Last week, I wrote about the return of midwifery to this country, and its underground movement to teach women to perform self-induced abortions. (Click) Another option exists for the same purpose, but it isn’t widely known. The drug, Mifepristone, can be effective if self-administered during early pregnancy. It is not to be confused with Plan B One-Step, a medication that already exists to prevent pregnancy if taken no later than 5 days after unprotected sex. Plan B One-Step is available over the counter.
Mifepristone is the alternative for a woman after she is pregnant. In a majority of states, only medical clinics or physicians who are certified can dispense the drug. This restriction is inconvenient and adds cost, making it prohibitive for some who are poor.
In Europe, women use the pill 70-90 percent of the time to induce abortion. Use in the U. S. use hovers at 45% because of the restrictions. (“Moving on to Plan C,” by Carmen Rios, Ms., Summer, 2018, pg. 12.) Greater and cheaper access to Mifepristone would be a boon to low-income women and to those who live in rural communities were few medical centers exist. (Click)
Women on Web (Click) is working to normalize self-induced abortions. They help women around the world obtain Mifepristone, even in countries where abortion is restricted or illegal. As a result, it’s easier to obtain the pill in Ethiopia than in the United States. (Ibid, pg. 12.)
Medication that a woman can obtain by mail and administer at home would be transformative. It would also move the country in the direction intended in Row v. Wade.
One health minister of France called Mifepristone the “moral property of women.” (Ibid, pg. 12) That view is correct. But first, women must know the pill exists and how to obtain it. Slowly, the information is leaking out, thanks to a group of courageous women.