So there was this piece on DIY abortions in the New Republic a bit ago, which is chilling and very, very important. I’m trying to get better about not letting things linger in my browser, but I’m going to keep this one for a while. Feeling inspired, maybe, I don’t actually know what to call it, I decided to do a little experiment as to how easy it would be to buy abortion pills online.
I did a search for “buying abortion pills online” and clicked on the link to “Abortion Pill Online.” This site sells generic misoprostol, ibuprofen-yes, ibuprofen as in Advil or Motrin, and metoclopramidem, which is anti-nausea medication. The total package (with trackable service that will deliver in 5-9 days and costs eighty nine dollars and eighty five cents)is $466.44. With standard shipping, it’s $386. 54. The pills are shipped from India. According to the piece in the New Republic, Jennie McCormack’s abortion would cost anywhere between $400 and $2000, depending on how far along she was. I could afford the pills on Abortion Pill Online, especially if I skipped the overpriced ibuprofen and if the nausea was something I could deal with.
I went back to my original search, and found a post from Women on Waves. (Women on Web in countries where abortion isn’t legal, such as Ireland.) Women on Waves/Web is an online medical abortion service with access to doctors (you can speak to them directly). In fact, they have a list of the places on line selling fake abortion pills, and Abortion Pills Online is one of them. Not surprisingly, some places will take your money and never send the package, or will send you things that are not Mifepristone, Mifegyne or RU 486. Women on Web’s site has a pregnancy calculator, since the medicine works best earlier in the pregnancy. There are also safe abortion hotlines in countries like Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, etc, so that folks there can use pills like misoprostol themselves, and lots of other important projects.
I would not buy an abortion pill online. I’m also not pregnant, and I have a lot of access to safe and legal abortion and contraception. I don’t live in Mississippi, where there’s one clinic (for now), making legal abortion a technicality that no one can actually get. You should be able to get an abortion pill, and you should be able to decide if you want to have the abortion in your own home or if you want it in the doctor’s office. That’s a personal health decision. During my brief sojourn into abortion pill buying, I learned a lot of big science words, which you should know if you’re someone who can pregnant.
If I was actually buying the pills because I needed them, I would probably be really paranoid, and justifiably so, as to whether or not the thing I was buying would actually work. But when we talk about abortion access for everyone, we don’t mean the theoretical ability to find something and then buy it while desperately hoping it works and won’t endanger the health of the person taking it. That’s something, but it’s not access and it’s certainly not reproductive justice.