BY GREER DONLEY AND PATRICIA ZETTLER, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS
On Nov. 18, a group of antiabortion activists sued the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to try to remove mifepristone from the market. Mifepristone is the only drug that is FDA-approved to terminate a pregnancy. The lawsuit is based on several fundamental mischaracterizations of the FDA’s decision-making and the scientific evidence surrounding medication abortion.
If this lawsuit is nevertheless successful, it would apply nationally and remove the drug from the market throughout the United States. It is therefore another reminder that the antiabortion movement will not stop with overturning Roe v Wade and banning abortion in half the country— its goal is to stop abortion everywhere.
A colorful crowd of doctors, researchers and women’s activists convened in the Latvian capital to explore ways to use pills to circumvent anti-abortion laws.
By EMILY SCHULTHEIS
RIGA, Latvia — For two sunny, crisp autumn days in mid-September, Riga’s Stradiņš University felt like the epicenter of a self-styled global civil rights movement: to give every person, in every culture or country, regardless of laws, access to abortion pills.
In the hallways, women pored over posters showing the latest research on the effectiveness of abortion pills and other developments in abortion and contraception care. Representatives from pharmaceutical companies enthusiastically pitched their medications and products to doctors sipping coffee and tea during a break between panels. There were graphic novels about an at-home medical abortion and T-shirts printed with women’s self-stated reasons for ending a pregnancy; there were slogans printed on T-shirts like “Make Abortion Legal Again” and a video promoting abortion rights to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
WED, NOV 23 2022
The abortion pill is the most common method to terminate a pregnancy in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC, in a report published Wednesday, found that about 51% of abortions in 2020 were performed with the pill at or before the ninth week of pregnancy. From 2019 to 2020, abortions with the pill increased 22%, according to the report.
Abortion opponents plan to use environmental laws to curb access to pills used to terminate an early pregnancy
By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN
Abortion opponents and their allies in elected office are seizing on an unusual strategy after suffering a wave of election defeats — using environmental laws to try to block the distribution of abortion pills.
The new approach comes as the pills mifepristone and misoprostol, which people can take at home during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, have become the most common method of abortion in the U.S. and virtually the only option for millions of people in states with laws that have forced clinics to close since the fall of Roe v. Wade.
In Poland, abortion has been almost completely prohibited since 2020. Nevertheless, a network of anarchists and other feminists strives to ensure that those who need abortions can access them, legally or not. Now that abortion has been prohibited throughout many of the United States, as well, people in North America stand to gain from the experience of those who have already been confronting this situation for years. To learn how Polish activists use direct action and mutual aid to keep abortion accessible, we interviewed participants in this network.
Maintaining widespread access to abortion—legal or not—is crucial to saving lives and preserving the autonomy of those targeted by patriarchal power structures. It is also an essential part of the struggle to legalize abortion. As we argued in June, after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade,
Mail order businesses in India are shipping the pills to women in the US
By Bruce Einhorn and Dhwani Pandya
November 3, 2022
Angry over the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, Deborah Willoughby wanted to do more than attend a rally or make a donation. So she sat down at her computer and placed an order for a pack of abortion pills from India sold under the brand name Unwanted.
India has many online pharmacies offering to sell mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs commonly used to terminate pregnancies — no questions asked and no prescription required. Plan C, an American group that provides information on how to obtain at-home abortion medication, needed volunteers to test online suppliers’ delivery claims. Willoughby signed up and placed an order via Secureabortionpills.com, which describes itself as an online international pharmacy selling generic drugs.
A network of activists is helping women terminate pregnancies in countries where the procedure is banned.
BY CARLO MARTUSCELLI, EMILY SCHULTHEIS, MANDOLINE RUTKOWSKI AND JAKUB KORUS
OCTOBER 29, 2022
RIGA — If you want to get an abortion in Poland, Kinga Jelinska is happy to help. Legally terminating your pregnancy is almost impossible in the Eastern European country. Abortion is only allowed in the case of rape or incest, or when it threatens the life of the woman.
That’s where Jelinska comes in. She’s the co-founder and executive director of Women Help Women, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit that helps provide women with the pills needed for an at-home medical abortion. The service Jelinska’s group provides falls into a legal grey zone; self-induced abortion is illegal in a number of countries, but in Poland, it’s not explicitly banned.
Medical abortions are a global success story, and not one that will be easily derailed by the legislative backsliding in the US. Time, now, to close the access gaps, report Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna
BMJ 2022; 379
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2349 (Published 19 October 2022)
Sally Howard, Geetanjali Krishna
In 2021, a 20 year old woman in Hyderabad, India, discovered she was pregnant.
A well educated, city girl, she was nevertheless afraid of the stigma attached
to unmarried pregnancy and did not know if she could legally terminate the
pregnancy. Around the same time, another young couple living together in
Bengaluru were in a similar predicament.
“Both women were not ready for a child but completely clueless about the
options they had, and the gestation period up to which abortion is legally
allowed in India,” says Anusha Pilli, a doctor who practises privately in
Hyderabad. Pilli helped both women to get medical abortions before their first
Amid legal and medical risks, a growing army of activists is funneling pills from Mexico into states that have banned abortion
By Caroline Kitchener
October 18, 2022
Monica had never used Reddit before. But sitting at her desk one afternoon in July — at least 10 weeks into an unwanted pregnancy in a state that had banned abortion — she didn’t know where else to turn.
“I need advice I am not prepared to have a child,” the 25-year-old wrote from her office, once everyone else had left for the day. She titled her post, “PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!”
BY ALICIA FÀBREGAS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAHÉ ELIPE
October 14, 2022
It’s 1 a.m., and Crystal can’t sleep. She is in a hotel room in Monterrey, Mexico, and she is thinking about a meeting tomorrow where she will speak in front of US representatives from North Carolina, New Mexico, and Texas and senators from Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. All of these officials are Democrats, some come from activist backgrounds, and they are visiting Monterrey in order to learn how networks of women in the north of Mexico are helping other women—including women who live in the US—to get safe abortions.
For six years, Crystal, who asked that we only use her first name, has been an acompañanta, a member of a network of Mexican women that informs and supports other women throughout the abortion process. The acompañantas’ goal is to prevent any woman from feeling alone when facing the obstacles—legal and otherwise—of ending a pregnancy. Crystal gets up and opens her laptop to refine her speech. She reads it out loud several times to practice. She wants to be able to look her audience in the eyes.