BUST Magazine: Cut The Bullshit: How Online Pharmacies Can Help People Have Safe And Private Abortions

Plan C's own op-ed was featured in BUST Magazine. 

Barriers to abortion care are common; 90% of US counties have no abortion provider, creating vast “abortion deserts.” Annika, a 28-year-old from Colorado, noted that "it’s 50 minutes to an hour to the nearest clinic, and I don’t have any way of getting there myself. There’s no public transport that goes there, and a taxi or Uber would just be too much on top of the cost of the procedure.” The cost of the procedure was also a barrier for Vonda, a 35-year-old with 3 children who lives in Texas. For her, it was a question of paying the rent or paying for an abortion. 

These experiences of ordinary women who were trying to access a legal health service are included in a study released earlier this month in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The study looked at the motivations and experiences of people seeking medication abortion online in the United States. The findings document—in the words of women themselves—what we already know, that depending on where you live and how much money you have, an abortion can be hard to come by. But the study also revealed a possible solution to the abortion access problem, one that was seen as both convenient and desirable by women—making abortion pills available through online pharmacies. 

Read the full article here.

The Atlantic: Illegal Abortion Will Mean Abortion By Mail What to expect when you’re expecting your abortifacient pill delivery

by Olga Khazan

With the prospect of a more conservative Supreme Court on the horizon, some progressive women have begun to fear what will happen if Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion, is overturned. Some of these prophecies have centered on a popular meme in the pro-choice community: The coat hanger.

During a recent rally, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon held up a wire coat hanger as a warning that we should not return to the previous generation’s means of obtaining illicit abortions. And Representative Lois Frankel, a Democrat from Florida, banged a coat hanger on the table at a briefing while discussing the latest Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

And this isn’t counting the many happy hours in progressive cities that have become peppered with gallows-humor cracks about coat hangers and back alleys.

But medical technology has progressed significantly since Roe was decided in 1973, and we—realistically, fortunately—won’t see a return to women using coat hangers or other implements to self-abort. Instead, it’s more likely that more and more women will turn to shady online pharmacies to buy abortion pills through the mail—a practice that is already occurring with surprising frequency and effectiveness around the world.

Read the full article here.

The Philly Inquirer: Abortion pills are safe and effective. Why can't U.S. women buy them online?

From Philly.com:

The researchers behind a project called Plan C take a pragmatic view, arguing that women are already going it alone. To help them, the researchers ordered abortion pills without prescriptions from 18 online websites — the kind the FDA considers rogues. The results were published as a study that became Plan C’s online “report card,” which rates the websites based on product quality, price, and shipping time.

Although two orders were never received and some mifepristone doses were skimpy, the researchers concluded “self-sourcing pills from the internet is a rational option.”

“We don’t advocate that women do this,” said public health specialist Elisa Wells, co-director of Plan C. “We know women are already doing this, so we believe they should have access to good information.”

Read the full article here.

WBUR: Self-Induced Abortions Shouldn't Be A Crime, Mass. Medical Society Says

Self-Induced Abortions Shouldn't Be A Crime, Mass. Medical Society Says

May 7, 2018

by Chelsea Conaboy and Carey Goldberg

At its latest meeting, the Massachusetts Medical Society took a new stand: Women who attempt to end a pregnancy on their own should not be considered criminals.

Self-induced abortion is explicitly banned in seven states, and more have laws on the books that could be used to prosecute women for self-induction, according to a recent report.

The 25,000-member medical society passed a resolution saying it would advocate against “any legislative efforts or laws in Massachusetts or federally to criminalize self-induced abortion.”

It also encouraged its delegates to the national American Medical Association to propose a similar measure there.

“Criminalizing this will actually drive women away from care,” says Dr. Rebekah Rollston of the Cambridge Health Alliance, who helped spearhead the resolution. “Where women really need to access medical care, they may fear that they’ll be reported to legal authorities.”

The resolution did not come in reaction to a pending bill or petition. Rather, Rollston says, it emulates a recent policy passed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

And it responds to a political and legal climate in which efforts to limit or ban abortion are multiplying. As access diminishes, self-induced abortions are making a comeback, she says.

Read the full article by clicking below. 

http://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/05/07/mass-medical-society-self-induced-abortion

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Reproductive Health Care by Mail

Reproductive Health Care by Mail

It is time to give US women the convenience, confidentiality, and autonomy of birth control and abortion pills that women elsewhere enjoy.

From the article:

For more than 10 years, women around the world have been able to self-diagnose their pregnancies and order highly effective and safe early-abortion pills online or obtain them from a local pharmacy, often without a prescription. Services such as Women on WebWomen Help Women, and, more recently, safe2choose offer online consultations and express delivery of abortion pills directly to women in their homes, all without a physical exam. These sites also offer information and support to women about what to expect during the abortion process. Not surprisingly, research has found that women value the convenience and privacy of online services. Research has also demonstrated that the safety and effectiveness of this model are comparable to those of services delivered through clinics.

Unfortunately, none of the services that supply pills in other countries will ship them to the United States, despite receiving nearly 10,000 requests per month from women here. These pills are the same ones given to women who choose a medication abortion at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. But because abortion is so highly politicized in the United States, access to these pills has been severely restricted since the day that mifepristone (RU-486, also known as the French abortion pill) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000. Unlike the vast majority of medications, which clinicians prescribe and patients pick up at a pharmacy, mifepristone can only be shipped to doctors who have specially registered with the manufacturer.

Chicago Tribune: Women can already receive abortion pills by mail in 4 states, what's next?

by Nara Schoenberg

Hailed in the 1990s as “the pill that changes everything,” the abortion pill mifepristone (also known as RU-486 and Mifeprex) got off to a slow start after Food and Drug Administration approval in 2000.

But now, the pill is at a crossroads, with 31 percent of American abortion patients choosing pill-induced abortion over surgery, and bold new initiatives dangling the prospect of dramatically increased access. The Gynuity study is allowing women in Maine, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon to confer with a doctor from home via video chat, and then get the pills delivered to their homes by mail. In California, women may soon be offered an even more streamlined medication-by-mail option. In Hawaii, the American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit that could open the door to ordinary doctors nationwide prescribing the pill, and women picking it up at their local pharmacies.

“I feel optimistic,” said Francine Coeytaux, co-director of Plan C , an abortion-rights project that hopes to offer pills by mail in California soon via a demonstration study, and then expand to other states as well. Plan C offers a website with information about pill-based abortion and anticipates that established international telemedicine-abortion initiatives, such as Women on Web, will find a way to ship pills to women in the U.S.

“It’s not about what we’re doing. It’s a fact. It’s happening. It has so much potential, and there are so many ways in which it’s beginning to happen, that nobody’s going to be able to stop this,” Coeytaux said.

 

Read the full article on the Chicago Tribune website here. 

 

Cycles+Sex Podcast // Politics in our Privates

On November 4, Plan C cofounder Francine Coeytaux spoke on a panel about reproductive rights and politics at the Cycles+Sex conference in Los Angeles.

Participants:

Lauren Bille, founder Cycles+Sex

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, founder, Period Equity

Francine Coeytaux, cofounder, Plan C

Assembly Member Cristina García

Ruth Dawson, ACLU
 

The panel was captured as a podcast. You can listen and read more here.

"Mystery Shopper" Report Card now live

CLICK HERE to view our "Mystery Shopper" Report Card: The results of our study with Gynuity Health Projects.


Photos of Abortion Pills Obtained Online

All of the pills pictured here contained real active ingredients as determined by chemical assay. Two brands (Pregout and Pregnot) contained considerably less misoprostol than indicated on the label, which may make them less effective.

  MIFEGEST KIT   Manufactured by Zydus Healthcare (Fortiza)  Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)  Quality: Acceptable

MIFEGEST KIT

Manufactured by Zydus Healthcare (Fortiza)

Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)

Quality: Acceptable

  PREGOUT KIT    Manufactured by Akums Drug and Pharmaceuticals  Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)  Quality: the mifepristone pills contained acceptable levels of active ingredient; the misoprostol pills contained low levels of active ingredient.  Note: each blister bubble on the package was pricked with a pin, which could account for the low level of misoprostol content (it degrades when exposed to air)

PREGOUT KIT 

Manufactured by Akums Drug and Pharmaceuticals

Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)

Quality: the mifepristone pills contained acceptable levels of active ingredient; the misoprostol pills contained low levels of active ingredient.

Note: each blister bubble on the package was pricked with a pin, which could account for the low level of misoprostol content (it degrades when exposed to air)

  PREGNOT KIT   Manufactured by Akums Drug and Pharmaceuticals  Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)  Quality: the mifepristone pills contained acceptable levels of active ingredient; the misoprostol pills contained low levels of active ingredient.  Note: each blister bubble on the package was pricked with a pin, which could account for the low level of misoprostol content (it degrades when exposed to air)      Compiled by Plan C , November 27, 2017

PREGNOT KIT

Manufactured by Akums Drug and Pharmaceuticals

Contains: 1 mifepristone tablet (200 mg), 4 misoprostol tablets (200 mcg)

Quality: the mifepristone pills contained acceptable levels of active ingredient; the misoprostol pills contained low levels of active ingredient.

Note: each blister bubble on the package was pricked with a pin, which could account for the low level of misoprostol content (it degrades when exposed to air)

 

Compiled by Plan C , November 27, 2017

BUST Magazine: Special Delivery: Abortion Pills By Mail

 photo via BUST

photo via BUST

by Elisa Wells

When my mail carrier handed me the small brown envelope, I’m sure she had no idea she was handing me the means to have a safe, private abortion at home. I had ordered the pills a week and a half earlier off a somewhat sketchy website and, frankly, was wondering if they would ever appear. I say “sketchy” in that the offer seemed too good to be true — abortion pills for less than $200, no prescription needed. The “Whoa, trouble ahead!” warning from my McAfee security system certainly gave me pause, but by the time I received the fraud alert call from by credit card company (at the same time that Western Union was calling my other line to warn me) it was too late to turn back; I had already placed the order. 

Read the full article HERE.

Read original study in Contraception Journal:

Study: Exploring the Feasibility of Obtaining Mifepristone and Misoprostol from the Internet 

Commentary: Self-Sourced Online and Self-Directed at Home: A New Frontier for Abortion in the United States