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!!!!!!!!”
The Supreme Court’s decision to end federal protections for abortion access didn’t just rewind the clock 50 years, it opened a Pandora’s box of confusing, potentially life-threatening legal complications. VF talks with five women on the front lines.
BY ABIGAIL TRACY AND ERIN VANDERHOOF
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIANA MARKOSIAN AND DRU DONOVAN
OCTOBER 12, 2022
Tattooed on Caitlin Bernard’s left foot is the image of a coat hanger and the words “Trust Women.” The 38-year-old Indiana-based ob-gyn got it years ago; it was intended as a reminder of life before Roe v. Wade. Bernard has long paired her medical career with advocacy. She was a plaintiff in an unsuccessful 2019 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to reverse Indiana’s near-total ban on second-trimester abortions. Post-Roe, Indiana became the first state to pass an abortion ban. Now, Bernard is girding for another legal fight—this time against Republican Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita, who she says maligned her practice as Bernard became a lightning rod in one of the most publicized cases after the Dobbs decision stripped federal abortion protections and turned the country into a patchwork of disparate laws.
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.
These new efforts, which test the legal boundaries, have sprung up since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and many states restricted abortion.
By Pam Belluck
Sept. 3, 2022
As bans and restrictions proliferate across the country, abortion pill providers are pushing the envelope of regulations and laws to meet the surging demand for medication abortion in post-Roe America.
Some are using physician discretion to prescribe pills to patients further along in pregnancy than the 10-week limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. Some are making pills available to women who are not pregnant but feel they could need them someday. Some are employing a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach, providing telemedicine consultations and prescriptions without verifying that patients are in states that permit abortion.
Experts say the sites pose a public health threat that is likely to grow.
By RUTH READER
Aug 1, 2022
Enter “buy cytotec online cheap” into Google’s search engine and the first four results are sites that illegally offer to ship the abortion pills without a prescription.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that gave states the right to ban the procedure, it’s still possible to get abortion medication, even in states where it’s restricted, through telemedicine or by traveling across state lines. But the patchwork of state rules is nonetheless fertile ground for scammers looking to make money off desperate abortion patients who don’t know how to navigate them.
by CAITLIN GERDTS, RUVANI JAYAWEERA and CARRIE N. BAKER
The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has paved the way for more than half of U.S. states to outlaw abortion. As we look to the future of abortion in the U.S., we can learn from the experiences of people in countries with restrictive abortion laws who have managed to find safe, effective ways to have abortions by using the original abortion pill: misoprostol.
In the 1980s, Brazilians discovered that an ulcer medication, misoprostol, could induce a miscarriage by causing contractions of the uterus to expel a pregnancy. Across Latin America, women and other people who can become pregnant began to use misoprostol to manage their own abortions. Infection, hemorrhaging and death from unsafe abortion declined precipitously.
Mail-forwarding services and telehealth appointments from border-state parking lots circumvent state bans on FDA-approved drugs
By Christopher Rowland
July 6, 2022
Before spreading the word about how to circumvent state bans on abortion pills, Elisa Wells conducted a trial run of sorts, using dried garbanzo beans.
Wells, co-founder of the nonprofit abortion advocacy website Plan C, was testing whether commercial mail-forwarding services could serve as a link in a surreptitious supply chain from abortion-friendly states to states where abortion pills are banned.