Texas women turn to black market abortion drugs

Severe restrictions make it increasingly difficult to obtain an abortion in Texas. Let’s check how things are going down here in this alley, shall we?

the Atlantic take a long and sobering look to the impact of HB2. The number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 40 to 24. Someone living in the Rio Grande Valley might have to drive 150 miles for the procedure. Undocumented women, for example, simply cannot make this journey without running the risk of being arrested. So the market for misoprostol, sold without a prescription in Mexico as the ulcer drug Cytotec, is only growing.

the Atlantic Explain :

In Mexico, miso is sold without a prescription as a medicine for ulcers (in the United States it is only available by prescription), creating the perfect conditions for black market sales in the United States. And while there are no abortion clinics left in the valley, the Mexican town of Reynosa is just across the border. There, miso can be bought in bulk from Mexican pharmacies and smuggled back over the border into Texas, where it’s sold undercover in sprawling flea markets like the one I’m researching today.

Says a casual salesman:

“When I found out how many women were asking for it, I couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “The market had tons of people selling the pill, and I still got asked about it so many times. Almost every time I was here someone asked me about it.”

Black market misoprostol is not new; we covered those flea markets before. Texas is not an isolated case either; look at louisiana.

But it’s only growing in popularity as restrictions tighten, despite many dangers: there’s no way to tell if the pills you’ve purchased are legit. There’s the lack of knowledge – how much do you take to be safe, but it still works? And self-abortion is illegal in some states. Not to mention, you shouldn’t have to sneak into a goddamn flea market to get a perfectly legal medical procedure.

Women will not stop having abortions. Look how far they’ll go in Latin America, where misoprostol has long been the underground backup:

In Chile, where abortion is illegal without exception, a hotline called Line Aborto Libre had considerable success. It is run by a group of young feminists who take turns circulating a compact cell phone. If they’re not careful, their work could land them behind bars: Getting an abortion in Chile — or telling a woman how to do it — is a crime punishable by three to five years in prison.

Some days it feels like you’re stuck on an endless escalator heading in the wrong direction.

Photo via AP Images.

Back To Top