About Self-Managed Abortion

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An illustration of a right hand holding pill

Self-Managed Abortion with Pills

Everyone should be able to choose the option that works best for them, whether that is care with a provider at a clinic or with telehealth abortion services, or self-managing their abortion at home without a medical provider.

One increasingly common way to self-manage an abortion is with safe, effective and FDA approved abortion pills. Decades of use all over the world has proven these pills are extremely safe and effective in ending a pregnancy. As of 2020, abortions with pills accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States – a number that has likely increased since then.

Abortion pills, sometimes known as medication abortion consists of either one medication: misoprostol or two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. In some states, these are available from clinics directly or via telemedicine. In addition, many people obtain these medications outside the formal health care system – from online sources or community networks and use them to self-manage their care. Unfortunately, in the current hostile environment, self-managing an abortion comes with legal risks on top of the logistical barriers.

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Culturally Inclusive Self-Managed Abortion

For centuries, people have ended their own pregnancies using herbs, teas, or other methods such as acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, and yoga – passed down from families and cultural traditions over generations. Many of those traditions are still used today. Herbs to self-manage an abortion are part of both ancient Indigenous knowledge and current lived experience. Herbal abortions work differently than other methods of abortion and are most successful very early in pregnancy. People who choose this option should do so with guidance from a knowledgeable person or experience herbalist with training, lived experience, or familial knowing. For many people, herbs may feel like a more natural choice or may be more accessible. No matter how someone chooses to self-manage their abortion, they should never face shame, stigma, arrest, or prosecution.
Learn more about these plants and practices and connect with a holistic abortion doula through the Holistic Abortions website.

Barriers to Abortion

With abortion bans throughout the country, millions of people are unable to get an abortion with a provider in their community, forcing some into carrying unwanted or unviable pregnancies and others into traveling out of state for care.

For many people self-managing their abortion is already the best or only option.

Everyone should have access to the full spectrum of abortion options. That means keeping our clinics open; investing in abortion funds; and ensuring people know about self-managed abortion resources and are not criminalized for accessing abortion in any way, including self-managing or helping others who choose to self-manage.

Criminalization of Self-Managed Abortion

If you or someone you know is being investigated, detained, arrested, or concerned they might be questioned by the police for having an abortion or for helping someone have an abortion, contact the Repro Legal Helpline.

Some people who end their own pregnancies are unjustly interrogated, arrested, and charged by law enforcement. While only three states explicitly make self-managing an abortion a crime, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, has identified over 40 laws that are being misused to prosecute people for self-managing their care.

States are also enacting laws that punish people who help anyone who has an abortion. They aim to cut off the sources of support that people seeking abortion would turn to and make friends, family, and those with the information pregnant people need afraid to provide assistance.

Arrests and prosecutions of people who seek to safely self-manage their abortions are likely to affect the same people who are already disproportionately impacted by prosecution, police violence, racial bias, discrimination and stigmatization: Black, Indigenous and people of color, people who are struggling financially, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ people, disabled people, young people, Trans, non-binary, gender expansive and others who face the most barriers to reproductive health care.

No one should face criminal charges, incarceration, or any form of punishment for making their own pregnancy decisions, including abortion, or for helping someone do that.

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Digital Privacy Tips

There are many ways to protect your privacy when using a computer or phone. Here are some recommendations from the Digital Defense Fund. Read their full guide here.

Use privacy-enabled browsing
‍Privacy extensions and privacy-enabled browsers don’t track or store your personal information when searching + browsing.

Turn off location services on your phone
Turn off location services to avoid your physical location being tracked. You can also turn off your phone entirely.

Download an encrypted text/chat service
Use an encrypted chat service like Signal when texting about private information.

Create a secondary email address
‍Use an encrypted email provider like ProtonMail when emailing about private information.

Download a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
‍Using a VPN like Psiphon will hide your device’s IP address even if you are using public or shared Wi-Fi.