According to Mexican abortion rights activists, after the Roe v. Wade to Mexico.
Activists say hundreds have inundated abortion rights organizations across the border with phone calls and social media requests for access to abortion drugs and help with the process.
“We envisioned this, but not at the pace it’s happening,” said Sandra Cardona, founder of Red Necesito Abortar, Spanish for “I Need to Abort Network,” an abortion rights group in Monterrey, Mexico.
Before Roe was overthrown, it had previously been more common for Mexican women who could afford to cross the border to seek abortion services in the United States. But after Mexico decriminalized abortion in September 2021, and with recent abortion restrictions in some US states, Mexican activist networks say they’ve seen a surge in calls from desperate American women.
“When the decision was made, it was like a loudspeaker,” Cardona said. She said five to seven women a week from the United States used to contact her clinic for help, but now that number has risen to 70 to 100 a week.
“You have to see the fear this has created in the population,” she said.
“They never say they want an abortion,” Cardona said of the women who call. Instead, she said, they say how many weeks it’s been and ask, “Will there be a problem?”
The four Mexican abortion rights groups surveyed said that while the majority of calls came from Texas, they had increasingly seen women from other states, including Oklahoma, Ohio, Florida and even Idaho and Wisconsin.
Verónica Cruz, the founder of Las Libres, Spanish for “The Free Ones,” an abortion rights network that has operated in Mexico for 22 years, said that before the decision to Roe, about 10 US women were contacting her group every day, but since then it’s been 100 a day.
She said that in recent months her network has seen women say they have been denied abortions even after being raped and in cases where their lives were in danger or their pregnancies had severe fetal abnormalities.
“It’s just brutal,” she said.
Even abortion networks farther from the US border are receiving more requests, indicating how far some women are willing to travel for treatment.
Aborto Seguro Chihuahua, Spanish for “Safe Abortion Chihuahua,” used to only get two or three calls a month from people in the US seeking information or help, said co-founder Laura Dorado. That number has increased to about 20 per month, although the city of Chihuahua is not along the US border, she said.
“Women who want an abortion will have an abortion, they will find a new way,” she said. “We are here to hold her hand and accompany her.”
“We show our solidarity”
The networks in Mexico primarily connect women with access to abortion drugs, not procedures, and guide them through the process or provide them with a safe, convenient place to go through the process. Abortion drugs are available over the counter in Mexican pharmacies.
Crystal Pérez Lira, founder of the Tijuana-based Bloodys network, said the groups are there to help people with “any situation or question.”
Some of the women may travel to Mexico to receive the drugs and then return to their own homes in the US, activists said. Others are joined by activists in Mexico. For women in the US who can’t make the trip across the border, some abortion rights networks mail donated drugs or work to deliver them directly to women for free, the groups said.
Dorado said women in the US also reached out to ask if the network could offer workshops to educate others about medical abortion.
Since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, the drug combination of mifepristone and misoprostol has been a safe and effective option for women in the US who want an abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that advocates for abortion rights, more than half of all abortions in the United States in 2020 involved medical abortions. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, a hormone needed for pregnancy growth. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus.
While the two-pill method has been approved in the US, the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both advise that using a misoprostol-only method can also be used as an alternative when a patient does not have access to both has medication.
In December, the FDA announced that it would permanently allow patients to receive abortion pills in the mail and the prescription through an online consultation.
Opponents of abortion laws in several states have called for stricter restrictions on medical abortion.
Many states require doctors to administer abortion drugs. And 19 states require the clinician providing the drug to be physically present when it’s administered, effectively prohibiting the use of telemedicine. according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Las Libres’ Cruz said the groups walked women through the WHO’s protocol on using abortion drugs to safely terminate their pregnancies at home.
She said she hopes the networks could share her years of advocacy experience in a country with severe abortion restrictions with women in the US
“The only thing we’re doing is showing our solidarity with the women who need it,” Cruz said. “Women have always had abortions, they will always have abortions, and abortions will always be necessary. The legal restrictions only endanger people.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/us-women-look-mexico-medication-abortions-roe-reversal-rcna41318 More US women are looking to Mexico for medical abortions after Roe reversal