Neither snow nor rain nor Republicans can stop the abortion pill from arriving via the US Postal Service. That’s right — thanks to a new service called Aid Access, abortion pills are now available to women in the United States by mail.
Aid Access provides medical abortions for $110-150 (depending on where you live) but will happily work with you if you can’t afford it. The organization was founded by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, who is also the woman behind Women on Web, a nonprofit that provides abortion pills to women in countries where access is limited.
Aid Access requires users to complete an online screening to ensure eligibility. Anyone looking for the pills must be in their first nine weeks of pregnancy as the abortion pills are less likely to be effective after then.
Once you’ve been approved, a doctor will write a prescription and send it to an Indian pharmacy they’ve deemed trustworthy. The pill then arrives via snail mail, accompanied by instructions on how to take the pills effectively.
Abortions are even available to those who live in restrictive states like Texas. The only difference is that a European doctor will write the prescription instead of a U.S. doctor.
So what are you actually getting if Aid Access prescribes you the abortion pills? A doctor fills the scripts for misoprostol and mifepristone; which, when used in conjunction, is 97% effective in inciting abortion within the first trimester. According to The Atlantic, both misoprostol and mifepristone account for one-third of the abortions in the U.S.
Aid Access has actually been prescribing abortion pills throughout the U.S. since April. However, the organization decided to keep its presence under the radar due to strong anti-abortion lobbyists and groups. Dr. Gomperts has long feared that pro-life groups would shut down the website, which kept her from distributing in the U.S. in the first place. But eventually, she decided that she had to step in.
Dr. Gomperts told The Atlantic,
“I got an email from a woman who was living in a car with two kids. Something had to be done.”
You may be wondering: Are online abortion pills safe? As long as you know where you are getting them from, then yes. In the case of Aid Access, Gomperts is a licensed physician who fills the scripts herself and then carries out the prescriptions at a pharmacy she trusts. These online prescriptions are certainly a much better alternative to the often dangerous ways that women sometimes attempt to get an abortion.
One study done by the University of Texas found that out of 1,000 women who used abortion medication purchased online, 95% of the women used the instructions correctly. Comparatively, The New York Times reported that in 2015, there were over 700,000 Google searches for self-induced abortions — phrasing included everything from “how to have a miscarriage” to herb-infused abortion remedies to “perform a coat hanger abortion.”
Women deserve better than a coat hanger abortion. If Aid Access decreases the amount of unsafe, at-home abortions even by a little, then women’s reproductive rights and health care are headed in a safer, healthier direction.