"There are a few reasons for the shift, Aiken said. She believes there’s a greater awareness that medication abortion is overwhelmingly safe and effective, even outside of the clinic setting, which has made self-managed abortion less stigmatized. Plus, the larger phenomenon of self-care has also normalized the practice of addressing physical and mental well-being outside of the healthcare system, as has the proliferation of telemedicine in general, which allows people to receive consultation and medication remotely.
And to anti-choice lawmakers’ chagrin, Aiken said the vast number of restrictions on abortion might be making people more open-minded about the different ways they can access the procedure. “I think a lot of hostile state laws have had a paradoxical effect: They’re intended to restrict abortion, but they’ve actually opened up a lot of different avenues for people.”
Amy Merrill, the cofounder of Plan C, a site that rates online retailers of abortion pills, sees the evolving attitudes toward self-managed abortion as an opportunity to keep chipping away at stigma, and change the narrative around the practice.
“We can start to reimagine all of these social norms around abortion methods,” Merrill said. “For so long, self-managed abortion been perceived as a risky and dangerous last resort. But over the last couple of years, we’ve reframed self-managed abortion as an empowered individual act.”