Ending the Stigma and Prosecution of Self-Administered Abortions (US)

In just the first three months of this year, 431 abortion restrictions were introduced at the state level. Plus, 2017 has seen the confirmation of anti-choice Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule (an international policy that prohibits nongovernmental organizations across the globe that receive US family planning funds from advocating for or even discussing abortion). Add in the 338 state-level restrictions passed between 2010-2016, and it is increasingly clear that abortion access– at least in the short term — is slipping away in this country.

While few states explicitly ban individuals from ending their pregnancies at home without direct supervision by state-sanctioned physicians, there are 38 states that are attempting to frame abortions performed without a licensed physician as an unlawful practice of medicine. However, under Roe v. Wade such attempts are actually unconstitutional, according to multiple legal experts with whom I spoke.

“For those who’ve studied the impact of laws intended to restrict abortion and seen the impact on already marginalized communities, it will come as no surprise that laws and prosecutions that criminalize self-induced abortion have been disproportionately used against poor, immigrant, or young women and women of color,” said Diaz-Tello.

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