Accessing the medications online may be relatively straightforward, but self-managed abortion exists in a dangerous legal gray zone in this country.
Feb 8, 2021
Last October I found myself in a situation familiar to a lot of people: at home
and on a Zoom meeting for work when I heard an insistent knocking at my door.
At first I mistook it for my rowdy cat, since in my nearly year-long quarantine
practically no one has knocked on my door. I muted my call and ran to answer,
laptop in hand. I opened the door and immediately the person on the other side
shoved a pen into my hand. I had a package and I needed to sign for it.
I looked at the bare envelope, with no return
address and illegible scrawl on the sticker. I noticed the tiny red text that
read, “Personal supply of Rx medicines.” At once I knew what this package was.
Inside were medications, prescribed in Austria, filled in India.
After 20 years in the U.S., medication abortion is finally widely accessible through telehealth. But a looming Supreme Court ruling could change all that.
BY RUTH READER
In April of this year, when some of Minnesota’s already few abortion clinics started to close because of the pandemic, a new organization popped up with a novel idea: It would bring abortion services to Minnesotans using a mobile clinic. Called Just The Pill, its goal was to connect the state’s most rural corners with medication abortion care, a two-pill regimen that can end a pregnancy.
In the past, it’s been hard for sexual health groups to get medication abortion to people in remote areas. The Food and Drug Administration restricts one of the medications, mifepristone, in several ways. Patients must take the pill at a clinic, for example. On top of that, states have their own rules that can further encumber access. However, the medical data overwhelmingly shows the abortion pill is safe, even to take at home alone. Health experts say politics—not data—are informing these rules.
Feminist Multi-Front Battle to End FDA’s Abortion Pill Restriction
by Carrie N. Baker
Feminists have been fighting a defensive battle to protect abortion rights for years—but today some are taking the offense, pushing to expand abortion access by calling for the removal of FDA restriction on the abortion pill mifepristone.
Formerly known as RU-486, mifepristone ends pregnancy by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone, which sustains pregnancy. Used in combination with another drug—misoprostol, which causes contractions to complete an abortion—mifepristone is extremely safe.
Self-Managed Abortion Is Medically Very Safe. But Is It Legally Safe?
by Carrie N. Baker
Between 1969 and 1973, feminists in Chicago with no formal medical training formed an underground abortion service called Jane that performed nearly 12,000 safe illegal abortions.
Today, as many states increasingly restrict medical professionals’ ability to offer abortion, women are once again finding ways to access safe abortion on their own.
Telemedicine Abortion: What It Is and Why We Need It Now More Than Ever
by Carrie N. Baker
Antiabortion politicians in states across the country are using the COVID-19 pandemic to block access to abortion—arguing abortion is not essential health care and supporting limitations in the interest of conserving personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases.
Medical experts, however, are coming to the exact opposite conclusion.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and seven other medical organizations issued a statement last week declaring that abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care and that lack of access may “profoundly impact a person’s life, health and well-being.”
Advocates for Self-Managed Abortions Are Preparing for a Post-Roe World
Activists are trying to help women navigate the complicated legal landscape around misoprostol and mifepristone, "essential medicines" according to the World Health Organization.
Jul 12, 2019
One evening last month, half a dozen people, mostly women, met at a suburban home in upstate New York for a remote workshop. Sitting on sofas and fold-out chairs in their host's living room, they enjoyed vegan snacks while waiting for the leader of the workshop to appear on the television above the mantle place. Bottles of wine sat to the side for drinks to follow.
"The atmosphere felt something like a radical Tupperware party," says Kate Krimsky, one of the participants.
Continued : https://psmag.com/social-justice/advocates-for-self-managed-abortions-are-preparing-for-a-post-roe-world
She Started Selling Abortion Pills Online. Then the Feds Showed Up.
What happened when one woman tried to make safe and cheap abortion pills available through the mail.
Mother Jones - March/April 2019 Issue
For two years, before she headed off to her full-time job as a web developer, or after she put her daughter to bed at night, Ursula Wing ran a business selling abortion pills from the bedroom of her New York City apartment. The 40-year-old single mother would fill orders that had been submitted through her website, dropping a piece of inexpensive jewelry into a mailer with a return address for “Fatima’s Bead Basket.” Hidden behind a panel taped inside were one tablet of mifepristone and four tablets of misoprostol.
Self-Induced Abortion’s Risks Could Leave Immigrant Women Choiceless
"Imagine being undocumented and considering self-managed abortion in this environment."
Jan 17, 20194
With the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court now has the votes it needs to completely undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case legalizing abortion that turns 46 next week. In response to the likelihood of Roe’s demise, reproductive rights advocates have mounted campaigns raising awareness of the safe and effective use of the drug misoprostol as an option for those who want to self-manage the termination of their pregnancy at home. Self-managed abortion can be an ideal option for immigrant women currently in the crosshairs of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-choice administration, but the risk of imprisonment is especially high for low-income women of color who obtain the medication through illegal means.
What Back Alley? These Women Say DIY Abortion Can Be Empowering
The pro-choice movement has portrayed non-clinic abortion as a last resort. But some women are trying to change that image.
The image provokes both fear and fury: a wire coat hanger, spattered with blood, symbolizing the drastic measures women may take when abortion access is limited.
Whoopi Goldberg brandished one on stage at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, urging the younger generation to remember what their forebears used. Protesters at the 1989 March for Women's Equality carried a giant replica, stained red, through the streets of Washington D.C. like a macabre parade float. And the symbol has been ubiquitous since Donald Trump’s election, popping up at marches, in the pages of glossy magazines, and on this site.
The imagery makes Jill Adams, founder of the Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team, shake her head.
The future of DIY abortions is the internet, not a back-alley doctor
No need for a clinic at all
by Lux Alptraum
Sep 22, 2018
For many people, the phrase “illegal abortion” calls to mind images of back alley clinics, medical providers with questionable credentials, and, of course, the dreaded coat hanger — an object so evocative it’s often been used as a protest symbol. But those images are outdated, belonging to a pre-Roe era. These days, the real action in abortion is now online, as a group of reproductive rights activists use the internet to spread the word about how to use abortion pills. They hope to give pregnant people living in places where abortion is nearly inaccessible, or outright illegal, access to safe and effective ways to take charge of their own fertility.
Thanks to the introduction of abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol — which, in combination, effectively induce abortion 95 percent to 98 percent of the time — it’s become possible to terminate an unwanted pregnancy without an invasive medical procedure. More to the point, it’s possible for women to take these pills to induce an abortion on their own, without the assistance of a doctor. Those pills can be bought online — so for many people, it’s possible to avoid the clinic entirely.