Many states in the US have recently been successful in closing abortion clinics. Typically, this has been done by passing legislation requiring abortion clinics to meet the code requirements of an ambulatory surgical center.
A common objection, from abortion supporters, is that most abortion clinics do not perform surgery. Such clinics merely prescribe and distribute two drugs which are highly effective at inducing abortions. One pill is taken in front of the doctor, and the others are taken at home, where the miscarriage occurs.
Because pro-abortion forces have had trouble overcoming the new legislative restrictions, they are now making an end-run around the law. Although the abortion pills are not available in US pharmacies without a prescription, in this internet age anything is available online. So do-it-yourself abortions are being promoted.
“There will always be people who need to do this for themselves, and they deserve to have the resources and information so they can do so safely and effectively, free from the threat of arrest,” said Jill Adams, executive director of the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California-Berkeley law school.
She is chief strategist for the Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team, formed this year by women from several legal organizations after consultations with reproductive-rights experts and activists.
The team’s goals – outlined in a recent online document – include halting prosecutions of women for self-induced abortions and expanding access to reliable information on how abortion medication can be obtained and used safely outside the formal health care system. Adams said a short-term goal is finding ways to increase access without breaking any laws.