After wave of anti-abortion laws, US sees signs of women taking drastic measures


Restricting access to abortion doesn’t stop abortion; it just forces pregnant people to turn to other methods of ending their pregnancies.

“I came across your instructions on the abortion pill and decided to use it for an at home abortion after finding pills online. I took the pills 2.5 weeks ago and am still cramping and bleeding sometimes mildly sometimes heavily, please I would like some advice on what I can do to help me heal faster.”

Peg Johnston estimates that her abortion clinic receives an email such as this once every month. This one, which arrived 11 May, reads the same as so many of the others. “You can often hear that desperation when you talk to them,” Johnston said. “Women who are pregnant and don’t want to be are desperate. They will do pretty much anything.”

Five years into a wave of anti-abortion legislation that is without historical precedent, Johnston is not surprised. In fact, she is part of a rising chorus of abortion providers and activists who wonder if they are witnessing, as a direct result of those laws, a spike in women who are attempting to take matters into their own hands.

In the south, abortion providers frequently encounter women who have tried taking misoprostol, an abortifacient that is only available in abortion clinics in the US but is available and inexpensive in most Mexican pharmacies. Myths circulate online about the ability of herbal extracts or over-the-counter products, some of which pose a health risk, to cause a miscarriage.

A volunteer, Emily Rooke-Ley, who operates a hotline for minors seeking an abortion in Texas, recently spoke to a teenager who couldn’t pay for her abortion and tried drinking “loads of vitamin C” instead.

There are phone calls about substances that carry warning labels for pregnancy: “‘What if I drank a whole bottle of this-or-that?’” said Sue Postal, who recently closed her clinic in Toledo. Others take more drastic measures, such as the young woman in Postal’s clinic whose boyfriend had punched her in the stomach as hard as he could – at the woman’s insistence.

Until recently, abortion rights activists treated stories like these as harbingers of the future if states continued to erode abortion rights. Thirty-eight states have passed more than 300 new abortion restrictions since 2010, laws that have shuttered dozens of abortion clinics across the south, west and midwest.

But a growing number now reject the idea that these anecdotes represent the worst-case scenarios. And a small body of research has emerged to support them. Among the most eye-catching is a report, released in November, projecting that anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 women of childbearing age in Texas – the site of the nation’s most bruising abortion fight – have at some point attempted to induce their own abortions.

“These are stories of desperation, not empowerment,” said Sarah Roberts, a University of California at San Francisco researcher who, in studying the effects of abortion clinic closures in the south, has come across a small proportion of women who tried to do something to end their pregnancies. One tried to cause a miscarriage by taking a huge dose of ecstasy. “These are stories of women going into their medicine cabinets and using things that are in there, or stories of women using illegal drugs, in the hopes that it will end their pregnancies.”

The report from the University of Texas can be found here.


The promoters of abortion will always have ways of “proving” that abortion on demand is a necessity and that tragedy will follow its even being made difficult, including the difficulty of paying for it. Therefore, their argument will go, it has to be freely available and paid for by you and me under government compulsion.

There are always difficulties with any law, but do these cited difficulties outweigh a million children killed annually? Is the situation so dire that we must accept the million deaths and our participation in it because a handful of women do self-destructive things, or so we’re told?

If one reads these articles, there is a lot less than “meets the eye” in the title. Most of it is about minor inconvenience and costs, awareness that some Planned Parenthood clinics had closed, and so on.


If abortion is restricted then unfortunately there may be some women who do take the extreme to try and end their pregnancy, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to restrict abortion. How many babies have been saved by such legislation compared to the number of women who take to extremes to end their pregnancy? Hopefully crisis pregnancy centres etc. can increase their outrage to help stop women taking to the extreme.

By the way. how long would it take to find stories of women taking to the extreme to try and
end their pregnancy even in states with liberal abortion laws?

The article cites a study regarding women inducing abortion in Texas. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the study referred to in regards to this claim is the study that Michael New discusses here. Look at the “methodological problems” he points out:


Would you use the same logic for suicide? Or… I want to remove my arm. My healthy arm. It bothers me. I should have access to a doctor who will do this, otherwise I’ll try to remove it myself.


The Catholic Church teaches God’s law that:
Intercourse creates babies.

If you don’t want a baby don’t have intercourse.

Intercourse is for a married mom and dad to be open to conceiving a child.

What’s wrong with putting a child up for adoption in an extreme situation,
instead of murdering ones son or daughter in the womb,

Our Lady of Akita, Japan, in her apparition, approved by the Vatican, said if the world did not repent and change, such as from the scourge of abortion, that a great chastisement worse than the Flood Deluge in the time of Noah, will come upon mankind, that fire will rain down from Heaven, and much of the world’s population will be wiped out.


They have absolutely no evidence to support their claim that that 100,000 to 240,000 women have tried to induce their own abortions. They provide only anecdotal evidence and speculation all of which just happens to align with their political agenda.


I agree, while adoption seems like the logical alternative, it still ‘inconveniences’ the person for 9 months or so, ya know, dealing with the pregnancy. People today want instant results, and NO inconvenience.

I bet after it rains down fire and a huge percentage of people are wiped out, abortion will suddenly skyrocket to the number one priority though!!


No mother should attempt to murder their own son or daughter. It’s a terrible evil.

Intercourse creates babies. Which is why God and the Catholic Church states it’s Gods rule that intercourse is only permitted between a married mom and dad open to conceiving a child.

An unplanned pregnancy if really not wanted, should put the Child up for adoption, to let the Child be cared for by a proper mom and dad. And the pregnant mom should not become a murderer who would kill their own defenceless son or daughter while still in the womb.


Most of it seems to be an argument for funding Planned Parenthood.


Well, by that logic we better make slavery “rare, safe and legal” then because that’s going on in America today, too.



Articles like the ones posted by the OP are simply excuses for the “pro-choice” movement, and a sign of their growing insecurity.

Also, it’s not “anti-abortion” laws; it’s “pro-life”. :slight_smile:


Women attempting to get an illegal abortion is not justification for failing to restrict and/or outlaw abortion.




Do pro choice people believe that women are unable to control their sexual urges or do they that women are so stupid that they don’t realize that when they have sex, they may end up pregnant? It has to be one or the other.


What if we created a society in which women knew there would be a backup safety net to catch them if they carry a child to term? Most reasons given for abortion have to do with financial fears and meeting obligations to other dependents. If we truly care for the least of these then action has to go beyond restrictive measures - without leaving them out.


You leave out the desire of the man and his role in the matter.


When the first man gets an abortion, I will pose the same question about him.

So do pro choice people believe that women can’t control their sexual urges or are they just so stupid that they don’t know that sex can cause pregnancy?


It has to be one or the other.


So if the Mother of a one year old has financial setbacks should she be able to kill her child?


No, but the point made stands. The government should offer some form of financial aid to mothers in poverty.

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