*Originally published 1/12/18 by Marlene G. Fried & Susan Yanow on Rewire

Worldwide, there is an enormous gap between having the legal right to abortion and being able to access one. This is painfully obvious in the United States. While abortion is legal, its opponents have successfully decreased access to services through restrictive laws; bans on Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance coverage; and violence directed at clinics and providers.

These strategies have successfully put abortion clinic services out of reach for many people. Their long-range goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and re-criminalize abortion. In the meantime, legal and policy barriers too often render the legal right to abortion meaningless, especially for those individuals and communities who are already the most vulnerable.

The option of self-managing one’s abortion has in response become more salient. Abortion pills are a very safe option for ending an unwanted pregnancy, as long as people have accurate information about how to use them and reliable sources for obtaining the medicine. It is critically important that a person who is unable or unwilling to go to an abortion clinic knows the correct dosage of medication, how to recognize the signs of a complication, and how to get medical care if needed without risking legal prosecution.

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