Women Resort to Experimental Treatments to End Their Pregnancies
Photo courtesy of the New York Times
Written by Bonnie Chapman
The year 2022 marked a turning point in the history of women's reproductive rights, as Roe vs Wade was overturned, sparking a public outcry. For half a century, the landmark ruling had granted women the right to choose an abortion. Originally deemed a violation of the fourteenth amendment, which safeguards citizenship rights, equal protection, apportionment, and civil war debt.
The reversal of Roe has left those with ovaries in a state of panic, leading them to seek out experimental methods of terminating pregnancies in states where such procedures are now prohibited. Tragically, this is a grim echo of the past, where dangerous back-alley abortions were performed with crude wire hangers.
Recently, Walgreens faced backlash from states such as California for discontinuing the provision of abortion pills in some areas where it remains legal. In response, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on March 6th, 2023 that California will no longer engage in business with Walgreens, or any other company that endangers women's lives through their actions. Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in Texas by anti-abortion groups and doctors claims that the drug Mifepristone is not safe for use in medication abortion.
The lawsuit accuses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of prioritizing politics over science when they approved the drug over two decades ago. It's important to note that medical abortions via pills typically involve the use of Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
According to The Guardian, a study shows that misoprostol-only abortions are successful 88% of the time, while the two-step regimen boasts a 98% success rate. However, misoprostol-only abortions are more complex and carry higher risks of complications, such as fetal abnormalities, bleeding, cramping, and pain. Additionally, they entail costly follow-up care in the US's privatized healthcare system. The Guardian spoke to Rebecca Goperts, a Dutch abortion specialist, who opined that the two drugs combined offer the best possible treatment, and their high safety profile should make them available over the counter to all.
CNN reports that a group of five women have taken legal action against the state of Texas, citing the abortion ban as a danger to their health.
Their personal accounts describe the impact of the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Amanda's fallopian tube was irreversibly damaged after being forced to wait until her condition was septic before receiving necessary abortion care. Lauren M. had to leave Texas to receive an abortion after discovering that one of her twins was not viable, putting her and her other baby's life at risk. Lauren H. received a heartbreaking fetal diagnosis two weeks after the ban was overturned, and was compelled to travel to Seattle for the procedure. Now pregnant again, Lauren H. fears for her family's safety in Texas.
Anna also had to travel out of state after her water broke, running the risk of septic shock or premature labor. Ashley's physician chose to describe her abortion as "vanishing twin syndrome" instead of documenting the life-saving procedure, causing her to travel out of state. Rather than demand a total ban lift, the lawsuit requests clarity from the court that physicians can perform abortions when they determine, in good faith, that a physical emergent medical condition poses a direct risk to the pregnant person's health or fertility.