Abortion rights supporters say the method has proved to be very safe, even when doctors are not directly involved. For years, Women on Web, founded by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, has shipped prescription abortion pills to women in countries where terminating a pregnancy is illegal. Last year, Gomperts launched Aid Access to provide the same service to U.S. women.
Ushma Upadhyay, a public health scientist and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, listed other web-based initiatives that support self-managed abortion: PlanCpills.org, Women Help Women, ProgressFlorida.
“Digital health is a growing field,” she said. “It is not surprising that it is reaching abortion care.”
Abortion rights activists don’t agree on how much medical support women seeking the procedure need or how to provide it. But they agree with Guttmacher that self-managed abortion is growing.
“It provides the convenience, privacy, and autonomy that many women want,” said Elisa Wells, codirector of PlanCpills.org, which gets about 40,000 clicks a month. “We believe it’s inevitable and unstoppable.”