Demand for abortion pills has increased dramatically in the United States following the Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Companies that prescribe abortion pills — after telehealth consultations — have reported more web traffic and dating requests in recent weeks, including in states with “trigger” laws where abortion has already been banned or heavily restricted.
Hey Jane, a virtual clinic that currently ships abortion pills to six states, saw 10 times its normal web traffic and a doubling in demand the week after Roe’s cancellation.
“We are more than prepared to meet this surge in demand and have been preparing for this reality for months,” said Kiki Freedman, CEO of Hey Jane, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Just the Pill, a nonprofit organization that provides abortion pills in four states, said in a statement that the company is “ready” for the challenges that arise at the end of deer “with breakthrough innovation that makes reproductive health care accessible to everyone.”
Dr Julie Amaon, medical director of Just the Pill, said the association received “about 25 appointment requests per day compared to 16 per day” before the SCOTUS decision.
The organization has even set up a new program including mobile clinics along the borders of states where abortion is banned to give patients greater access with reduced travel costs.
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ELISA WELLS/PLAN C/AFP via Getty Mifepristone (L) and misoprostol tablets
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Medical abortions, often called the abortion pill, are the more popular option compared to surgical abortions. It involves taking the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol a day or two apart to end an early pregnancy.
“Mifepristone plus misoprostol are 95-98% effective in terminating a pregnancy before 11 weeks,” says Susan Yanow, consultant for international nonprofit Women Help Women activist and US spokesperson for SAAS, Self -Managed Abortions; Safe and supported. “People in the United States have been using pills to self-manage abortions since at least 2000, and even longer in the rest of the world.”
The pills can be taken at home, eliminating the need to drive to a clinic, miss work for long periods of time, or worry about child care.
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Although the process can vary, Yanow says the most common method is to swallow a mifepristone, wait 24 to 36 hours, then take 4 misoprostol. Mifespristone blocks progesterone, which causes changes in the uterine lining and detachment from pregnancy, while misoprostol causes contractions.
Cramps and contractions may begin about 1-4 hours after taking misoprostol, emptying the uterus, much like a miscarriage. The pain can be managed at home, usually with ibuprofin and heating pads, although experts recommend that a hospital can be reached within an hour in an emergency. Most people miscarry within 4 to 5 hours of the onset of cramps, but some persistent cramps may linger for a day or two.
“What these pills do is cause a miscarriage, which happens in 15-20 percent of all pregnancies anyway,” Yanow says. “So if someone is using these pills and needs to see a doctor, they will get exactly the same treatment as if they had a spontaneous miscarriage.”
And that’s what they should say, she stresses. The substances cannot be detected in the body because they metabolize rapidly. “If they say they used abortion pills, they could be criminalized [in states where abortion is illegal].”