; researchers attributed this to the lemon — an alkaline (not acid) property — in the drink. It is unclear whether further research on Krest was done. Note that the researchers experimented with the soft drinks on sperm in vitro — in glass — so, using test tubes. It is highly unlikely that Krest would work as a post-coital douche.

Why doesn’t it work?

Sexologist Dr Ruth Westheimer, writing for Dummies.com, explodes the myths about pregnancy. This is worthwhile reading, especially as I have known a few young women who were caught out by the first time, standing up and withdrawal myths.

Dr Ruth says:

Douching is useless both for hygiene and birth control purposes. If you’ve heard that douching — with vinegar, Coca-Cola, commercial douches, or anything else — prevents pregnancy, don’t believe it. By the time you finish with intercourse and douche, many sperm have already begun their trip toward the egg and are beyond your ability to flush them out.

The sugar may also give the user a yeast infection.

It amazes me that the following even needs saying in the 21st century, but …

Drinking soft drinks or douching with them to induce an abortion will not work.

What about Coca-Cola’s ability to clean pennies?

This will work with any soft drink, not just Coca-Cola.

From Wiki Answers:

Simply put, coke is acidic on the pH scale. If you don’t remember what the pH scale is, it is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Coke is about 3 on the pH scale, making it decently acidic (just so u have a comparison distilled water is 7 on the pH scale which is neutral). In short acid eats away at metals while alkaline eats away at protein. So when calcium and zinc build up on your penny soaking it in coke will eat away at the metals built up, leaving it nice and shiny.

Side note: alkaline pH substances eat away at proteins so that’s why we use high alkaline products to clean our sinks and toilets.

The same is true of Sprite, which has citric acid. Coca-Cola does not.

Bottom line: carbonated soft drinks are acidic. Soft drink acids target metals, not humans.

Now let’s stop the nonsense about carbonated drinks.

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