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.
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.
How to Make Abortion Great Again
Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union, and in practice, it's all but banned. But four women, nicknamed the "Abortion Dream Team," are pushing back, holding workshops around the country teaching women how to obtain and self-manage a medical abortion. With Roe v. Wade at risk of being overturned in the U.S., is their story a cautionary tale, or a possible roadmap for American women?
By Anna Louie Sussman
Nov 4, 2019
On a rainy day in May, in the Polish coastal city of Gdańsk, in a high-ceilinged room on the second floor of an unremarkable building, 16 women and five men sat in mismatched office chairs around a long table, waiting to learn how to administer a medical abortion. Before the workshop began in earnest, one of the speakers, Karolina Więckiewicz, turned to a bald, bearded man on her left, whose papers spread out in front of him suggested he might be from a prosecutor’s office, and asked him to stop recording.
The states with the most online requests for abortion medications
By Jen Christensen, CNN
Thu October 17, 2019
(CNN) Women who live in states with strict and punitive abortion laws account for the majority of requests made to a website that supplies abortion medications, a new study has found.
The website, Women on Web (WoW), has been run by an international non-profit since 2006 and provides abortion medications -- under doctor supervision -- to women who have submitted medical paperwork prior to 10 weeks of gestation.
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.
Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws. This German NGO has a solution
Group members offer up their couches, help with translating and accompany the women to hospital, writes Dylan Brethour
Sep 8, 2019
Across the globe, the rise of right-wing parties has stirred up the fight over abortion.
In Poland, which has some of the most restrictive laws in Europe, women can only get an abortion in cases of rape or incest, when the pregnancy poses a serious threat to a woman’s health, or when there is a severe foetal abnormality.
Prosecution of Unauthorized Abortion Pill Websites Begins
Ursula Wing sold abortion drugs to U.S. customers and is now charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
The first wave of prosecutions of abortion pill sellers is upon us. A federal court last week arraigned pill purveyor Ursula Wing on charges of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Wing, who lives in New York, is accused of running a website that sold foreign-sourced pharmaceuticals to U.S. customers. The drugs Wing supposedly sold—mifepristone and misoprostol—can be taken in a two-step process to induce an abortion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved this pill regimen for prescription use, under the brand name Mifeprex.
Activist Rebecca Gomperts Is Reshaping Last-Ditch Abortion Care
by Greta Moran
Published on July 9, 2019
Abortions are as inevitable as the sun rising. Every year, around 56 million people around the world induce their own abortions, but this doesn’t need to come in the form of a “back-alley” abortion. Dutch activist and doctor Rebecca Gomperts has made it her life’s work to ensure the abortion pill is accessible—even in places where it is outlawed. She describes her work as a form of harm reduction: using medication to induce abortion is the safest alternative to fully legal abortion. So making this method available (and raising awareness of it) mitigates the consequences of harsh laws that criminalize or limit access to abortion. Gompert’s work reduces the potential of self-induced abortion causing harm or a person having to unwillingly carry a pregnancy to term.
Doctors and Major Reproductive Health Organizations Just Took a Decisive Stand in Support of Self-Managed Abortion
In the spring of 2018, the Austria-based organization Aid Access started providing the two drugs needed for a medication-induced abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol, by mail to people in the United States. Its founder, a Dutch physician named Rebecca Gomperts—whose other organizations Women on Web and Women on Waves have worked to make abortion pills available online and by sea for years—estimates that Aid Access has fulfilled requests from 600 U.S.-based women in the span of six months, despite having virtually no public rollout. But in March of this year, the Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Aid Access, along with an online pharmacy named Rablon, ordering both services to stop the sale of mifepristone and misoprostol—despite the fact that, when used as directed, the drugs are proven to be safe and effective. That hasn’t stopped Gomperts.
FDA Restrictions On Abortion Pills Need To Go, According To Dozens Of Doctors & Advocates
By Madhuri Sathish
July 1, 2019
Last year, a doctor who performs remote, online consultations for pregnant people seeking abortions in other countries launched a new service called Aid Access, to ship abortion pills to Americans. Several months later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Aid Access to stop supplying abortion pills to Americans, prompting reproductive rights advocates to write an open letter arguing that FDA restrictions on abortion pills need to go.
The letter, which was published on July 1, was signed by 75 reproductive rights advocacy groups, legal experts, and health care providers, all of whom insisted that medication abortions have a strong record of being both safe and effective. The letter also urged the FDA to make decisions about medication abortion access based on science, rather than politics.