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July 29, 1974

Menstrual Extraction

JAMA. 1974;229(5):518-519. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430012003

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To the Editor.—  Menstrual extraction is not an invention of women's groups, nor was it created solely to evade laws that outlawed abortion. The earliest reference in Western medical literature is Bykov's 1927 suggestion that disturbing the endometrium once a month, a week before the expected menses, was an excellent form of birth control. Geoffrey Davis, MD, in his recently published book, Sexual Interception, traces the concept and practice to at least ancient Greece. Menstrual extraction as discussed by Hodgson was made possible in the 1960s after the development of the soft, flexible, plastic cannula by Karman.Dr. Karman did not develop the cannula in a vacuum. The cannula was part of an integrated procedure to eliminate "instrument-related" complications. By eliminating the need for metal instruments, uterine sound, metal dilators, and metal curettes, the complications associated with the use of those instruments was also eliminated. Dr. Hodgson, in reporting on