Three circumstances that might make using abortion pills right for you

Monday, November 11, 2019 blog Share

Self-managed abortion is one option for terminating an unwanted pregnancy.

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Self-managed abortion is one option for terminating an unwanted pregnancy. It's not right for everyone, but for others, it could be the method that is the most accessible and practical, especially if one is coping with difficult and/or dangerous circumstances. Here are three situations in which a person may want to consider using abortion pills.

1. You can't physically access a clinic.

There are lots of reasons why a person may not be able to get to a clinic that provides abortion care. They may live far away from one and not be able to afford gas money. They may not be able to take a day off from work (or more than one day if they live in a state where there's a waiting period to access abortion), and afford child care, food or lodging. Self-managed abortion might be the right option under these circumstances, since the pills can be taken at home, or wherever a person feels safe, and not have to negotiate travel or other obstacles. (Keep in mind, however, that taking a day off from work and school is important after one takes the pills, so that she can take care of herself while experiencing cramps, bleeding, and other side effects that come with self-managed abortion.)

2. You don't feel safe having your partner know you're having an abortion.

Reproductive coercion is a form of domestic violence in which one person forces pregnancy, abortion, or staying pregnant upon another. This can take the form of hiding or sabotaging birth control, using sex as a threat, removing a condom during sex, etc. If you're experiencing reproductive coercion or another kind of domestic violence (or both), it's possible that you don't want your partner to know you're pregnant, or that you're seeking an abortion. Existing children and pregnancy are often used to control a person in an abusive relationship, so if you are pregnant and don't want to be, self-managed abortion could be the right means of abortion care, since it affords you the means of deciding where and when to take the pills, as well as who knows about the abortion (making someone you trust aware that you're taking abortion pills should be part of your plan for your self-managed abortion).

3. You need parental permission to get an abortion in your state.

37 US states require parental permission before a minor (a person under 18) can access abortion care. Some require the consent of both parents, others require that one both notify their parents and that the parents consent, some allow a grandparent or another adult relative to consent to the abortion, etc. In circumstances in which a young person isn't safe with their family, parental consent/notification laws are nothing but a stumbling block to safe abortion care. While judicial bypass (getting a judge to sign off on your abortion so you don't have to get parental permission or notify them) is available, this takes time and can often mean the difference between an early abortion and one that is later and therefore more difficult to obtain. Self-managed abortion might be a good option for folks who can't tell their parents about their need for abortion care, and allows them to decide where and when to have their safe abortion.

For information on abortion pills, how to get them, how they work, what to expect, and more, visit our FAQs.