It's been around forever y'all.
What even is an abortion?
An abortion is a termination of a pregnancy. There are two ways to terminate - the abortion pill or an outpatient procedure.
Abortion Pill: (For pregnancies up to 10 weeks) The pill is actually two different medications taken together, mifepristone and misoprostol. The first pill, mifepristone, is given by a licensed medical professional, and essentially stops the pregnancy from developing. You'll be instructed when to take the next pill, misoprostol. Misopristol causes cramping, bleeding, and will expel the pregnancy - it feels like a super heavy period. The experience typically lasts about 6-8 hours. (Source: PlannedParenthood.org)
(The Abortion Pill is totally different from Plan B aka The Morning After Pill, which you can get at Walgreens.)
Abortion at the Clinic: (For pregnancies 6 weeks +) The procedure is NOT surgery. A flexible tube called a canula is inserted into the uterus, which removes the pregnancy through gentle suction. The abortion itself takes about 10-15 minutes to perform. No anesthesia is required, though some people choose to have 'twilight sleep,' a gas that causes a dreamy fogginess. After the procedure, people rest at the clinic for about an hour, then go home.
In both cases, people go back to the doctor two weeks later for a follow-up. The complication rate is less than that of liposuction or getting your tonsils out.
How common are abortions in the US?
Nearly 1 in 4 ciswomen (folks assigned female at birth, who identify as female) has an abortion. 1 in 4! No word on how many cismen co-create the pregnancies.
Who has abortions?
75% of folks who have abortions have low-incomes. 60% have already given birth. They include people of all religions, skin colors and ages. Anyone with a working set of ovaries and uterus can have an abortion, including ciswomen, gender non-conforming folx and transmen.
When did we first have abortions?
Since the beginning of recorded history! We've always had abortions and used birth control. Want proof? 4000 years for choice.
Is it legal?
Yes! Abortion is legal on the federal level, and state levels. Abortion was only illegal in the US for about 90 years, from the late 1880's - 1970's. (For all the same reasons it's restricted today - racism, xenophobia and controlling politicians)
what's the deal with religion & abortion?
In fact many religions support people's right to an abortion. The Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian faiths expressly support the health of the pregnant person. Groups like Catholics for Choice support a person's right to choose. Some churches argue passionately against abortion. Others argue passionately in support of access.
Can you have at abortion at any time in the pregnancy?
Most people have abortions within the first 12 weeks (Trimester) IF they can get access to care. The procedure is simpler. Federal law protects abortion access through 24 weeks, giving states the right to restrict access if needed. Many states are putting on restrictions, reducing that time to 20 weeks, with attempts to even take it down to 6 weeks. Medically necessary abortions are performed at any time during a pregnancy.
Does insurance cover abortion?
Good questions! Short answer - some do, some don't. Most private insurance does cover elective abortion. All plans cover emergency abortions.
State insurance plans vary. States like Oregon and California cover all options when it comes to pregnancy. Other states require you to go to a fake clinic if you're pregnant.
Federal insurance plans never cover abortion unless it is proven to be the result of rape or incest. The All Above All Campaign is working hard to change this!
The u.s. history of abortion
Abortion was fully in the domain of midwives & pregnant people until the late 1800s in the US. Medical schools "professionalized" abortion - meaning only trained men claimed to be able to do them. Politicians had used reproductive care as a social control tool - making abortion and birth control illegal among US residents - in part to combat the flood of immigrants coming to the US. As politicians made limiting pregnancy illegal, they also enforced sterilization of communities deemed unworthy to reproduce. Charming!
Sterilization was made illegal in the mid-1900s, however the ugly effects of eugenics linger today.
When abortion was underground, people who needed abortions went to Mexico *if they had money* or to the person their friend knew *if they didn't.* Networks like Jane helped connect people to safer abortion providers. Wealthy people still had access. Poor folks - not so much.
States began loosening abortion laws in the 1960s. In fact, CA Governor Ronald Reagan actually improved abortion access, then he became President and restricted access.
Abortion was fully decriminalized thanks to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case. Based on the right to privacy, Roe v. Wade ensured people could access care.
However, there was still stigma and not many people were trained. Independent feminist clinics popped up, as the need for compassionate abortion care grew.
In 1976, the Hyde Amendment passed. The Hyde Amendment is passed every year by Congress. It blocks federal health insurance from covering abortion. This means the folks that need abortion care the most have to find the money to pay for it from their own pockets. Abortion Funds do much to help folks in financial need.
Since 1976, abortion rights have become more restricted, with each state imposing different restrictions. Access had a win when Texas' restrictive HB2 law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016. Many state legislatures are dedicated to blocking or restricting access.
Want to know more about abortion? Visit Women's Health Specialists