Since the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the network has carried an average of 100 doses across the border every day, organizers say.
“Drugs are getting into women’s hands in a thousand ways, in creative ways,” said Veronica Cruz Sanchez, a Mexican abortion activist whose group, Las Libres, helps run the network.
Abortion in Texas, which involves the delivery of drug abortion — the most commonly used abortion method in the country — has been effectively banned following a June High Court ruling.
Last week, Whole Woman Health, the largest independent abortion provider in Texas and operator of the last clinic in the state’s sprawling Rio Grande Valley border region, announced it was closing its centers in the state with plans to reopen in neighboring New York City. Will give Mexico.
Although traveling to other states for abortion is an option, it is not an easy one. Women who undergo multi-day abortion treatment are often asked to live in the state where they started the procedure – such trips are prohibitively expensive for some.
So the Mexican network’s daring — and illegal — operation has emerged as something of a way for women seeking abortions in South Texas and beyond, drawing on the model of activist-led abortion access already existing in Mexico.
Sandra Cardona, whose group Nescito Abortor Mexico is part of the Mexican abortion network, says her group alone received more than 70 requests for help from women in the US in the week following the Supreme Court ruling.
“What we did was start giving them options,” she said.
Delivery of misoprostol and mifepristone, a drug approved for simultaneous use in abortion, has long been a means of abortion access for women living in parts of Mexico where the procedure is inaccessible.
Under the “collaboration” or compatible model, community health workers, often belonging to reproductive rights groups, assist women through drug abortion treatment through information and medical guidance, either virtually or in person, And, in some cases, even provide the necessary. pills
The model is common around the world, especially in places where access to abortion is restricted.
In a set of guidelines issued in March, the World Health Organization outlined best practices for the use of globally compatible and other abortion service-delivery networks, saying that self-managed abortions are “potentially empowering and proactive to the health system”. should be recognized as an extension.”
In Mexico, following a 2021 Supreme Court ruling that ruled that state laws criminalizing abortion were unconstitutional, pills could be legally shipped from state to state for a woman to take at home. could.
If the woman prefers to receive treatment under the supervision of a trained professional, Cardona will welcome her into her home, from Nesisito Abortor.
Earlier this year, Cardona converted the second floor of her property in the northern city of Monterrey into La Aborteria, a casually decorated set of rooms where women from Mexico and the US can take medicine to treat abortions .
Cardona said that last week, two Texas women received abortion medicine at the center.
US abortion rules strict
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights organization, Americans’ access to abortion is expected to be restricted in at least 26 states as more planned state laws take effect in the coming weeks.
Many state laws do not differentiate between drug and surgical abortion, and legislation already on the books in many states outlaws telehealth for abortion drug prescriptions, which complicates out-of-state delivery services.
People who ask for and receive abortion-inducing medication, even in a state where the treatment is banned, generally face a greater “indirect” risk than those who provide the drug. Because laws prohibiting drug abortions are not meant to target them. Farah Diaz-Tello, senior attorney and legal director for If/When/How: Lawying for Reproductive Justice, a US-based group that runs a legal hotline, among other services.
While state restrictions begin to take effect, prosecutions are generally not designed to target anyone seeking an abortion, Diaz-Tello says, adding that there is “increased stigma and increased scrutiny” surrounding abortion. Can present problems for anyone, for example, after a self-managed abortion seeking medical care.
In fact, the greater impact of new laws on medicinal abortion would be to restrict women’s access in states and increase the legal threat to those seeking to facilitate their delivery outside the law.
In the days following the Supreme Court ruling, the Biden administration has pledged to defend and expand access to medicinal abortion, as anti-abortion advocates indicated they would prompt more states to make it difficult to obtain the pills.
The National Right to Life Committee, the largest anti-abortion group in the US, has also suggested that states should expand criminal penalties for those who help a woman obtain an illegal abortion, including “trafficking”. Including giving instructions about abortion-inducing drugs and even oneself. – Managed abortion.
In Texas, a 2021 law already prohibits sending abortion medication and threatening to give pills to anyone who isn’t a physician.
“Women should not live within the limits of legitimacy”
IPAAS, a global reproductive rights organization, has been analyzing cross-border compatible networks and related US and Mexican laws since the spring. While women in the US are within their rights to travel to and complete abortion care in the US and Mexico, and medical tourism is regular in many border communities, it may be illegal to bring foreign drugs into the US.
A lawyer for the group said Ipas has begun to prepare to defend Mexican police against any reports about the organizations’ conduct in that country, and to seek safe and legal ways to deliver the drug to the US- based non-profit organizations. There.
“Women should not step into the limits of legality and fear being prosecuted for accessing an essential health care service,” said María Antonieta Alcalde, director of Central America and Mexico at Ipas. “But I also think it talks about the solidarity and commitment of women and the feminist movement.”