A few days ago, I posted about a woman in New York charged with “self-abortion”. Again, this is a rare charge, but I found this article today entitled “Abortion is Legal: So Why is Self-Abortion Care a Crime?“.

…if a woman decides that the best thing for her to do is to self-induce an abortion, she should have access to the best information available on how to do this safely (ie with medicines, NOT herbs) and know where to go in case of a complication.  Criminalizing her choices does not protect her health. If we believe that women have the right to control their fertility, then we must also trust women with the right to choose the methods that make the most sense for them.

A few things spring to mind as to why this is a very bad idea. One is the fact that making abortion drugs available for at-home use might cause a higher rate of coerced abortion. Coerced abortion is still legal in Canada, and sometimes the only person who actually asks if you’re being coerced is medical staff. Remove these middlemen/women, and coercion becomes all the easier.

Since coercion isn’t a crime, what about slipping over-the-counter purchased mifepristone into your partner’s drink? Is that a criminal offense?

I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to make self-abortion a regularity, given the possible mental health effects, the possible abuses of these kinds of drugs, and the isolation a woman must experience as she self-aborts her child.

Criminalizing this “choice” may in fact protect her health and save the lives of both mother and child.


Andrea adds: Same article I linked to for a game of Count the Euphemisms, “Self-Abortion Care” being the first one I spotted, in the title.

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