Coronavirus pandemic is fueling efforts to increase access to abortion pills
Marie McCullough - The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
May 29, 2020
The pandemic is helping U.S. abortion-rights advocates achieve a long-standing goal: Make it easier for women to use pills to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks.
Federal and state regulations have restricted access to “medication abortion” ever since the Food and Drug Administration approved it two decades ago. Nonetheless, use of the two-drug regimen has grown steadily, accounting for at least 40% of all abortions, even as the national abortion rate has fallen to historic lows, data show.
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.
EXPERT VIEWS: How coronavirus is affecting abortion access
What experts from sexual health organisations and rights groups are saying about how COVID-19 is affecting sexual healthcare - and what should be done about it
by Sonia Elks | @SoniaElks | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Sunday, 5 April 2020
Women from Nepal to the United States are struggling to get abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak as lockdowns and medical shortages create barriers to care.
Sexual health organisations and women's rights groups have called on authorities to recognise access to abortion as a human right that must be protected during the pandemic.
“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.
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.
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.
Self-Managed Abortion May Be On The Rise, But Probably Not A Significant Driver Of The Overall Decline In Abortion
Rachel K. Jones,Guttmacher Institute
Megan K. Donovan,Guttmacher Institute
First published on Health Affairs Blog: November 7, 2019
The U.S. abortion landscape is changing rapidly. Large swaths of the country are enacting ever more extreme abortion restrictions, while a number of states are racing to protect or even expand access. In 2020, the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will consider its first major abortion rights case since Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed, and additional cases are at the Court’s doorstep. And all the while, the U.S. abortion rate continues to decline: According to a September report from the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate has reached a record low, with concurrent declines in birthrates suggesting that fewer people are becoming pregnant in the first place.
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.
European Doctor Who Prescribes Abortion Pills to U.S. Women Online Sues FDA
September 9, 2019
A European doctor who prescribes abortion pills to American women over the Internet is suing the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to continue providing the medications to patients in the United States.
The lawsuit being filed Monday in federal court in Idaho names several federal officials, including U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.