After the state of Texas successfully passed and enacted a law that bans abortion 6 weeks after conception — functionally banning nearly all abortions in the state — and created a legal system in which citizens can deputize themselves to sue abortion “abetters” after that point, and the Supreme Court failed to intervene, many experts have suggested we are in a post-Roe v. Wade America.
In the meantime, abortion rights groups are organizing — to get people access to abortion pills. This is meaningful and deeply important.
Abortion is a basic and necessary medical procedure. Most people who want to terminate their pregnancies are already parents — and are concerned about the costs of raising another child and family budgeting. Simply put, abortion pills are an important family planning tool that helps people access the procedure up to the 10th week of pregnancy without leaving their homes.
Update: The information in this article was written in October of 2021. On June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned ‘Roe v. Wade’, effectively ending a constitutional right to an abortion. A number of states have trigger laws that will automatically outlaw abortion. Abortion pills are still accessible via advanced provision whether or not you are pregnant. For people in states or countries that may have outlawed abortion, they can speak to clinic providers overseas that will fill the prescription for them, fill it at an overseas clinic, and mail it to them.
Here’s What’s Happening with Abortion
By letting the Texas ban take place, and without intervening on the rights of people who can get pregnant, federal abortion rights are currently up in the air.
The Supreme Court could weigh in one way or another on the Texas law after the Biden administration asked them to fast-track consideration of the bill. Within just a few months, they will also hear a Mississippi abortion ban that outlaws the procedure 15 weeks after conception.
What will happen at the Supreme Court level remains to be seen. In the meantime, many Americans across the United States — and in particular Texas — need help now. And that’s where, Jezebel’s reporting reveals, the internet medication abortion provider Aid Access steps in.
Here’s What Aid Access is Doing to Get People Access to Abortion Pills
Per Jezebel, Aid Access has been utilizing a medical concept called “advanced provision.” That’s when you get medication — specifically emergency contraception — before you actually need it. That way people who can become pregnant can get a few rounds of misoprostol or mifepristone and keep it in their medicine cabinet in the case that they get pregnant and don’t realize they are pregnant before the six-week mark. Aid Access lets Texans order pills before they know they are pregnant — and has rolled out the service to all 50 states.
Advanced provision has typically worked, per Jezebel, for people working in services like Peace Corps who may be going to places that don’t provide abortion or emergency contraception.
Aid Access, which was initially founded in 2018 to help people in areas of the United States where it is difficult to access abortion, now works in two separate ways.
In the dozen-plus states that allow the pills (mifepristone and misoprostol), they can be be prescribed and mailed to the person who needs it (or who anticipates that they will need it), per the Washington Post.
For patients in other states and countries, the prescription will be written by an overseas provider and filled by a clinic across the world. The pills will then be mailed to the person who requested the prescription. These services are not cheap — they are between $105 and $150. The pills stay good for about two years.
Here’s How The Abortion Pill Works
Per Fatherly’s previous reporting, the at-home medication abortion that Aid Access provides is a two-dose pill set. The pills are mifepristone and misoprostol.
Mifepristone, the first pill, blocks progesterone, a hormone that is necessary to maintain pregnancy.
Misoprostol is the second pill that is taken, and it causes the uterus to contract and expel pregnancy tissue — it’s a lot like having a miscarriage. The second pill can be used alone.
Medication abortions can be done until the 10th week of pregnancy. At-home medication abortion is extremely safe and is “less risky than taking Tylenol,” per some researchers. Getting the pill from a telemedicine provider is just as safe as seeing a provider in-person to do so, research has also found.
Medication abortion has been approved for more than 20 years. And during the pandemic, the FDA ruled to allow at-home medication abortion to be provided during telemedicine visits in states that have not yet restricted telemedicine abortion access. Aid Access has figured out how to get this access to everyone in all 50 states.
The Bottom Line on Abortion Pills
If you live in a state where it is difficult to obtain an abortion, or in a state like Texas where it is outright illegal to obtain an abortion and impossible for you to travel out of state six weeks after conception, consider Aid Access as a way to take care of yourself and your family. It’s important to note, per Jezebel, that in five states, managing your own abortion is illegal. However, Aid Access makes it legal to obtain abortion pills no matter where you are.
It’s simply another family planning tool that will help you retain control over your life and your health. And while it’s certainly not enough to protect the rights of families and people who can get pregnant, it is a small step you can take in order to take care of yourself.