Women in the U.S. Can Now Get Safe Abortions by Mail
October 20, 2018 7:54 AM   Subscribe

The Atlantic interviews doctor Rebecca Gomperts about the recently-launched Aid Access. “I got an email from a woman who was living in a car with two kids,” she told me. “Something had to be done.”

Also, "In Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and New York, a program is being assessed that would send abortion pills by mail overnight, after a video consultation with a doctor. Programs in Iowa, Alaska, Minnesota and Maine allow women to have a telemedicine doctor’s appointment to get a medication abortion prescription, though women must then travel to a clinic to obtain and use the pills."
posted by Little Dawn (10 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure Republicans will find a way to ouya stop to this but in the meantime I'm happy for all the women being helped.
posted by emjaybee at 10:16 AM on October 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yes, I'm afraid for all this publicity being the impetus for stopping it. No no y'all: stay quiet, stay underground. Just be available.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:29 AM on October 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

No no y'all: stay quiet, stay underground. Just be available.

But without press the women who need it won't hear about it. It's a problem.
posted by suelac at 10:33 AM on October 20, 2018 [13 favorites]

According to the Guardian: "Gomperts said that if groups oppose Aid Access’s efforts, they should work to improve access to abortion. “I don’t think this service should be necessary in the first place,” she said."

In the meantime, Missouri is now back to just one abortion clinic and according to the National Women's Law Center, "Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota have laws or regulations that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for religious or moral reasons. In Alabama, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas, pharmacists are allowed to refuse but may not obstruct access to the medication. Eight states -- California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Washington and Wisconsin -- have laws requiring pharmacists to provide medication."
posted by Little Dawn at 11:51 AM on October 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I met Rebecca Gomperts nearly two decades ago at a conference I helped to organize for a reproductive rights organization. She had just started Women on Waves a couple of years before and she was really inspirational (and really nice, which is not always the case with conference presenters and the people doing the drudge work at conferences). I'm so happy she's doing this, even though it breaks my heart that it's (still) necessary. I also like This Broadly piece about Aid Access that has more info from organizations doing the work of helping women to access abortion like the National Network of Abortion Funds and less "let's ask anti-choicers if they're going to try to stop something that of course they are going to try to stop".
posted by camyram at 1:41 PM on October 20, 2018 [8 favorites]

Also from the Atlantic - it’s a book review about the history of abortion. It’s absolutely fascinating and its really worth reading:

“When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973”
- Leslie J. Reagan

Im still trying to figure out how to post clickable links, until I do it’s easily Googleable.

There are networks helping women - and they will only increase in numbers and effectiveness. If they have the power, we will be dealing with new legislation and penalties - as if abortofacients are just another prohibited, dangerous street drug. Or bathtub moonshine.

It won’t work. I fear the program by mail won’t last long as a legal option, we shall see. I hope I’m wrong.

It will continue, though. Even if it has to be on the black market which, will harm people needlessly, again... but women are going to help each other and will win this fight someday. There is SASS, Women Helping Women...

It is an economic issue - the patriarchy doesn’t want to compete with women and sprinkling moral stigma on the matter has been effective legislatively and socially by being far more destructive.

The safe, early, affordable and easily accessible pharmaceutical remedy is the only sane, ethical option whenever required. Medical procedures will still be needed too, unfortunately - hopefully in fewer and fewer cases. Sadly, it will probably become much harder to access for those who need it - victims of rape, incest - too often children and other instances that most US religions allow, by the way. Somehow the sense is that they don’t.

No one wants it, I don’t think, but women aren’t a sub class or shouldn’t be, prohibited from if and when to have a family, an education, a career and economic autonomy and success - all of which are hard enough without the extra obstacles other people (men) do not have.
posted by misondre at 5:35 PM on October 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Broadly piece linked above includes a discussion of the SIA Legal Team, which offers a confidential and anonymous legal helpline for people who fear being questioned by police or run into any legal trouble when trying to obtain a telemedicine abortion.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:25 PM on October 20, 2018

Just last year (2017), a woman was in the process of being prosecuted for her own self-induced abortion in Chesterfield, Virginia.
In March [2017], Chesterfield authorities obtained an indictment against Michelle Frances Roberts, 46, on a charge of producing an abortion “with the intent to destroy her own child,” a Class 4 felony.
Bonus fucked-up-edness: It came to the attention of the police because her ex-boyfriend's mother dropped a dime on her.

The local Commonwealth Attorney (equivalent of a D.A. in Virginia) held it over her head for over a year before dropping the charges earlier this month—but not because they are backing down in general; the stated reason is that they are accepting her defense team's theory that it was a miscarriage resulting from her use of various medications, or at least that the defense could create reasonable doubt on this basis—a sort of weird reverse-Alford-plea ("we're not saying you're not actually guilty, but we admit that your defense team is gonna beat the shit out of us"). That there is a special election for that Commonwealth Attorney seat, which may be competitive for a Democrat for the first time in 30 years, may or may not be related.

But having watched the progress of that case over the last year, which really shows the nastiness you get if you scratch the surface even in a putatively "purple" state, I wonder: is there any sort of backup plan to, or militant wing of, Aid Access, if things really go south in the US? (I mean, more than they have already.) What they're doing currently is admirable, but they're playing a rigged game if they try to follow every state's individual regulations before dispensing, given the mendacity of the people who create those regulations. The winning model here may need to be somewhat more, uh, flexible in terms of its commitment to state-level regulatory compliance, if they want to reach people in red states. Less Planned Parenthood, more Jane Collective.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:03 AM on October 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Part of the backup plan to counter this kind of fearmongering includes NARAL, the ACLU, and the NLG.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:07 AM on October 22, 2018

"In a climate where misinformation about abortion is widespread, NAF’s publications provide medically accurate and unbiased information on surgical and medical abortion and quality assurance in abortion care." NAF also offers assistance with finding providers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and other countries:
The provider maps below allow you to highlight clinics in your area while the NAF Hotline referral line 1-877-257-0012 provides referrals to member clinics in the U.S. and Canada (no funding assistance provided on this line). For information about abortion and other resources, including financial assistance, please call 1-800-772-9100.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:56 AM on October 22, 2018

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