In the U.S., medication abortion usually consists of two drugs. One of them has always mattered more.|
By Patrick Adams
SEPTEMBER 19, 2022
In the months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, demand for medication abortion has soared. The method already accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States before the Court’s decision; now reproductive-rights activists and sites such as Plan C, which shares information about medication abortion by mail, are fielding an explosion in interest in abortion pills. As authorized by the FDA, medication abortion consists of two drugs. The first one, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for a pregnancy to continue. The second, misoprostol, brings on contractions of the uterus that expel its contents. The combination is, according to studies conducted in the U.S., somewhere between 95 percent and 99 percent effective in ending a pregnancy and is extremely safe.
It’s not illegal to get an abortion off the Gulf coast or in a van in Colorado, critics and lawyers seem to agree. But other challenges remain.
By OLIVIA OLANDER
In Colorado, abortion medication comes from a van parked near the state border. In Illinois, an organization is recruiting pilots to fly patients out of restrictive states. And in the Gulf of Mexico, an OB-GYN envisions a clinic at sea.
These headline-grabbing projects for abortion access are among the more audacious ways abortion-rights supporters are attempting to skirt state restrictions, and while they may be legal, they won’t be easy to set up or sustain.
New avenues are emerging, but logistical hassles are everywhere
By RUTH READER and BEN LEONARD
July 11, 2022
Demand for pills that end pregnancy has skyrocketed in states that have restricted abortion since the Supreme Court decision last month, and abortion clinics are reporting a rush for appointments in towns bordering those states.
Aid Access, a virtual abortion clinic based in the Netherlands, saw a 256 percent increase in people coming to its site in the 24 hours after the court’s June 24 decision.
BY ABIGAIL ABRAMS AND JAMIE DUCHARME
MAY 31, 2022
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, as a leaked draft opinion suggests it may, abortion will likely be banned or severely restricted in about half of the United States. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the country will return to a world before 1973, when the landmark Supreme Court case enshrined a constitutional right to abortion.
Abortion pills, which can be ordered online and delivered by mail, have already fundamentally changed reproductive rights in America. The regimen of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, can in theory be safely taken anywhere, including in the privacy of people’s homes, eliminating the need to undergo a procedure, travel out of state, take time off work, or confront protestors outside of a clinic. In part because of this convenience, abortion pills—also known as medication abortion—are now the most common method of ending a pregnancy in the U.S.
Most abortions overseas involve pills, and the method is used in about half of legal U.S. abortions. It also seems to be the future of illicit abortion.
By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
May 9, 2022
Taking pills to end a pregnancy accounts for a growing share of abortions in the United States, both legal and not. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade as expected, medication abortion will play a larger role, especially among women who lose access to abortion clinics.
What is medication abortion?
It’s a regimen of pills that women can take at home, a method increasingly used around the world.
The FDA has dropped a requirement for the abortion drug mifepristone to be picked up in person – but some Republicans states are clamping down
Thu 7 Apr 2022
On Tuesday, Oklahoma became the latest state to pass a bill to make performing an abortion a felony, punishable, in this case, by 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The bill is expected to be signed into law by the governor, creating an even larger group of people – about 7.7 million between Texas and Oklahoma – who will have to leave their home state if they want an abortion.
Republican legislators are passing restrictions and bans on abortion, in expectation of a supreme court decision in a crucial abortion rights case expected in June. Until then, abortion remains legal, albeit severely restricted in some cases, across the US.
Restrictive states have already set their sights on a new wave of telehealth companies that were supposed to be a panacea for a post-Roe world.
By Julia Craven
Mar 29, 2022
When Emma found out she was pregnant in February, it was too late for an in-clinic abortion.
She estimated that she was at six weeks, but Texas, a bastion of retrograde abortion policy, bans the procedure at roughly that mark, so any local options were out of the question. Her local Planned Parenthood told her to prepare to travel out of state and offered to connect her with a clinic. Emma, who takes medication that makes her cycle irregular, wanted an ultrasound to confirm her recollection of the gestation age. But the clinic didn’t have an appointment for the next two weeks.
Oct. 13, 2021
By Patrick Adams
In 2018, the Austria-based nonprofit Aid Access began offering Americans a new service: For the first time, pregnant people could obtain abortion pills by mail, with a prescription from a licensed physician, without ever visiting a clinic. For years, the group’s founder, Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, had been doing similar work overseas. But as abortion rights were steadily eroded by Republican-controlled legislatures, Dr. Gomperts found herself inundated with requests from the United States and decided to act.
Three years later, American abortion rights are more threatened than ever, with the fate of Roe v. Wade resting on several Supreme Court justices appointed by Donald Trump. In response, Aid Access has introduced a service that offers a possible path forward for doctors adapting to the changing abortion landscape and reckoning with their role in gate-keeping a politically fraught drug: prescribing abortion pills in advance, to be kept on hand in the event of a future unwanted pregnancy.
Driven underground during the pandemic, online abortion providers say they’ll keep supplying pills and services even if the Supreme Court approves state bans.
By DARIUS TAHIR
The Supreme Court’s decision to review Mississippi’s stringent restrictions on abortion — putting Roe vs. Wade under its roughest stress test yet — is being seen as a call to action for the nation’s community of underground abortion activists.
And they make it clear they’re prepared to defy any laws banning abortion.
During the pandemic, women have been able to get abortion pills to take at home through an email or phone call. Will it stay that way?
Emily Shugerman, Gender Reporter
Updated May. 16, 2021
In California right now, you can get an abortion without speaking to a single other human being. You log onto a website—mychoix.co—put in your health information, answer some questions, and wait for an email from a clinician letting you know if you’ve been approved. If you are, an online pharmacy will ship you a package of mifepristone and misoprostol—a two-pill regime that is safer than many prescription drugs and 98 percent effective at terminating early-stage pregnancies. You will take it, you will bleed, your pregnancy will—in all likelihood—end.
This particular configuration is available in only one state, for a limited time, due to an emergency declaration issued by the Food and Drug Administration during the pandemic. But make no mistake: This is the future abortion advocates want.