A Covert Abortion Network Rises in Mexico After Roe
Caroline Kitchener - The Washinton Post
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October 20, 2022

A woman prepares abortion pills for distribution. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Evidence of an illegal abortion movement that has grown quickly since the Supreme Court ruling is based on interviews with 16 people with firsthand knowledge of the operation, and includes on-the-ground reporting in four U.S. cities and Mexico. Many who spoke to The Post did so on the condition of anonymity to discuss activity that potentially breaks multiple laws, such as practicing medicine without a license and providing abortions in states where the procedure is banned. The Post was permitted to observe distributors handling pills in antiabortion states on the added condition that their locations not be identified.

Those interviewed described a pipeline that typically begins in Mexico, where activist suppliers funded largely by private donors secure pills for free as in-kind donations or from international pharmacies for as little as $1.50 a dose. U.S. volunteers then receive the pills through the mail — often relying on legal experts to help minimize their risk — before distributing them to pregnant women in need.

The system could upend Republican plans for a post-Roe America. Despite the strict abortion bans that have taken effect in over a dozen states, some antiabortion leaders fear that the flow of abortion pills could help make abortion more accessible than it was before Roe fell. Las Libres, one of several Mexican groups at the center of the network, says its organization alone is on track to help terminate approximately 20,000 pregnancies this year in the United States. That amounts to about 20 percent of all legal abortions that took place in 2019 in the 13 states where abortion is now almost entirely banned.

“Soon there will come a moment when we won’t be able to count any of this,” said Verónica Cruz Sánchez, the director of Las Libres, adding that the group works with a U.S.-based volunteer network that numbers about 250 and is “growing, growing, growing.”

The leader of another Mexico-based group that supplies pills, Red Necesito Abortar, said the elaborate volunteer structure was “like a spiderweb.”

“Once we get the pills into the U.S., they can distribute them across the whole country,” said Sandra Cardona Alanís, the group’s co-founder.

Most people interviewed for this story acknowledged that the network they are building is far from ideal, with participants taking legal and medical risks they would not face if abortion was still permitted nationwide.

Read the rest at The Washinton Post

Related: When It Comes to Reproductive Rights, Mexico Gives Me Hope (Mexico News Daily)

Related: Abortion Is Now Banned in These States. See Where Laws Have Changed. (The Washinton Post)

  Learn about Las Libres

  Learn about I Need to Abort Network

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