She wanted an abortion. Her only option was driving to Mexico.

An excerpt from 'Undue Burden: Life and Death Decisions in a Post-Roe America'

May 26, 2024
Shefali Luthra

This article, an excerpt from “Undue Burden: Life and Death Decisions in a Post-Roe America,” was originally published by The 19th.

Before Roe v. Wade fell, McAllen had been home to the last abortion clinic in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, and Becky, a lifelong Texan and young college student, knew the place by sight. It was where the other girls at school used to go whenever they needed help, just by city hall, next to a church, and a short drive from an H-E-B supermarket. It was easy to find. There was a mural on the outside of brightly painted women standing in a field, holding what looked like balls of light, gazing up at the sun. The words hovered above them: “dignity.” “empowerment.”

Few places were harder hit by Roe’s fall than the Rio Grande Valley, which lies south of San Antonio and abuts the state’s border with Mexico. Even before 2021, reproductive health care in the region had been difficult to come by — and abortion, while technically available, was only barely so in practice.


USA – The New Autonomy of Abortion

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion freedom now hinges on access to pills.

MAY 23, 2024

When 18-year-old Rachel discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant, she made what she thought was a natural first step: call Planned Parenthood to schedule an abortion. “I wasn’t ready to be a parent or a mom,” she says. “And I didn’t want to go through giving birth just to give the kid away.” Even in an abortion-friendly state like Illinois, the nearest Planned Parenthood was one hour away, and there wasn’t an available appointment for another month.

When Rachel consulted ob-gyns, they either told her they wouldn’t provide an abortion or declined to provide recommendations. And since her insurance doesn’t cover abortion care, she’d have to pay the expensive fee out of pocket. “I just wanted it to be over with,” she says.


USA – Red state abortion bans headed for clash with blue state shield laws


A clash is looming between anti-abortion red states and the blue state telemedicine shield laws trying to preserve abortion access. 

More than a dozen states have laws shielding medical providers and others from out-of-state investigations and prosecutions regarding abortions and gender affirming care. But six states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, California, Vermont and Washington — have gone even further.


The Abortion Pill Underground

Since Roe was overturned, thousands of people in red states have found a way to get an abortion—often thanks to providers operating at the edge of the law.

May 7, 2024

When Kay found out she was pregnant at the end of last year, she knew three things clearly. “I was poor and I had an unwanted pregnancy and knew I couldn’t afford a standard abortion for hundreds of dollars,” she told me. A 29-year-old student already raising one child, Kay lives in Texas, where abortion is banned. The nearest clinic she could find was at least a 12-hour drive away. But Kay thought there might be another option. “I went to Google and started searching if it was possible somehow to receive abortion pills through the Internet.”

It was not only possible; it was much easier and more affordable than Kay had expected. She found online services that offered to ship the same medications that were available in clinics right to her doorstep in Texas for $150 or, if she couldn’t afford that, for free. It seemed so simple that Kay thought it might be a scam. “I was scared I would wait for the pills and they wouldn’t work when I got them,” she said.


USA – Alone in a bathroom:

The fear and uncertainty of a post-Roe medication abortion

By Caroline Kitchener
April 11, 2024

Angel tucked two white pills into each side of her mouth, bracing herself as they began to dissolve. Her deepest fears and anxieties took over.

Angel had wanted to talk to a doctor before she took the pills to end her pregnancy, worried about how they might interact with medication she took for her heart condition. But in her home state of Oklahoma, where almost all abortions are banned, that wasn’t an option.


USA – How a network of abortion pill providers works together in the wake of new threats

Groups such as Aid Access, Hey Jane and Just the Pill stay in close contact to help women seeking abortions in states with bans.

April 7, 2024
By Abigail Brooks and Dasha Burns

When the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March about restricting access to the abortion drug mifepristone, Elisa Wells, co-founder and co-director of Plan C, was ready. Plan C, an information resource that connects women to abortion pill providers, almost immediately saw a spike in searches for the medication.

With Florida’s Supreme Court paving the way for the state’s six-week abortion ban, Wells says she’s expecting even more search activity and more creative thinking from providers.


U.S. Supreme Court Challenge to Abortion Pills Could Boost Illegal Imports

Safeguarding access to pills from online foreign distributors may become a flashpoint in the reproductive care battle

by Chloe Searchinger
April 5, 2024

After hearing oral arguments last week, the Supreme Court appeared dubious of the plaintiff's legal challenge to the abortion pill in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Hippocratic Alliance of Medicine, the latest major abortion case since Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the constitutional guarantee to an abortion. Even though this outlook could lead pro-choice activists to breathe a minor sigh of relief and temporarily quell Big Pharma's fear over other challenges to FDA approvals, one indirect consequence regardless of the case outcome is the growing American reliance on imported abortion pills from overseas. 

This manner of accessing abortion has been increasing in popularity since Dobbs, and safeguarding the provision of these pills from unapproved foreign distributors could soon become a flashpoint in the American battle over reproductive care, given that these imports are illegal because they operate outside the formal U.S. health-care system and beyond FDA oversight. 


Abortion Shield Laws: A New War Between the States

Doctors in six states where abortion is legal are using new laws to send abortion pills to tens of thousands of women in states where it is illegal.

By Pam Belluck
Feb. 22, 2024

Behind an unmarked door in a boxy brick building outside Boston, a quiet rebellion is taking place. Here, in a 7-by-12-foot room, abortion is being made available to thousands of women in states where it is illegal.

The patients do not have to travel here to terminate their pregnancies, and they do not have to wait weeks to receive abortion medication from overseas.


6 Women Reveal Why They’re Stocking Up on the Abortion Pill

By Yerin Kim
Jan 29/2024

Courtney, 27, learned about advance provision — a practice that involves ordering abortion pills as a precautionary measure — during a TikTok scroll. Once she found there were telehealth organizations safely shipping abortion pills to states with abortion bans, she sought her own supply. Living in Arkansas, where abortion is completely banned, paired with recently learning that she'd been taking a medication that had made her birth control ineffective, Courtney requested advance-provision pills through Aid Access, a nonprofit providing access to medication abortion by mail.

"If I ever was in the position of being pregnant and wanting to terminate, I would have the option to decide that for myself in the comfort of my home."


US women are stocking up on abortion pills, especially when there is news about restrictions

January 2, 2024

Thousands of women stocked up on abortion pills just in case they needed them, new research shows, with demand peaking in the past couple years at times when it looked like the medications might become harder to get.

Medication abortion accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S., and typically involves two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. A research letter published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at requests for these pills from people who weren’t pregnant and sought them through Aid Access, a European online telemedicine service that prescribes them for future and immediate use.