Online Abortions: The Guarantee Of A Right In The Midst Of A Pandemic

On International Safe Abortion Day we tell you about online abortions and their increase around the world with the pandemic.

Woman holding a pregnancy test

Among the fastest growing fields were online abortions At the beginning of 2020, the world stopped due to a global pandemic of a virus whose evolutionary origin is still uncertain. Photo: Adobe Stock

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Aborto Online: la garantía de un derecho en plena pandemia

At the beginning of 2020, the world stopped due to a global pandemic of a virus of which there is still no certainty of its evolutionary origin. However, despite the global and economic paralysis, the needs (among which is medicine, for example) did not stop. Precisely, virtuality was the greatest ally of the sectors that could not afford to stop, for example, a medical consultation, a surgical procedure, or a voluntary interruption of pregnancy. The solution for the last one: online abortions.

In several countries where abortions are legal and free, the health system found a way to proceed and continue to guarantee this right to women.

Read also: Overview of abortion in Latin America

In France, the United Kingdom, and some states in the United States, access to "virtual abortions" was allowed because of strict quarantines. Which resulted in an increase in the demand for pregnancy terminations. However, in an article published in BMJ Sexual Reproductive Health, it is explained that this trend may increase beyond the coronavirus. For example, the privacy, comfort, and anonymity of accessing an appointment on the Internet on such a taboo subject, make telemedicine a great ally for women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

Quarantines, the risk or fear of contagion, and also economic problems caused during the pandemic, are some of the reasons why self-managed abortion or online abortions grew significantly in various countries. The France Press news agency assures that in April 2020 the sale of abortion pills grew 150% compared to the previous month, just when the confinements were beginning.

But this has not only been the path of women living in countries where abortion is allowed. According to AFP, in states of the United States where abortion is more difficult, the web was an important ally for women. "Self-managed" abortions are a resource for women where their health services do not offer terminations of pregnancy. They must pay up to $ 250 to receive medications by mail without clear instructions to proceed to abort without any advice, beyond what they can find on the Internet.

The WHO recognizes self-managed abortion as a good alternative for many women who live in poverty, who have difficult access to doctors, or for those who fight against stigma and prejudice. In addition, according to studies from the United Kingdom published in the journal BJOG, telemedicine reduced waiting times for abortions and this also guaranteed greater success in the procedure and lower risk the fewer weeks the pregnancy carried.

For example, in Latin America, self-managed abortion accompanied by telemedicine is already beginning to be offered more commonly. For example, Profamilia, a provider of Reproductive Health Services in Colombia, announced its intention to increase this practice this year, due to the pandemic.

Today, September 28, marks the International Safe Abortion Day to reduce clandestine and unsafe abortions that end the lives of thousands and thousands of women around the planet. Currently, in Latin America, there are countries such as Uruguay, Cuba, and Argentina that approved legal and free abortion, but there are contrasts such as Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti where the interruption of pregnancy is prohibited under no exception. Precisely, self-managed abortion can be an excellent alternative for women in these countries where abortion, even after having been raped or due to the risk of death, can send you to prison.

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