ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – The easily accessible abortion pill

“It’s like going to the shop to buy anitem,” was how one woman described the ease of getting the abortion pill atpharmacies in Antigua and Barbuda. “I was surprised at how normal it was to getthis pill,” said another.

In the midst of the current debate in thecountry surrounding the controversial and, sometimes, taboo issue of abortion,OBSERVER media decided to mount its own investigation by visiting pharmacies tosee to test how easy or difficult it was to get ‘a pill’ to terminate apregnancy.

Public conversation has highlighted a divide in publicopinion, with some denouncing abortion and others calling it a necessity forsome women. Many women are moving from traditional (dangerous) abortion methods,like drinking hot Guinness, a hot Pepsi mixed with rust, or a dangerouscocktail of organic roots. Instead, recent years a large number of females havebeen opting to purchase the more ‘affordable pill’ and the practice is becomingcommonplace.

“I therefore embarked on my personal quest to find ‘thepill’. Nervous and apprehensive, I stopped at the first pharmacy on theoutskirts of town where, to my surprise the pharmacist did not shun or treat mewith contempt, but rather referred me to another pharmacy. The second pharmacy,located on the other side of town, I found a very open and nonchalantpharmacist who was surprisingly conversant about the issue. “I want to know if,I can get the pill. I am in a little trouble and a friend said I could come toyou for help,” I stated. “You have to be more specific, stop beating around thebushes,” the pharmacist said. “The abortion pill,” I responded.” After furtherrelevant questions, he told her the pills would cost the equivalent of US$130and that she had two months to decide whether to use them.

“The third pharmacy I visited, the pharmacist was veryforthcoming and he seemed very concerned about my health. He asked very probingquestions about my menstrual cycle, contraceptive methods used, my tolerance tostrong medication and alcohol, and my general state of mind. What was morealarming than the second encounter, was when he said: “If it is early you canbuy a Guinness, heat it up on the stove, put a teaspoon of black pepper in itand drink. If it doesn’t work come back to me in three days and I give you thepill. That will give you contractions and help you to push the foetus out ofyour body. You will”.”

And the article goes on!!!

SOURCE: Antigua Observer, by Machela Osagboro, 12 March 2020