Feminist Multi-Front Battle to End FDA’s Abortion Pill Restriction
by Carrie N. Baker
Feminists have been fighting a defensive battle to protect abortion rights for years—but today some are taking the offense, pushing to expand abortion access by calling for the removal of FDA restriction on the abortion pill mifepristone.
Formerly known as RU-486, mifepristone ends pregnancy by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone, which sustains pregnancy. Used in combination with another drug—misoprostol, which causes contractions to complete an abortion—mifepristone is extremely safe.
Amid Covid-19, a Call for M.D.s to Mail the Abortion Pill
For decades, the consensus has been that F.D.A. regulations require that the abortion pill be obtained in a clinic. But that’s changing.
By Patrick Adams
May 12, 2020
Last fall, months before America’s first outbreak of the coronavirus, Francine Coeytaux and Elisa Wells, co-founders of the abortion rights advocacy group Plan C, were reaching out to doctors with a question they said was urgent:
“Would you be willing to mail the ‘abortion pills’ to women in their homes?”
Self-Managed Abortions May Be More Difficult to Access Right Now—Here’s What You Need to Know
With supply chain disruptions in India due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, medication abortion may be less accessible—an issue compounded by anti-choice state officials trying to ban the procedure and the FDA.
Apr 14, 2020
If you visit aidaccess.org in search of the abortion pill right now, you won’t be able to find what they’re looking for. Aid Access, a website that offers medication abortion pills by mail for people in the United States seeking to self-manage their abortion, has hit a snag in its supply chain, thanks to a halt in trade out of India because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Because of [COVID-19] the government of India have decided to close all international airports to prevent corona virus outbreak and therefor [sic] the pharmacy in India cannot send the medicines until further notice,” reads a disclosure on the Aid Access website’s consultation page.
The Pandemic Means More People May Be Giving Themselves Abortions
But the abortion pill sites people rely on are in jeopardy.
by Marie Solis
Apr 8 2020
The first time H* needed an abortion, she drove about two hours to the nearest clinic and back, waited 48 hours—the required waiting period for anyone in Tennessee seeking an abortion—then went back and paid more than $700 for the procedure. That’s not counting gas money for eight hours of driving, or the wages she lost when she took time off from her hourly job for the appointment.
In March, she learned she was pregnant again, and found herself confronting many of the same barriers to getting an abortion: The clinic was still far away, the procedure was still costly, and she would still have to take off a day or two to account for the waiting period and the drives to and from the clinic.
Self-Managed Abortion Is Medically Very Safe. But Is It Legally Safe?
by Carrie N. Baker
Between 1969 and 1973, feminists in Chicago with no formal medical training formed an underground abortion service called Jane that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions.
Today, as many states increasingly restrict medical professionals’ ability to offer abortion, women are once again finding ways to access safe abortion on their own.
“Stay Home and Have the Baby”
Texas and Ohio have ordered a stop to abortions, saying they’re not essential medical services. Other states will follow. Right-wing forces are using the pandemic as a pretext to crack down dramatically on abortion rights. We can’t let them.
By Jenny Brown
Texas and Ohio have ordered a stop to abortions, saying they’re not essential medical services, while state officials in Mississippi and Maryland are edging that direction. Their coronavirus prevention program is “Stay home and have the baby.”
The states argued that equipment such as masks used for surgical abortions could be used for care of COVID-19 patients. And they claim if anything goes wrong emergency services would be needed, exaggerating the risk of a safe procedure.
Telemedicine Abortion: What It Is and Why We Need It Now More Than Ever
by Carrie N. Baker
Antiabortion politicians in states across the country are using the COVID-19 pandemic to block access to abortion—arguing abortion is not essential health care and supporting limitations in the interest of conserving personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases.
Medical experts, however, are coming to the exact opposite conclusion.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and seven other medical organizations issued a statement last week declaring that abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care and that lack of access may “profoundly impact a person’s life, health and well-being.”
The FDA Could Improve Abortion Access Under Coronavirus But It Won't
Abortion pills have to be picked up in person at a clinic. Advocates say that has to change during the pandemic.
by Christine Grimaldi
Mar 19 2020
When Donald Trump used “two very big words” to declare a national emergency over the novel coronavirus on Friday, he bragged about giving his top health official the “ability to waive laws to enable telehealth” during the pandemic. But it appears that the president’s latitude will not apply to medication abortion care, a federal agency confirmed to VICE.
People who want to end their pregnancies will have to navigate the same restrictions as always, which will become all the more complicated in a pandemic environment.
The Radical Future of Self-Managed Abortion Is Already Here
“I remember one woman who arrived and asked, ‘Is this the clinic?’ And we were like, ‘What clinic?’”
By Amy Littlefield and Laura Gottesdiener
March 4, 2020
Lizy and the woman who helped her to end her pregnancy met at a Starbucks in León, the largest city in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Then a 20-year-old social-work student with curly hair and a heart-shaped face, Lizy, which is a nickname we’ve used to help protect her identity, felt nervous about discussing her pregnancy in such a public place. She was afraid she could be jailed for even considering an abortion, which is a crime in most cases in the heavily Catholic and conservative state. Enrolled in an exchange program in a city where she knew few people, she had no way to make the hours-long trip to Mexico City, the only place where abortion was legal at the time. She and her partner felt hopeless. “We were dying from fear, really, we were two frightened children,” she said later, seated in a park in her home city of Guadalajara. Finally, she had confided in a professor who told her about Rosalía.
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.