Over-the-Counter Misoprostol (Cytotec)
The New York Times has an interesting article about the overt-the-counter availability of misoprostol (Cytotec) in small, family-run pharmacies in the city:
Amalia Dominguez was 18 and desperate and knew exactly what to ask for at the small, family-run pharmacy in the heart of Washington Heights, the thriving Dominican enclave in northern Manhattan. “I need to bring down my period,” she recalled saying in Spanish, using a euphemism that the pharmacist understood instantly.
It was 12 years ago, but the memory remains vivid: She was handed a packet of pills. They were small and white, $30 for 12. Ms. Dominguez, two or three months pregnant, went to a friend’s apartment and swallowed the pills one by one, washing them down with malta, a molasseslike extract sold in nearly every bodega in the neighborhood.
The cramps began several hours later, doubling Ms. Dominguez over, building and building until, eight and a half hours later, she locked herself in the bathroom and passed a lifeless fetus, which she flushed.
I suspect the number of repro aged women "suffering" from gastric ulcers will skyrocket once abortion is banned.
On a slightly more serious note, one thing that stood out for me in the article is the mention of two women, Amber Abreu, an 18-year-old Dominican immigrant from Massachusetts, and Gabriela Flores, a 22-year-old Mexican migrant farm worker from South Carolina. Both women have been arrested and charged with illegally performing an abortion and sentenced to probation and therapy (?), and 90 days in jail, respectively.
I wasn't familiar with their cases, nor with the fact that "performing an abortion" on yourself and "procuring an improper miscarriage" for yourself are criminal offenses. [In Massachusetts the charge could carry up to seven years in state prison.]
I guess when various zealots propose legislation banning abortion they really are most magnanimous when they include a clause to exempt women who obtain abortions from prosecution.