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.”
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.
There's a New Website That Teaches People How to Do Abortions
A series of how-to videos shows providers how to do abortions with pills. But they can also help people who want to do it themselves.
by Marie Solis
Jan 28 2020
In the same amount of time it takes you to boil an egg, or answer an email, a new online video will show you how to end a pregnancy with pills.
Animated figures, accompanied by voice-over narration, take viewers through the process step by step: When to take the mifepristone, the first part of the two-part drug regimen for medication abortion; how long after that to take the misoprostol, how to place those pills under the tongue; and when to expect the cramping and bleeding, which signal that the passing of the pregnancy has begun. The 11-minute video also provides instructions on how to relieve pain or discomfort, and when to seek medical help. At the very beginning, it tells viewers how safe and effective this abortion method is, and how low the rate of complication.
There's a Better Way to Talk About Abortion
People still use medically inaccurate and stigmatizing terms to talk about abortion. You can help change that.
by Marie Solis
Jan 22 2020
Illustrations by Cathryn Virginia
For decades, conservative politicians and activists have dictated the rhetoric around abortion, and for that reason many of the words we use to talk about the procedure are medically inaccurate, emotionally charged, and suffused with stigma. And that includes even the most basic terms we use to describe the debate over abortion rights: The anti-abortion camp has long described itself as “pro-life” instead, monopolizing a powerful word that advocates say clouds their real intention—to ban abortion. The word “choice,” some say, is an imprecise one as well, creating the impression that one’s ability to get an abortion is simply a matter of choosing to do so, when in fact there are many systematic obstacles in the way that keep people from accessing the procedure.
Activists Are Now Teaching Women How to Have Abortions at Home
“So long as we have a safe option that can be accomplished outside of a clinical or medical setting, there’s no reason that shouldn’t also be available.”
by Carter Sherman
Jan 22 2020
COLUMBIA, Missouri — In the Columbia Public Library, just past a room where a Bible study was wrapping up, a group of people gathered in a conference room to learn how to have an abortion at home.
What happens when you self-induce an abortion? one woman asked the panelists, who sat at a table in the front of the room.
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.
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.