Self-managed abortions should be universally available
March 24, 2020
Sam Rowlands, Visiting Professor, Health and Social Science, Bournemouth University
A combination of feminist advocacy, new drugs and the internet is allowing people to safely end early pregnancies themselves when they choose to do so. People can manage abortions using medicines without face-to-face contact with doctors and nurses.
A service at a distance, supervised by a doctor, was first offered by Women on Web in 2005 for countries with no lawful access to medical abortion. Women Help Women offers similar help to women anywhere in the world. And in the US, Aid Access – a fairly new organisation – offers email support. (In the US, online help is increasingly used because access to abortion clinics has been reduced in the last few years.)
Councillor calls for home abortions as appointments cancelled
A councillor is urging the NHS to allow women to access abortion services from home after appointments began to be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
By Tom Dare | Birmingham | News
Mar 23, 2020
Speaking on behalf of one woman who had her abortion cancelled without an alternative date arranged, Birmingham Councillor Nicky Brennan says that it is a ‘human right’ for women to have access to such services.
And she has been supported in her campaign by Labour MP Jess Philips, who says that she intends to take the issue up with the Health Secretary in the coming days.
Coronavirus Is Endangering Abortion Access. Telemedicine Could Solve it.
Almost 40% of abortions take place in the privacy of one's home. Why must pregnant women to go to the clinic at all?
By Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost US
Imagine you take a cruise in late February. When you get back to the U.S., you start to self-quarantine out of concern that you were exposed to coronavirus on the ship. Then you find out you are pregnant. You do not want to be. What do you do?
If you were in Canada, you could get a doctor to prescribe you what is colloquially known as the “abortion pill,” which you could pick up from your local pharmacy. Using medication abortion, women end their pregnancies by taking a combination of two drugs, usually spaced 24 hours apart, which essentially cause a miscarriage.
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.
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.
How to Give Yourself an Abortion
January 9, 2020
Posted by Arielle Swernoff
Illustrated by Matt Lubchansky
For as long as people have gotten pregnant, people have given themselves abortions. Historically, these methods have varied from the brutal to the toxic to the bizarre.
But history hasn’t always gotten it wrong. From the Bronze Age until the 1st or 2nd century BCE, silphium, a plant native to Libya, was used as a safe and effective contraceptive and abortifacient. It’s said the plant was so popular that it was harvested to extinction. More recently, enslaved black people in the American South devised numerous herbal treatments to terminate unwanted pregnancies, some of which are still used today.