Across the world, women have difficulty obtaining an abortion. In some countries abortion is illegal. In other countries, like the United States, abortion is legal, but increasingly hard to get, as the number of laws restricting abortion continue to rise. Whether because of a lack of access or because the method feels like the best choice, some women use or consider using abortion pills on their own, without a doctor or clinic.
Abortion with pills, also called medication abortion or medical abortion, is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy in the first 12 weeks. Mifepristone and misoprostol, the medicines used for early abortion, are approved by the World Health Organization as a safe abortion method when used by women themselves up to nine weeks.
In fact, these medicines have been used safely by millions of women around the world to have an abortion up to 12 weeks without a clinician. The medicines work by causing a miscarriage, which happens spontaneously in 15-20% of all pregnancies. The symptoms of an abortion with pills and a miscarriage are exactly the same, and, in the rare case of a complication, the treatment for abortion and miscarriage are the same.
If you live in the United States, you can get detailed information about how to safely self-manage an abortion and how to minimize legal risks at Abortionpillinfo.org. It is important to read the website carefully so that you understand that in some states, there are legal issues to be aware of.
The website is called SASS: Self-Managed Abortion, Safe and Supported. The group behind SASS, Women Help Women, can’t provide the medicines for abortion in the U.S., but the SASS website has information about where others have found medicines. The site has a secure portal where you can reach trained counselors are available to guide you through the process and to answer questions, in English or Spanish.
If you live outside the U.S. you can get this information at womenhelp.org, the Women Help Women main website. Depending on where you live, Women Help Women is able to provide mifepristone and misoprostol and provide information and support before, during and after the abortion.
In an ideal world, all women would be able to access abortion pills, with expert guidance in person or remotely. But in the U.S., abortion has become increasingly restricted. As the assaults on our right to terminate a pregnancy increase, we need to do what we can to ensure that those who choose to self-manage their abortions have the safest and most effective experience possible and are protected from persecution.