“For so long, self-managed abortion has been perceived as a risky and dangerous last resort,” Amy Merrill, the cofounder of Plan C, a site that rates online abortion pill retailers, told VICE at the time. “But over the last couple of years, we’ve reframed self-managed abortion as an empowered individual act.”
That’s not to say the stigma and misinformation around self-managed abortion has been completely squashed: Some patients told Fuentes and her colleagues that they were worried the procedure wouldn’t be safe or effective in ending their pregnancy, even though research has shown medication abortion is both safe and effective.
And though some used the abortion drug misoprostol to self-terminate—one of two drugs doctors prescribe for medication abortion—others tried to manage their abortions using herbs, vitamins, or birth control pills. Patients who tried these latter methods weren’t successful in ending their pregnancies, and ended up seeking out the clinic care that was out of reach for them to begin with; only this time they were further along in pregnancy, resulting in higher costs and greater distress after trying to self-manage for days or even weeks.