You create a system when the need is high enough.
February 1, 2018 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Inside the Top-Secret Abortion Underground (slMotherJones)
Renata is part of a growing underground movement of people across America who have taught themselves to help women terminate pregnancies without a doctor. I talked to dozens of these clandestine providers, and our conversations offer a rare glimpse into a world that is shrouded in secrecy and fear. Some urged me not to write about their work. But their efforts reveal a new aspect of how the war on reproductive rights has played out, and how a new generation of activists has come to believe that it’s reasonable to handle this aspect of women’s health care outside a medical setting. And they are determined to give more women that opportunity, no matter the legal risk.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? (16 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
This goddamn timeline. Christ. If you’d told me even 10 years ago that we would really need a rebirth of the Jane collective I would have ... well, I would’ve thought shit, I hope not.

Everyone should read what mefite Anitanola, may she rage in power, wrote about getting illegal abortions in the 1950s, from people with less compassion and care than these women here show. Misogyny is a hell of a drug.
posted by rtha at 6:46 PM on February 1, 2018 [56 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. When I get a solid hour, I’m coming back to read all this. Because I’ve literally been asking myself - how bad does it get before we have to start doing this all on our own, illegally? Clearly some already are, but how much longer can I stand by and not help?
posted by greermahoney at 7:14 PM on February 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

abortion in the US by state
posted by aniola at 7:35 PM on February 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

When I went to get Plan B in Georgia in 2007, I had a lot of trouble with the pharmacy. They didn't believe it was an over the counter prescription. They didn't believe I was 18 (I was 28).

When I got an abortion in 2010, I had to give a detailed history and exam, receive an explanation of the procedure and what it would mean (that I would no longer be pregnant), and an vaginal ultrasound. I was just below the cut off for chemical abortion, and so that's what I choose. I didn't want anyone to be up in me any more than necessary.

"In clinics doctors tell patients to take mifepristone first, to end the pregnancy, and then misoprostol to expel it from the body."

The nurse sat with me, holding the mifepristone pill, making sure I understood what I was doing and that I wanted to do it. Then she made sure I swallowed it. They had issues, apparently, with women going through this and taking the pill home for someone else. At the time it seemed unimaginable that a woman would go through all this effort and invasion of privacy to save someone else from having a pregnancy.

Now it makes sense.
posted by Monday at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2018 [41 favorites]

I wish these pro-lifers / anti-abortion people would put as much effort into worring about the child once it comes out.. The biggest problem I have with many moral based objections to things, is the people only want you to not do x or y, but will offer no solutions or alternatives for you, or offer to assit with things. You must just obey their moral view point..
I'll lump moral and religious into the same group for this, as at the end of the day it's their own viewpoint not that of the person they are trying to inflict their views on.
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 9:26 PM on February 1, 2018 [13 favorites]

ErisLordFreedom made an insightful comment about the anti-choice crowd in another thread just a couple of days ago, ending with: "They're not pro-life, they're pro-birth, because that keeps women tied down."
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:45 PM on February 1, 2018 [20 favorites]

I know most of us have this thing almost memorized, but I always read this again to bolster my resolve: The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion.
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:00 PM on February 1, 2018 [25 favorites]

This read way less grim and way more empowering than I thought it would.
posted by The Toad at 12:14 AM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I know most of us have this thing almost memorized, but I always read this again to bolster my resolve: The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion.

"Fuck you, got mine" isn't just about money.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:20 AM on February 2, 2018 [10 favorites]

Jesus fuck, I knew it was bad, I knew that here in Texas a lot of women were illegally importing abortion drugs, but I didn't know it was this bad yet.

They really have basically overturned Roe without technically overturning Roe.
posted by sotonohito at 8:34 AM on February 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

I want to point out that the women in this article aren’t bypassing the medical system only because of restrictions around legal access to abortion, but because the medical system is relentlessly, routinely misogynist.

As it states in the article, some of these women do have access to legal abortion, but choose these underground networks because getting medical care from someone who doesn’t treat you like a child, or like an idiot worthy of contempt, or like you’re a terrible person who deserves to be punished, fucking matters. Having medical providers who treat you with the basic human decency to trust your intentions, that you know how to take care of yourself, and that your description of your own experience is both valuable and believable fucking matters.

If I could get regular medical care from a bunch of women like this I would do it in a fucking minute.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:00 AM on February 2, 2018 [23 favorites]

It's worth mentioning that some of those legal restrictions make medical care more misogynist, though - e.g. laws that require doctors to present you with information designed to shame you out of an abortion. Or, even worse, require doctors to sexually assault you.

(By which I'm referring to medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds, which involves inserting a stick-like medical device into the vagina. I'm not sure how this doesn't count as government-mandated rape.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:29 AM on February 2, 2018 [24 favorites]

Totally agree, Kutsuwamushi- I chose the chemical abortion because it meant I could do it in the comfort of my home and not be penetrated a third time (I had the transvaginal ultrasound before and after the abortion.)
posted by Monday at 9:47 AM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

One interesting fact is that misoprostol can be prescribed by veterinarians for treatment of dog ulcers.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Thank god I live in Vermont. This state wants to get you birth control, and if that fails it doesn't get in the way for an abortion. In fact, we removed the law making abortion illegal from the books altogether a few years back (the laws that get struck down are often still on the books, they are just not enforceable, so this was a nice statement).
posted by evening at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how this doesn't count as government-mandated rape.

In many states, it does in fact fall under the definition of rape by instrument or whatever name a given state happens to use since there is coercion involved. (you must have this thing done in this certain unnecessarily invasive way to receive a service required to maintain your health!)

I wouldn't be surprised if some anti-woman DA in a state where the trans-vaginal ultrasound is mandated was already thinking of bringing rape charges against doctors who perform abortions.
posted by wierdo at 9:49 PM on February 3, 2018

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