Women's Issues

DIY Abortion Is On The Rise In Texas Thanks To ‘Pro-Lifers’

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shutterstock_160995293__1404160364_142.196.156.251Use of a black-market abortion-inducing pill is on the rise in Texas, thanks to legislation that is making it increasingly difficult for women to obtain safe, legal and local abortion services. Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec or “miso” has been an asset to women in developing countries who lack access to abortion. It’s now being used in our country. This makes me want to scream.

I’m not against using the pill – apparently it’s been a godsend to women in Latin America and other countries where abortion is outlawed. I just can’t believe it’s 2014 and we are taking so many steps backwards that we are now at this point. A point where our own citizens – who live in a country where abortion is legal – have to buy a drug that induces abortion at a flea market. Under no doctor supervision whatsoever.

From The Atlantic:

In 1986, misoprostol was approved for sale in Brazilian pharmacies as an ulcer medication and was distributed over-the-counter. But its use as an abortion-inducing drug spread rapidly, and slipped below the radar at first. Like many drugs, misoprostol’s label had a simple warning: Do not take if pregnant.

But not everyone heeded the warning, including a number of Brazilian women who read the drug’s packaging and decided to try their luck. Or that’s how the story goes. Nobody knows exactly what happened. Some believe that certain Brazilian women made this discovery on their own; others say that a select few pharmacists who knew that Cytotec could induce abortions secretly spread the word. Regardless of who uncovered its power, the pill was precisely what women needed: a magic personal solution to a dreaded problem that dared not be discussed.

So, no one is sure how the use of the drug as an abortion pill took off – but they do know that it has had an incredibly positive outcome; DIY-abortion related injuries have fallen dramatically since the pill became widely used: “Latin American doctors from Peru to Brazil started noticing a trend: They were seeing, it seemed, a dramatic decrease in abortion-related complications. Fewer women were carted through hospital doors with gruesome infections from back-alley botched abortions, and ob-gyns saw a reduction in the grisly abortion complications that had so frequently plagued providers.” Although illegal, the pill accounts for nearly half of Brazil’s one million annual abortions.

The Atlantic piece shows a fascinating look at the rise of the drug’s popularity – but the message we are most left with is this; if a woman needs an abortion, she will get an abortion. The passage of restrictive laws is not going to stop that – the procedure is just going to be increasingly unsafe. What is an underground lifeline for women seeking abortions in other countries where the procedure is outlawed is even more underground here. The fact of the matter is, if the only abortion clinic in hundreds of miles closes down due to strict admitting privileges provisions – it’s as effective as essentially making the procedure illegal for many women. Especially poor women or undocumented immigrants who don’t have the means or money to travel to get these procedures done.

So good job, “pro-lifers.” You’ve brought DIY abortion back with a vengeance.

(photo: David Lee/ Shutterstock)