USA – A new helpline to answer legal questions about self-managed abortion pill use

As abortion access in the USA has become increasingly restricted, more women have turned to self-managed abortions with abortion pills. Self-managed abortions are at risk of becoming increasingly criminalized, which could disproportionately impact people of color, low-income people, immigrants and others who face significant barriers to reproductive health care access.

In order to help people concerned about the legality of terminating their pregnancies themselves, a team of lawyers launched an abortion helpline and website in late October 2018 that aims to serve as a free and confidential resource. The helpline phone number is 844-868-2812.

The SIA Legal Team, who work to give people increased self-determination in their reproductive lives, is behind the helpline. Jill Adams, the group’s founder and strategy director, says the helpline is designed for “anyone who has ended their own pregnancy and been questioned by the authorities or fears they might be questioned by the authorities in relation to their abortion.”

The gap they are aiming to fill is around access to justice, hoping to be able to better protect and defend those who are criminalised for ending their own pregnancies, help them to understand their rights, and connect them to legal representation when needed.

The helpline will not, however, provide any medical counsel or tell people how to self-manage abortions.

In a recent Tweetathon to give more visibility to the helpline, they tweeted the following:

  • Someone who has decided to end their pregnancy should be able to do so safely, effectively, and without fear of investigation, arrest, or jail. #SelfManagedAbortion #AbortionWithoutPunishment #ReproLegalHelpline
  • Self-managed abortion methods can be safe and effective when people have access to the correct information and follow medical instructions. #SelfManagedAbortion #AbortionWithoutPunishment #ReproLegalHelpline

SOURCE: SIA Legal Team website ; Bustle, by Madhuri Sathish, 30 October 2018 ; INFOGRAPHIC, 23 July 2018