Perilous At-Home Abortion Advice From Social Media Activists
In the weeks following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, social media platforms have been flooded with posts offering “solutions” to accessing abortions in states wherein it is banned or restricted, while google searches for “diy abortions” have disturbingly increased (1). Many prominent pro-abortion advocates are feeding into the fears of abortion-minded women and convincing them that abortion is their only option when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, that they need it in the name of equality and bodily rights, and that the pro-life movement does not care about them. Amidst all of this, a new dangerous trend has appeared on social media, primarily on Tiktok. Young people are offering “diy abortion” advice that ranges from illegally obtaining and utilizing abortion pills to recommending dangerous herbal remedies that can have serious toxic, and even fatal side effects. Pro-abortion propaganda is misleading women to believe that they must now take the abortion procedure in their own hands. In these perilous videos, the woman is often encouraged to attempt these alternative abortion methods, without telling anyone that she is pregnant or attempting to commit an abortion.
In one TikTok video, a woman walks through all of the steps to obtaining abortion pills online, illegally, and then takes the pills on video and shows herself relaxing, watching T.V, while an upbeat song plays in the background as though killing her unborn child is somehow another medial part of her day. She implies this method of abortion is easy and convenient and that no one needs to know. What she fails to recognize is that there are many reported and unreported side effects to this method of abortion, including several deaths.
A key component for chemical abortions is an ultrasound beforehand, so as to confirm the gestational age of the baby and rule out an ectopic pregnancy, yet this is no longer required. If a woman were to take these pills with an ectopic pregnancy or past 9 weeks, “the drug may not successfully terminate the pregnancy, may damage the fetus, and can result in serious health risks to the pregnant woman. The use of Mifegymiso could mask a ruptured ectopic pregnancy as the symptoms associated with both may be similar.” (2) Planned parenthood says complications are rare and that “the abortion pill is really safe and effective. It’s a super common way to have an abortion, and millions of people have used it safely.” (3) Before 2016, many deaths and life threatening side effects were reported, but as of 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only tracks deaths and no longer requires that serious adverse effects be reported, “including hospitalizations and blood transfusions.” (4) The number of women hospitalized for severe complications will not be known, as this is considered an acceptable side effect. These videos fail to mention this, however, and make it seem completely safe, while also scaring the young women who are watching from ever getting medical help for fear of legal consequences. These kinds of abortion usually result in a dead baby if “succesful”, and can be fatal for the woman if unsucessful.
Another TikTok video features a woman blaming the increase in women committing “unsafe” abortions on the recession of legal access to abortion, she then lists a series of herbal methods of self-inducing an abortion. Many of these herbs and plants she mentions can be dangerous and toxic to the woman if taken improperly. One herb that demonstrated an increase in google searches was Pennyroyal, which contains pulegone, “a highly toxic substance that can be particularly damaging to the liver […] Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, according to the National Capital Poison Center. It also can lead to liver and kidney failure, resulting in bleeding, seizures, multiple organ failure and death.” (5)
Tiktok and other social media platforms are filled with minors and young girls who may not take the time to look into the dangers of these abortion methods and, under the impression that they will spend a lifetime in jail, will try to self-induce an abortion without telling anyone. They feel helpless and alone. Interestingly, TikTok has since removed the option for users to search for the terms "DIY abortion" and "at-home abortion", claiming these search entried violate their community guidelines. Hmm.
Then, if these women are experiencing difficulties, they will avoid going to a hospital to receive medical care out of the fear of legal repercussions. Pro-abortion advocates blame pro-lifers for these “back-alley abortions.” And yet, for years the pro-life movement has been pointing out the dangers of RU-486, they have been offering free help and alternatives to abortion, providing any supports the woman may need to keep her child that is already alive. Women do not “need” abortion. What they need is to be encouraged and supported through their crisis pregnancies. If a woman is in a position where she feels she needs an abortion, that in order to survive she needs to kill her own child, we have failed as a society. Abortion, the intentional killing of an innocent human being, does not address poverty, it does not undo toxic relationships, it does not fix the foster care system, it is not the solution to the problems the mother faces, it is a bandaid effect posited by a society that tells women they are too fragile to rise above a difficult circumstance, and that killing their unborn babies reverses their strife. Instead of encouraging women to seek the help and support they need,abortion advocates instill fear in women who are in a vulnerable state and fabricate that crisis pregnancy centers are “fake clinics” that just want to deceive and control women. They encourage the women to take part in extremely dangerous practices that could kill the mother, the baby, or both, and discourage her from telling anyone or seeking medical help, should things go horribly wrong, as they have.