One of the tricky parts about medical abortion is that these drugs work all the way through a pregnancy, although they become less effective and the rate of complication rises in the course of pregnancy. So it is not recommended to have a second-trimester medical abortion without the supervision of a doctor. It’s not as if someone couldn’t try. But it is certainly a risk. It’s not happening, but theoretically it could.
There’s also a deeper question here. If you know there is a risk someone can misuse a drug, what do you do about it? One of the things that people who advocate for medical abortions say is that there are drugs like Tylenol on the shelves of every pharmacy that anyone could buy and overdose on and kill themselves. You can buy bleach. It doesn’t mean we make those substances unavailable.
What do you do with the possibility that women might misuse these drugs? Do you take it away from them? Or do you trust them?
~ New York Times writer Emily Bazelon, responding to the question, “Could the women who are requesting abortion drugs from Women on Web lie about how far along in their pregnancies they are?”, as quoted in “Behind the Cover Story: Emily Bazelon on Medical Abortion Through the Mail,” The 6th Floor, September 1
[Photo via The 6th Floor]