What to Know About Giving Yourself an Abortion
Ending a pregnancy on your own means using pills—not coat hangers.
by Marie Solis
Feb 17 2020
Abortions happened before it was legal to get one, and, should it ever become illegal again, they will happen then too—many of them outside of clinics, without direct medical supervision.
But doing your own abortion in 2020 looks a lot different than it did pre- Roe v. Wade. People who self-induced abortions in the decades before the landmark Supreme Court ruling sometimes resorted to drinking toxic chemicals, throwing themselves down the stairs, or using crude instruments like knitting needles or a coat hanger, the latter of which has become a universal symbol of the life-threatening consequences of restricting people’s access to abortion care. The hanger may still function as a powerful image, but it’s no longer accurate when it comes to representing what it means to self-induce an abortion: Self-inducing or self-managing an abortion is now synonymous with taking pills, a safe and effective method of ending a pregnancy.
Women On Web Making Self-Managed Safe Abortion Accessible
By Nivedita Jayakumar
February 5, 2020
Legal abortion means that the law recognizes a woman as a person. It says that she belongs to herself. But in most countries, women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions is restricted. Even places where abortion is permitted by law, women often have severely limited access to safe abortion services because of the stigma attached to it, the lack of proper regulation, health services, or political will. There are seven legal grounds on which abortion is permitted—to save a woman’s life, to preserve a woman’s physical health, to preserve a woman’s mental health, rape or incest, foetal impairment, socio-economic factors and on request. According to a report by Women on Waves, approximately 25% of the world’s population lives in countries with ‘highly restrictive abortion laws’—that is, laws which either completely ban abortion, or allow it only to save the mother’s life. And, performing abortion on a woman’s request is allowed only in 30% of countries. To bridge the gap between the 30% and the rest of the world, the online service Women on Web makes safe abortion accessible to every women around the world.
Abortion advice should be as safe as abortion itself
By Tracey Allyson Wilkinson
January 31, 2020
It’s completely reasonable for people to disagree about the morality of abortion. It’s completely unreasonable — and unethical — for medical professionals and those masquerading as them to give potentially life-endangering misinformation about it.
Abortion by medication has been available in the United States since 2000, when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The regimen consists of two pills taken 24 to 48 hours apart. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone, which is required for pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, causes the uterus to empty. This two-pill approach is currently used in 39% of all abortions in the U.S., a proportion that has been increasing over time.
Reproductive choices can overcome sale of illegal abortion pills
December 29, 2019
It is disheartening to note that the sale of illegal abortion pills online is proliferating. Clearly, it reflects the increasing desperate attempts by women and girls in resolving their crisis when faced with unplanned pregnancies.
While the health ministry has been clamping down on such sales, we are concerned that it may be ineffective as these sales are conducted through various platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and WeChat that appear and disappear as fast as a flash.
Everything You Need to Know About the Abortion Pill
By Rose Minutaglio
Nov 22, 2019
For Nicole, taking the abortion pill was like getting through "an extremely painful poop." It hurt, a lot, and then it was done. She was bartending at the time, lightyears away from thinking about motherhood, and decided on medication abortion. At $585, it was cheaper than a surgical abortion. Plus, Nicole wanted do it in the privacy of her own home. Two pills, four days, and several pairs of bloody underwear later ("it was basically like an extra heavy period for a week," she says), she went back to work at the bar.
Medication abortion or the "abortion pill" is a legal way to end a pregnancy—one that women like Nicole increasingly prefer over surgical abortion for a variety of reasons. It now accounts for more than one-third of all clinic abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Abortion After the Clinic
As Republican lawmakers try to legislate it out of existence, the future of reproductive healthcare may be at home.
By Irin Carmon
Nov 11, 2019
When Leana Wen introduced herself to America as the new president of Planned Parenthood last fall, she had a story she liked to tell — one that showed exactly why abortion access mattered. It was a sad tale of “a young woman lying on a stretcher, pulseless and unresponsive, because of a home abortion.” Wen, an emergency physician who had been plucked from Baltimore’s Health Department to take over the century-old institution, said the young woman had arrived at her ER in “a pool of blood” because “she didn’t have access to health care, so she had her cousin attempt an abortion on her at home. We did everything we could to resuscitate her, but she died.”
Wen was talking about a time when abortion was technically legal, yet the story rhymed with the pre-Roe era, when doctors and lawyers spoke of being radicalized by women filling their wards with blood and desperation, the same nightmare the familiar pro-choice rhetoric warns will soon be upon us. Behind the scenes, however, a vanguard of the abortion-rights movement implored Wen, directly and through intermediaries, to stop talking about “home abortion” in such dire terms.
More People Are Starting to Prefer Managing Their Abortions on Their Own
And it's not just because of restrictive state laws.
by Marie Solis
Oct 17 2019
People are turning to at-home abortion as state lawmakers attack reproductive rights and restrict clinic access across the United States, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday.
The findings are the result of a 10-month study of Women on Web, a website that prescribes and sells abortion pills abroad — not in the United States. But despite that caveat, the Netherlands-based doctor who runs the site, Rebecca Gomperts, says she has received requests from American women since she began operations in 2006.
Why America’s Abortion Rate Might Be Higher Than It Appears
Evidence suggests more American women are “self-managing” their abortions.
By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
Sept. 20, 2019
The number of abortions performed in American clinics was lower in 2017 than in any year since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973, new data showed this week. But that does not count a growing number of women who are managing their abortions themselves, without going to a medical office — often by buying pills illicitly.
These “invisible” abortions are hard to measure, so it’s unclear how much higher the true abortion rate is. But researchers say self-managed abortions have risen as abortion has become more restricted in certain states, and as more people have learned that effective pills can be ordered online or purchased across the border.
Almost 40 Percent of Abortions Are Now Done With Pills
Experts say the number would be even higher if the FDA loosened its restrictions on medication abortion.
by Marie Solis
Sep 19 2019
While the overall abortion rate in the U.S. has hit a record low since the procedure was legalized in 1973 under Roe v. Wade, the rate of people choosing medication abortion to end pregnancies is on the rise, according to new findings from Guttmacher Institute.
Medication abortion is a method of abortion that involves taking the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to induce what is effectively a miscarriage. The method became available in the United States in 2000, when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, and has dramatically increased in use since: Whereas in 2004, medication abortions made up just 14 percent of all abortions in the U.S., by 2015 that number rose to almost 25 percent. Now Guttmacher reports that the share of medication abortions in 2017 was 39 percent of the total, or almost two in five.
With Abortion Restrictions On The Rise, Some Women Induce Their Own
September 19, 2019
When Arlen found out she was pregnant this year, she was still finishing college and knew she didn't want a child.
There's a clinic near her home, but Arlen faced other obstacles to getting an abortion.
"I started researching about prices, and I was like, 'Well, I don't have $500,' " said Arlen, who is in her 20s and lives in El Paso, Texas. We're not using her full name to protect her privacy.