Many young, broke, and pregnant women, thanks to the strict laws, choose to have a self-induced ending of a pregnancy.
An estimated 100,000 women or more in Texas have done it. They have addressed the issue of unwanted pregnancy with the help of a friend, some online instructions, and a quick dash across the Mexican border for some pills.
The restrictive laws that took place in Texas in 2013 forced many clinics to close, which means that now less than 20 clinics serve 5.4 million women of reproductive age in the state.
Supporters of these laws say that they protect women’s health, as the regulations require clinics to upgrade to hospital standards and the doctors that perform the procedures to have formal agreements to admit patients to local hospitals.
Experts say, however, that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Texas’ restrictive laws, the numbers of these self-induced endings of pregnancies will escalate.
The number of women that have taken the option could be from 100,000 to as high as 240,000, depending on how it is calculated.
Dr. Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health in California and researcher with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas says that if there’s a bad ruling from the Supreme Court that leads to more clinic closures, the option of the self-induced ending of pregnancy will only become more common.
Women who have done the procedure describe it as “almost primal”, like they were back at the days of the Wild West, like they had to grit their teeth and get through it.
Research shows that women who opt for this do it because of the closing of their local clinic, the expense of a clinical procedure, or the costs of traveling to a distant facility.
The most common way of doing it is by taking misoprostol, which is available in Mexico without a prescription.
With the closure of the clinics, these women are forced to learn the do-it-yourself method.
The how-to instructions are easily found online on websites belonging to Women on Waves and Women on Web, the Dutch reproductive rights groups, and the World Health Organization.