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Advocates for Self-Managed Abortions Are Preparing for a Post-Roe World

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Eleanor Crossey Malone displays an abortion pill packet in Belfast, Ireland.

One evening last month, half a dozen people, mostly women, met at a suburban home in upstate New York for a remote workshop. Sitting on sofas and fold-out chairs in their host’s living room, they enjoyed vegan snacks while waiting for the leader of the workshop to appear on the television above the mantle place. Bottles of wine sat to the side for drinks to follow.

“The atmosphere felt something like a radical Tupperware party,” says Kate Krimsky, one of the participants.

The participants, all advocates for abortion access, were there to learn how specific medications can be taken at home to safely induce miscarriages. They believe that the knowledge to conduct such “self-managed abortions” will become essential should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

“Medical abortions,” or those induced through the use of medication, rather than performed through surgery, are fairly routine. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical abortions account for nearly a quarter of all abortions performed in the United States. Misoprostol and mifepristone, the “abortion pills” are both safe and effective enough to be the standards offered by Planned Parenthood up to 10 weeks into pregnancy. In some parts of the world, like Latin America, they are even available directly from pharmacies, and the World Health Organization includes them on its list of essential medicines.

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