‘Necessary to Disobey Harmful Laws’: These ‘Abortion Pirates’ Want Equal Access to Abortion Pills Worldwide

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
11/26/2022

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.”

Continued: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/11/26/global-abortion-rights-movement-latvia-00069224


After Roe, abortion’s underground railroad gains steam

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. 

Continued: https://www.politico.eu/article/roe-v-wade-europe-abortion-pill-illegal-underground-network/


USA – The New Abortion Underground

Stephania Taladrid reports on a network of volunteers distributing abortion medication to women in states that ban the procedure. Plus, Andrew Sean Greer on his new novel, “Less Is Lost.”

With David Remnick
October 14, 2022
25-minute podcast

Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the contributor Stephania Taladrid has been following a network of women who are secretly distributing abortion pills across the United States. The network has its roots in Mexico, where some medications used for at-home abortion are available at a lower cost over the counter. Volunteers—they call themselves “pill fairies”—are sourcing the pills at Mexican pharmacies and bringing them over the border. The work is increasingly perilous: in states like Texas, abetting an abortion is considered a felony, carrying long prison sentences. But, to Taladrid’s sources, it’s imperative. “I mean, there’s nothing else to do, right?” one woman in Texas, who had an abortion using the medication she received from a pill fairy, said. “You can’t just lie down and accept it. You can’t.”

Continued: https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/the-new-yorker-radio-hour/the-new-abortion-underground


Let’s Talk About Misoprostol—the Original Abortion Pill

7/28/2022
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.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2022/07/28/misoprostol-abortion-pill/


USA – Self-induced abortions can raise medical — and legal — questions for doctors

July 7, 2022
Sarah McCammon

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As abortion becomes more difficult — or impossible — to access in many states, some patients are buying pills online and managing the process on their own. That can create new questions for healthcare providers about how to protect their patients – and themselves – if questions or complications arise.

Unlike in years before Roe v. Wade in 1973, when women sometimes died from seeking unsafe and illegal abortions, Dr. Nisha Verma says patients now have more options.

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/07/1110165323/self-induced-abortions-can-raise-medical-and-legal-questions-for-doctors


USA – The Coming Rise of Abortion as a Crime

In places where abortion is now illegal, a range of pregnancy losses could be subject to state scrutiny.
By Melissa Jeltsen
JULY 1, 2022

Before last week, women attempting to have their pregnancies terminated in states hostile to abortion rights already faced a litany of obstacles: lengthy drives, waiting periods, mandated counseling, throngs of volatile protesters. Now they face a new reality. Although much is still unknown about how abortion bans will be enforced, we have arrived at a time when abortions—and even other pregnancy losses—might be investigated as potential crimes. In many states across post-Roe America, expect to see women treated like criminals.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending abortion as a constitutional right. Nearly half of U.S. states either are in the process of implementing trigger bans—which were set up to outlaw abortions quickly after Roe was overturned—or seem likely to soon severely curtail abortion access. Reproductive-rights experts told me that in the near future, they expect to see more criminal investigations and arrests of women who induce their own abortions, as well as those who lose pregnancies through miscarriage and stillbirth.

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/07/roe-illegal-abortions-pregnancy-termination-state-crime/661420/


USA – Should you keep abortion pills at home, just in case?

With Roe on the brink, more experts are talking about advance provision of mifepristone and misoprostol.

By Rachel M. Cohen
Jun 22, 2022

Medication abortion, or taking a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, is an increasingly common method for ending pregnancies in the United States. Reasons vary and overlap: Some women lack access to in-person abortion clinics; others prefer to end pregnancies in the comfort of their own home. Others seek out the pills because they cost far less than surgical abortion.

With more in-person clinics shuttering and a Supreme Court that’s threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade, a small but growing number of reproductive experts have been encouraging discussion of an idea called “advance provision” — or, more colloquially, stocking up on abortion pills in case one needs them later.

https://www.vox.com/2022/6/22/23170229/abortion-roe-medication-pills-pregnancy-unplanned


How Mexico ensures access to safe abortion without legalizing it

No outcomes of pregnancy are a crime in Mexico

By Annalisa Merelli
Published June 6, 2022

When it comes to abortion, Mexico offers a glimpse of a possible future
for the US.

Like its northern neighbor, the country is a federal republic of 32 states in
which the legality of abortion varies. It does not have a federal law, or Roe v
Wade-like constitutional decision legalizing abortion—a position the US is
likely to find itself in by the end of June, when the Supreme Court is expected
to officially announce its decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health
Organization. The decision, a draft of which was leaked last month, might
overturn the precedent stating that a woman has a right to obtain abortion as
part of her right to privacy. If the leak is confirmed, it would end the
federal protection of abortion, and making its legality dependent on the
individual state.

Continued: https://qz.com/2172871/how-decriminalization-of-abortion-in-mexico-expanded-access/


Lizelle Herrera’s case highlights the misunderstood realities of abortion access, criminalization, and advocacy in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley

Cross-movement collaboration at the intersections of criminal and reproductive justice helped local organizers mobilize quickly

by Tina Vásquez
April 21st, 2022

On April 8, a small news outlet covering Texas’ Rio Grande Valley published a story that sent shockwaves through the reproductive justice movement. A woman named Lizelle Herrera was arrested April 7 by the Starr County Sheriff’s Office and charged with murder for allegedly having a self-induced abortion, which is when a person chooses to perform their own abortion outside of a medical setting. According to her indictment, Herrera “intentionally and knowingly” caused “the death of an individual.” She was held at the Starr County Jail, and her bond was set at $500,000.

In the days since Herrera’s story was made public, there has been a great deal of reporting about whether her criminalization was simply “a hasty error” by a district attorney or a case that should be treated as “a warning” that “foreshadows [a] post-Roe future.” But for reproductive justice advocates in Texas who are forced to navigate some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, Herrera’s case isn’t merely a sign of what’s to come; it’s a reality that low-income women of color overwhelmingly shoulder. It’s also the inevitable result of complicated, convoluted anti-abortion laws.

Continued: https://prismreports.org/2022/04/21/realities-navigating-texas-anti-abortion-laws/


Anti-abortion protests in Scotland following ‘Texas playbook’ as national plan on buffer zones needed

As anti-abortion protests swell outside my city’s flagship hospital, I and many others fear Scotland is turning into a hostile place for women accessing healthcare.

By Hannah
Brown
Saturday, 16th April 2022

Across the pond, prosecutors dropped murder charges last week against a
26-year-old southern Texas woman over an alleged “self-induced abortion".

After time in prison, Texas lawyers found she had not committed a crime. This
woman’s case is an example of the lengths the red states are willing to go to
restrict abortion access.

Continued: https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/anti-abortion-protests-in-scotland-following-texas-playbook-as-national-plan-on-buffer-zones-needed-3656433