As Americans face the reality that the Supreme Court could now overturn the federally protected abortion right, advocates have launched a website and helpline to offer legal information and advice. referrals to lawyers for people who induce their own abortions.
the Telephone support from the SIA legal team debuted on Tuesday and offers three confidential ways to contact its experts: the phone, the Signal messaging app, and the Formstack forms service. Communication via Signal and Formstack is encrypted.
“The people who self-manage their abortions, and those who help them, may risk unjust arrest, prosecution and jail time,” said Jill E. Adams, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of SIA Legal Team, an organization that works to change laws, advocate cases, and provide legal information and referrals to support people who have terminated their pregnancies independently. “The idea is that if people know their legal rights, they can understand the factors that led to arrests and prosecutions, and protect themselves.”
While it’s not clear how often people seek to terminate a pregnancy on their own, research shows this does happen. In a 2012 investigation conducted in Texas, a state with laws that restrict access to abortion, 7% of abortion patients reported trying to terminate their pregnancy on their own. A separate investigation of Internet users who Google for search terms related to self-abortion last year found that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed were pregnant and did not want to be. Forty-one percent of the participants were minors.
Earlier this year, a website called Access to help launched to provide US residents with abortion medication by mail, after clients complete a digital consultation with a healthcare professional. The service is available to healthy trans women and men who are less than 9 weeks pregnant. While the founder of Aid Access, a doctor who created a similar site based in Europe called Women on the Web, Told the Atlantic that the Food and Drug Administration allow people to import drugs for personal use, government agency Told the point of sale that abortion drugs are not legally available online.
As politicians debate what a “post-Roe” America might look like, many are already experiencing it. States that impose multiple restrictions on abortion put abortion out of reach, especially for women struggling to make ends meet. Learn more about our new study: https://t.co/wxzd91Fm4k pic.twitter.com/S4BUesPBEn
– RESPONSE (@ANSIRH) 12 october 2018
Adams says it’s impossible to say yet whether the recent launch of Aid Access will increase the reach of SIA’s legal team’s helpline. Staff members of the SIA legal team have been helping women accused of illegally terminating their pregnancies since 2013. Seven states have laws that explicitly prohibit self-administered abortion, while others have arrested and prosecuted women based on fetal damage laws or laws that criminalize abortion and are poorly enforced for people who independently terminate pregnancy. Low-income women, immigrants and women of color are the most frequently targeted by law enforcement, Adams says.
Many investigations begin when a healthcare professional who opposes an abortion suspects a patient has caused one, or when they mistakenly believe that they are required by law to report their suspicions. Adams says overzealous prosecutors often lobby for or prosecute criminal charges, but may ultimately drop them due to a lack of evidence. The helpline, she says, is designed to provide support to callers who may feel terrified of what to expect next.
“We hope that callers to the helpline feel respected, supported and informed,” Adams says.
However, the line is not a counseling or counseling service for people trying to make a decision about self-management of their abortion.
“We hope that callers to the hotline feel respected, supported and informed.”
Abigail RA Aiken, assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, says people choose self-administered abortions for a variety of reasons. His recent research, based on in-depth interviews with 32 people who searched for abortion medication online, found that participants could not access an abortion clinic due to logistical issues or restrictive laws, or preferred to terminate their pregnancies independently for personal reasons, including feeling judged or stigmatized.
Aiken says that getting abortion medications online and using them without a doctor’s help is as effective as receiving abortion care from a medical professional. A study published last year in BMJ looked at the results of women in Ireland and Northern Ireland who used Women on Web to obtain abortion medication. He found that 95% of them used the drug to complete their abortion without needing surgery, a rate similar to that of women who have an abortion in a clinic.
Given the looming possibility that abortion will become increasingly difficult to access, if not illegal, in the United States in the coming years, Aiken argues that there is a public health rationale for making self-administered abortion so safe. as possible.
“I think we are right to worry about this world, the post-Roe deer people of the world are talking, “says Aiken.” We already have a sense of what that will look like from people in states like Texas, where the ability to realize the right to abortion is out of reach. .. We already have people living this world. Self-management is certainly an answer to this in many ways. ”