Buying pills online for an at-home abortion: a lockdown reality
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by Lucie Aubourg
One week after Sally realized she was pregnant, her home state Texas temporarily banned abortions, deeming them unnecessary elective procedures that were suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.
So, the 34-year-old, whose name has been changed for this story to protect her privacy, took matters into her own hands — something she never would have considered in the past.
Having split with her boyfriend, she decided to buy pills on the internet, and perform her own abortion at home.
It’s illegal, and certainly stressful, but more and more women — faced with difficult decisions during a time of national crisis — are going that route.
“It came in a little Manila envelope. And it was just a five-pack of pills. No instructions — nothing,” Sally told AFP from her home in Dallas.
Getting the pills was not easy. The first two sites she consulted were out of stock. After sending $250 to a third site and enduring several long days of waiting, the envelope arrived.
By then, it had been 10 weeks since her last period — the absolute limit in the United States for a medical abortion.
“I was so terrified,” she said.
She returned online to figure out how to use the pills for what is called a “self-managed” abortion.
She took the first pill — mifepristone, commonly known in the US as RU-486, which is used to stop the development of the pregnancy.
The four other pills were misoprostol, which triggers the actual abortion. And then Sally took painkillers.
After a night of “really bad” cramps, and bleeding that “shocked” her, everything went as expected. Sally went back to work the following day, “relieved” that the pills worked properly.
“I would have rather had medical supervision, for sure,” she says without hesitation.
Beyond the legal ramifications, how does one find websites where the pills are sold? How do you make sure you get them quickly?
Dozens of women like Sally are exchanging advice, tips and notes about their experiences in the abortion forum on the popular social network Reddit.