What to Consider Before Opting for Abortion Pills by Mail

When faced with an unexpected pregnancy, abortion pills by mail may seem like a quick, easy, and private choice. It is important that you are well-informed about all your options, however. There are a few things you may want to read & consider before opting for abortion pills by mail.

The Process:

First, let’s take a look at the process. You can choose a chemical abortion up until 10-11 weeks (about 2 and a half months) of pregnancy. After this, the fetus is too large and will require a surgical abortion. If you opt for a chemical abortion, you will be given two rounds of medication. First, Mifepristone, which will block the pregnancy hormone thereby cutting off the lifeline to the growing embryo. It is important to note that the procedure can often be reversed at this stage. Then, you will take Misoprostol, which will cause severe cramping and heavy to extreme bleeding, which can be prolonged. This will push the embryo out of your uterus. A chemical abortion can cost anywhere between $150-$600.

Originally, a chemical abortion could only be dispensed by a qualified medical provider, in person. Due to Covid, however, a court order blocked part of the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy and allowed abortion pills to be dispensed through the mail. In 2021, it was ruled that in-person medical oversight would not be enforced for the rest of the public health emergency. In the same year, the removal of in-person dispensing requirements became permanent.

Chemical abortions, even by mail, are celebrated as being convenient and safe, but is this the whole truth? Let us look at three considerations.

Consideration #1: Side Effects and Adverse Effects: How Safe is it?

  • Side effects of chemical abortions include severe cramping, heavy to extreme bleeding, infection & possible sepsis, pro-longed bleeding & hemorrhage, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, dizziness, and failed abortion resulting in surgical intervention.
  • According to the FDA over 3,800 adverse effects were reported between 2000-2019.
  • According to Medicaid data, out of 423,000 abortions, 121,283 resulted in ER visits.
  • Between 2002-2015, abortion related ER visits increased by 500%.
  • Chemical abortions have a 53% higher rate of resulting in an ER visit.
  • In 2020, we have seen a dramatic increase in chemical abortions and a subsequent uptick in ambulance calls after an abortion.

The available data alone, from the FDA, Medicaid, and peer-reviewed studies from the U.S. and Europe point to a reality in which chemical abortion is not always safe. Unfortunately, poor data quality and underreporting further prove this truth.

Consideration #2: inadequate quality of data and underreporting. How credible are the claims of safety?

  • There is evidence pointing to a substantial number of complications being underreported.
  • The Termination of Pregnancy reporting handbook was last updated in 1997.
  • In 2000, all adverse effects had to be reported. In 2016, this changed to only deaths.
  • Reporting is voluntary on the part of the states, and this does not include self-managed abortions.
  • There are only three studies used to back the assertations that chemical abortions are very safe. All three of these studies were funded by organizations that directly profit from abortion.

Side effects and adverse effects. Poor data and underreporting. These are true of all chemical abortions, and they are compounded by loose regulations and poor integrity of the abortion pills by mail system.

Consideration #3: The abortion pills by mail system is loosely regulated and has shown poor integrity.

  • Identity, pregnancy, gestational age, and freedom from coercion or abuse are often not verified before dispensing abortion pills through the mail.
  • Abortion pills by mail rely on a loosely regulated system of clinics, online pharmacies, video calls, and online evaluation forms.
  • There is not a single, regulated, and credible system to dispense abortion pills by mail.

So, even though you may be told that self-managing your abortion by opting for abortion pills by mail is a safe and easy option, there are some things you should consider before making this decision. It may be in your best interest to seek the support of trained advocates and medical professionals while making this decision. You can find this support, and much more, for free, at the Cline Center. No insurance necessary.

Call 601-487-1064, today.

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