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American women are stockpiling abortion pills amid political uncertainty

Katie Balevic   

American women are stockpiling abortion pills amid political uncertainty
  • Donald Trump's views on abortion are muddled at best and threatening at worst.
  • GOP lawmakers are targeting access to IVF, IUDs, birth control pills, and emergency contraception.

Donald Trump's views on a national abortion ban have not exactly been transparent.

In March, the repeat presidential candidate seemed to support the idea: "The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15, and I'm thinking in terms of that, and it'll come out to something that's very reasonable," he said during an interview.

Previously, he floated a 16-week ban because he liked the roundness of the number.

But then, in April, after Arizona's Supreme Court revived a near-total abortion ban dating back to 1864, Trump said the court had gone too far and that he wouldn't sign a national abortion ban if it came across his desk. "It's all about state's rights, and it will be straightened out," he said after the ruling.

The flip-flopping probably has something to do with the line Trump is trying to walk between many within his base who support a national ban on abortion and the women voters he'll need to show up for him on election day if he wants to defeat President Joe Biden in November.

But some women are not waiting to find out whether Trump will win and which side of the abortion issue he'll land on. Instead, they are preparing for the worst.

A step toward the worst came today when Louisiana lawmakers became the first in the nation to classify the abortion pill as a controlled substance, making it criminal to possess the medication without a prescription.

Merle Hoffman, a longtime abortion activist, told Business Insider that, in the face of all these events, some women have started to stockpile abortion pills like Mifepristone.

"Individuals may have to stockpile, and I've heard of people starting to do that, but not everybody can," Hoffman said.

How to stockpile abortion pills

Debbie McNabb, a retired gynecologist based in Texas, told Business Insider she only knows of one online source that will give patients abortion medication if they're not currently pregnant: AidAccess.

"You can get it ahead of time. You can stockpile. It is expensive," McNabb said. "I want to say it's $150, but if people had the financial resources, they could do that. In the United States, I don't think you can go to an out-of-state clinic and get medication unless you personally are pregnant."

People can also stockpile emergency contraception, which is easier to access because it is available over the counter, McNabb said.

"The only other option I'm seeing, there are women who have set up self-help groups that are bringing in Mifepristone. They're basically trafficking it under the radar, and they go to great lengths to keep their operation a secret," she said. "They acquire the pills at pharmacies in Mexico where you don't have to say that you're pregnant."

Beyond that, McNabb said, people are choosing to limit their reproductive options surgically by getting their tubes tied.

"We've already seen women going ahead and getting tubals and their partners going ahead and getting vasectomies. Maybe they thought they'd have a pregnancy in the future, but then they realize, 'No, I really don't want a pregnancy, and let's pull the trigger on that,'" she said.

The abortion rights movement is on the defensive

Aside from discussions on a nationwide abortion ban, the US Supreme Court is due to issue an opinion this summer on a case that could limit access to the abortion pill nationwide.

Though the justices appear skeptical of limiting access to the pill, their discussions have alluded to the potential revival of the Comstock Act of 1873, which banned the mailing of materials considered to be "obscene." That could be used to criminalize mailing abortion pills across state lines.

In this climate, Hoffman said the abortion rights movement is in an "extremely defensive political position" and is fighting for their rights state by state.

"So how much more will we have to do — in the richest country in the world with all the medical ability, scientific information, and knowledge — to be able to control our own fertility and determine our own life's course?" Hoffman asked.

The anti-abortion movement won't stop at 15 weeks, she added.

"The purists are not going to be happy with a 15-week ban. They're not going to be happy with anything except a total ban," Hoffman said, adding that reproductive destiny is "embedded in our bodies."

"And because it's within women's bodies, it's open to manipulation and control by the state."


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