By Marie Solis
The nature of self-managed abortion means that, for decades, little has been known about how it’s practiced in the United States, or if it’s practiced at all. The method usually involves sourcing pills on the internet, and taking them at home, outside of a traditional clinic or hospital setting that would otherwise be able to give us an idea of how many people are receiving their healthcare services.
But that’s starting to change. New research published in the journal BMC Women’s Health shows that women in Texas—one of the states with the most restrictions on abortion—attempted to self-manage abortions because an in-clinic procedure was out of reach for them. Their reasons were many, but largely centered on cost, which was prohibitive for these patients, and the distance to the nearest clinic.
These are common barriers to abortion care, but for patients in Texas they were made worse by House Bill 2, an unconstitutional state law that went into effect in 2013, shuttering more than half of Texas clinics before it was struck down in 2016. Researchers interviewed 18 women who attempted to self-manage their abortions in Texas between 2012 and 2014, nine of whom attempted to do so after HB2 was enacted.
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