Abortion Care Post Roe V. Wade (US)

Sex Ed With DB

Sex Ed with DB is a feminist podcast bringing you all the sex ed you never got through unique and entertaining storytelling, hosted by Danielle Bezalel (aka “DB”), MPH.

What is an abortion?

An abortion is a very safe and effective way to end a pregnancy. In fact, abortion is statistically safer than childbirth. There are various kinds of abortions, including medication abortion, suction/vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and dilation and evacuation (D&E). 

Tell me more about medication abortion.

The “abortion pill” actually consists of two medications. Abortion pills can be administered in clinics or mailed to pregnant patients to use at home. It is important to check the laws in your state before initiating an abortion on your own (without a medical provider) with pills. 

The first pill taken is mifepristone which is one tablet taken on day one of the abortion. Mifepristone stops the pregnancy from growing by blocking progesterone. The second medication, Misoprostol, is taken up to 72 hours later. Four pills of Misoprostol are placed against the cheek or under the tongue to complete the abortion. Misoprostol causes cramping and expels the pregnancy out of the uterus, through the cervix, and out of the vagina. Effectiveness depends on how far along the pregnancy is but can work up to 11 weeks of pregnancy.

Medication abortions may take up to 24 hours to be complete. It’s possible to still test positive on a pregnancy test 4 to 5 weeks after taking the abortion pills & medical providers recommend that folks call them if they do so they can help.

What are the kinds of abortion procedures performed exclusively in clinics?

There are three kinds of abortion procedures that are performed exclusively in clinics. The first is a suction abortion aka vacuum aspiration which can be used to terminate a pregnancy up to approximately 11 weeks since the pregnant person’s last period. The uterus is emptied out using a gentle suction which can result in minor cramps. During and after the procedure, pain medications are usually utilised to decrease pain and cramps.

Next, there is a dilation and curettage abortion (D&C). This method is similar to a vacuum aspiration with the addition of an instrument (curette) to assure the complete emptying of the uterus. During and after the procedure, pain medications are usually utilised to decrease pain and cramps.

Finally, there is a dilation and evacuation abortion (D&E) which can be used for abortions later in pregnancy (greater than 14 weeks). Check out the laws in your state for the maximum amount of weeks you are able to get this procedure done in your state. D&E uses suction and instruments to assure the complete emptying of the uterus. If you are having a D&E abortion, you’ll get pain medications and numbing medications that will make the abortion hurt less and you may get sedation depending on your providers’ recommendations.

What should I do before having an abortion?

First and foremost, always check the laws in your state, especially if you are choosing to have an abortion without a medical provider overseeing it. We know that abortion has been criminalised and inaccessible for BIPOC and poor people for decades and this will only worsen for those marginalised groups now that Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

If you are concerned that you may be criminalised for your abortion or pregnancy outcome, contactIf/When/How's Repro Helpline.

What are the negative health impacts of banning abortion? The impacts of banning abortion are very well-researched and they are extremely negative. We had an episode about this called “The Turnaway Study with Dr. Diana Greene Foster” – highly recommend you go listen to it. Here’s what we know from that study:

  2. Women are confident in their decision to have an abortion.
  3. Women seek abortions for many reasons.
  4. Being denied an abortion reduces women and children’s financial security and safety.
  5. When women have control over the timing of pregnancies, children benefit. 

Generally speaking, because of this ban, people will not have the access and the reproductive freedom that they deserve. This has been the reality of many BIPOC and poor people for decades. We need to continue to fight for comprehensive sex ed, birth control access, abortion rights, and more.

Why is it important to be an active advocate for Reproductive Justice during this time?

Pro-choice means that you support everyone’s decision to make the best reproductive choices for them but I think a more helpful framework and definition to share is Reproductive Justice which was invented by The Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice in 1994. SisterSong (a reproductive health organisation in Atlanta, Georgia) defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. This is what all people need and deserve.

Will this abortion ban stop people from having abortions? There has ALWAYS BEEN will ALWAYS BE abortion. People with uteruses have been figuring out ways to make the best reproductive health decisions for themselves for thousands of years and with our science and technology we have today, abortion can, does, and will happen safely in the privacy of people’s homes (up to 11 weeks with medication abortion).

How can we support other people’s reproductive healthcare and abortion access?

You should use your dollars and donate to your local abortion fund (come to our event in Brooklyn or donate to the NY Abortion Access Fund here!)" as well as amplify abortion on your social media. If you are someone who lives in a state where a trigger law has been put into place (meaning as soon as Roe v Wade was overturned, abortion essentially is banned in your state), uplift vetted resources like Plan C Pills, Aid Access, andabortionfinder.org.

Where do I go if I need an abortion?

It’s important for you to know how risky it is if abortion is banned in your state and you are ordering abortion pills online. People have already been criminalised for their miscarriages before Roe v. Wade was overturned so it’s critical for you to arm yourselves with knowledge, info, and tools. Go to abortionfinder.org to connect with an abortion clinic near you and follow these handles on instagram to learn more:

  1. @heyjanehealth
  2. @carafem
  3. @ifwhenhow
  4. @aidaccess
  5. @reprolegaldefensefund
  6. @plancpills
  7. You can follow us on instagram @sexedwithdbpodcast and on TikTok and Twitter @sexedwithdb. Listen to our podcasts anywhere you get your podcasts. Thanks so much for reading!

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