The placenta is a human fetal organ that is expelled from the mother’s uterus after birth. Now, Oregon has legalized taking the placenta home for burial or consumption.
Today, an increasing number of women across the country call the placenta lunch, or at least an important nutritional supplement. These new mothers, including “Mad Men” actress January Jones, believe that eating the tissue in pill form, raw or perhaps in a smoothie can help ease postpartum depression.
The problem with what is officially known as “human maternal placentophagy” — beyond the fact that there are no studies proving its medical value — is that guidelines for dealing with the placenta differ from state to state and even from hospital to hospital.
One person’s sacred object is another’s medical waste.
Which is where Oregon state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer comes in.
The Portland Democrat, who has a master’s degree in public health, said she was first approached about the placenta’s possibilities and problems by Dr. Melvin A. Kohn, who was Oregon’s public health director at the time.
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Kohn is married to a midwife, who told him that “there were a lot of women who wanted to take their placentas home from the hospital,” for consumption, burial or other ritual purposes, Keny-Guyer said.
I’m sorry, but I have to ask: Isn’t that cannibalism?