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.
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.
New York Woman Faces Up to Eight Years Behind Bars for Selling Abortion Pills Online
In February, FDA agents showed up at Ursula Wing’s door with an arrest warrant and seized her computer and phones, her daughter’s iPad, boxes of medication abortion pills, and a dozen packages that she was set to mail.
Aug 9, 2019
A New York City woman who sold medication abortion pills to more than 2,000 people over two years has been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. If convicted, she could face up to eight years in prison.
In 2012, the woman, Ursula Wing, posted on her blog the Macrobiotic Stoner about her experience terminating her pregnancy using pills that she had bought online. Four years later, she found herself running a business providing medication abortion pills to customers who needed them, including a teenager who was afraid to tell her parents that she was pregnant, and a woman who hid her abortion from her abusive partner.
A boom in at-home abortions is coming
Advocates say “self-managed abortions” are safe — and in the current political environment, interest is rising.
By Anna North
Jul 9, 2019
After Marie decided to take medication to end her pregnancy, it took several days for the pills to work.
When the uterine contractions started, Marie recalled, she experienced “a lot of bleeding, a lot of pain, a lot of cramps. Just like a bad cycle.” (Marie asked that her last name not be used because of legal concerns.)
The US right’s concern for the foetus doesn’t survive the trip down the birth canal
Women face jail for miscarriage while migrant children are held in unsafe conditions. Hypocrisy is thrown into sharp relief
Mon 1 Jul 2019
In Alabama, a woman who was shot in the stomach five times and lost her pregnancy as a result has been charged with the manslaughter of her foetus. Marshae Jones allegedly instigated a fight that resulted in the shooting, and, thus, according to a local police source, the “only true victim” was the “unborn baby”. Lieutenant Danny Reid further explained that the foetus is “dependent on its mother to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations”.
If Jones can be tried for manslaughter, what other types of pregnancy loss can be treated as serious crimes? If a pregnant woman is hit by a car while jaywalking, is this manslaughter? How about if – despite knowing of the tiny risk – she chooses to eat soft blue cheese and miscarries due to listeria? What if she changes the cat litter and contracts toxoplasmosis?
Roe v. Wade is at risk, but abortion rights groups see surprising opportunities for gains
The Kavanaugh confirmation battle has Americans ready to fight for abortion access, advocates say.
By Anna North
Jan 22, 2019
The most surprising thing about the abortion rights movement in 2019 is the optimism.
The potential deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade sits on the Supreme Court. A wave of strict anti-abortion laws are passing in states from Ohio to Mississippi. In the midst of a government shutdown, Republicans in Congress put forth a bill to shore up restrictions on federal funding for abortions (it failed).
Self-Induced Abortion’s Risks Could Leave Immigrant Women Choiceless
"Imagine being undocumented and considering self-managed abortion in this environment."
Jan 17, 20194
With the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court now has the votes it needs to completely undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case legalizing abortion that turns 46 next week. In response to the likelihood of Roe’s demise, reproductive rights advocates have mounted campaigns raising awareness of the safe and effective use of the drug misoprostol as an option for those who want to self-manage the termination of their pregnancy at home. Self-managed abortion can be an ideal option for immigrant women currently in the crosshairs of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-choice administration, but the risk of imprisonment is especially high for low-income women of color who obtain the medication through illegal means.
What Back Alley? These Women Say DIY Abortion Can Be Empowering
The pro-choice movement has portrayed non-clinic abortion as a last resort. But some women are trying to change that image.
The image provokes both fear and fury: a wire coat hanger, spattered with blood, symbolizing the drastic measures women may take when abortion access is limited.
Whoopi Goldberg brandished one on stage at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, urging the younger generation to remember what their forebears used. Protesters at the 1989 March for Women's Equality carried a giant replica, stained red, through the streets of Washington D.C. like a macabre parade float. And the symbol has been ubiquitous since Donald Trump’s election, popping up at marches, in the pages of glossy magazines, and on this site.
The imagery makes Jill Adams, founder of the Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team, shake her head.
More and more laws are treating a fetus as a person, and a woman as less of one, as states charge pregnant women with crimes...
A Woman’s Rights
By The Editorial Board
Photographs by Damon Winter
DEC. 28, 2018
You might be surprised to learn that in the United States a woman coping with the heartbreak of losing her pregnancy might also find herself facing jail time. Say she got in a car accident in New York or gave birth to a stillborn in Indiana: In such cases, women have been charged with manslaughter.
In fact, a fetus need not die for the state to charge a pregnant woman with a crime. Women who fell down the stairs, who ate a poppy seed bagel and failed a drug test or who took legal drugs during pregnancy — drugs prescribed by their doctors — all have been accused of endangering their children.
Everything You Need To Know About Self-Managed Abortion
Nov 28, 2018
The coat hanger is a symbol of an era before Roe vs. Wade, when abortion was illegal and people tried managing it with the only means they knew: a straightened coat hanger used to dangerously induce a termination that would often result in hemorrhage, and sometimes death. While outdated, the symbol of the coat hanger is a persistent reminder that when abortion is illegal or out of reach, people will find other means to terminate their pregnancies. Today people have safer means of self-managing abortion.
Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states in the United States in 1973, but it didn’t give everyone an unfettered right to access it, either without burden or significant obstacles