Decriminalize Self-Managed and Supported Non-Clinical Abortion

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It may be surprising to consider that someone might need to end their own pregnancy. Most people in the United States who have abortions do so with help from from healthcare providers in clinical settings. But others self-administer abortion pills, use traditional herbs, or employ other means of ending their own pregnancies for various reasons. Mounting anti-abortion restrictions, bans on public funding for abortion, clinic closures, travel and child care costs, and abortion stigma have pushed clinic-based abortion out of reach for growing numbers of people for whom self-directed care is now the only available or affordable abortion option. Because of modern medical advancements, self-managed abortion with pills can be safe and effective, if people have access to reliable information, quality medications, and confidential backup medical care, if needed.

But while medication abortion can make self-managed care physically safe, there are still legal risks. Tragically, throughout the United States, people have been arrested — and some even jailed — for ending their own pregnancies. Prosecutions for self-managed abortion and pregnancy loss disproportionately impact people living in poverty, immigrants, people of color, and other marginalized communities, due to racial disparities that lead to worse pregnancy outcomes and a higher likelihood of being policed. Instead of policing and prosecuting people for self-managed abortion, we should work to ensure that once someone decides to end a pregnancy, they have safe and effective methods available to them. No one should fear arrest or jail for ending their own pregnancy or for seeking medical help in this situation. Everyone should feel safe, affirmed, and unafraid, regardless of the method or setting of their abortion.

We invite you to join the growing movement to support people’s full access to safe abortion methods, and oppose the criminalization of people who self-manage their abortions and those tho help them.

By signing on, you are not joining any group or further committing yourself to any action; you are authorizing the use of your name, along with the others on the list, in advocacy efforts and public education campaigns to improve conditions and protections for people who self-manage abortion.

We, the undersigned, believe:

  1. When someone has decided to end a pregnancy, they should be able to do so safely and effectively.
  2. People should have access to a full array of safe options for ending a pregnancy, which may include self-administered abortion with pills.
  3. No one should have to fear arrest or jail for ending their own pregnancy, experiencing a pregnancy loss, or seeking medical help in these situations.
  4. Those who assist or support someone else who ends their own pregnancy should be able to do so without fear of policing or prosecution. The arrest of loved ones, counselors, and caregivers for assisting or supporting someone who self-administers an abortion isolates the pregnant person, limits their options, and could potentially harm their health.

Together, we are making this call to repeal criminal laws targeting people who self-manage abortion, reform laws to prevent misuse by prosecutors, and reinforce existing protections for abortion rights to include freedom from criminalization. We should all be able to self-determine our reproductive lives on our own terms, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. That includes people who self-manage abortions — people who, as much as anyone, deserve the power to determine if, when, and how to define, create, and sustain their families with dignity.