You're pregnant and want an abortion, but can't get one - what do you do?

With the threads about coat-hanger abortions and the consequences of Roe being overturned, I wanted to ask Dopers (obviously, women, but men can also chime in) what they would do in a situation like that.

Assuming, that

(1) You are pregnant, and
(2) You really don’t want to carry the pregnancy to term, and
(3) There is no legal abortion to be had anywhere in America; it’s firmly outlawed in all 50 states and all territories. No RU-486 or such pills, either, and
(4) You won’t face any legal penalty for getting an abortion anyway, but the illegal clinics or do-it-yourself methods carry an extreme risk of death or serious injury.
(5) You can’t leave the country, either.

Would you carry the pregnancy to term or get a hazardous abortion?

I didn’t know that international travel was a right tied to Roe v. Wade?

Is this like illegal dispensaries in Colorado and Oregon, where all the illegal pot is laced with cyanide, but there’s no consequences for buying it? Because if it’s illegal, it must be harmful to you.

The overwhelming majority of abortions performed in the US at this time are chemical ones, requiring just two pills to do the job. Which are fairly easily obtained via the internet, and should Roe v Wade be overturned will become even more available, guaranteed. If you think it’s hard to stop people from getting weed, try blocking access to two simple pharma pills, one of which is widely prescribed for ulcers.

The women who are gonna be SOL are those later on than 12 weeks who have nonviable fetuses or ones that are likely to be nonviable shortly after birth. Expect a ton of sepsis cases as women die from dead rotting babies that nobody will remove because it’s an “abortion.”

I still don’t understand how abortion would be “firmly outlawed in all 50 states and all territories” but there is not “any legal penalty for getting an abortion anyways”. Doesn’t “firmly outlawed” presuppose some “legal penalty”?

Are you just trying to craft a hypothetical “would you rather …” type question for women?

Crossing the border leaves the hypothetical.

Why wouldn’t this just be a poll if the hypothetical is supposed to lead to either “you do it” or “you don’t do it”. What discussion are you hoping to have? The method by which I would choose to abort it?

I’m 52, I’m not really likely to need one at my age.

But why can’t I leave the country? That’s what gets me about the abortion debate - they will always be available to certain classes of people (hey, maybe I can go to Ireland to procure my tourist abortion now).

And why is every form of illegal abortion dangerous? I can name a half dozen that aren’t very dangerous at all - not if you have some knowledge or know someone who does.

The people that are going to suffer are those that don’t have resources - those that can’t go somewhere abortion is legal and can’t do the research or don’t have the contacts to arrange for something relatively safe in country. Especially if they don’t recognize or acknowledge their pregnancy asap. “I’ve heard a knitting needle works” is not safe. And those are the people (along with their children) that are most likely to suffer from unwanted kids as well.

But what would I do - at my age I’d get an abortion. My only birth experience risked my life - and I was a hella lot younger. I’d be better off with a risky illegal abortion than a risky birth.

The one story I have from my forebears (some time in the 1930s or 40s) suggests that I’d use a knitting needle, but that it would only work after a long walk.

The laws usually target the person performing the abortion, not the woman requesting the abortion.

I believe menstrual extraction kits might become a hot seller.

I think it’s worth noting that rich white women never had a problem getting an abortion in the US. Doctors would give them one for “mental health” reasons.

I assume the same will be true should RVW ever get overturned.

There was a lot of D&Cs preformed as a means to an abortion. My Mother had a sister who died as a 19yo. Family lore says it was a botched abortion by the local midwife. No way of proving it now. I know I wouldn’t want my daughters to have to go sneaking around to get one.
There will always be a way to get abortions.

There is a long list of illegal things that I could acquire if I wanted. I’d talk to some people, maybe get an introduction to someone else. Sure, I’d need money, but if my partner/daughter/friend needed an abortion I could find someone offering that service for profit. Maybe a doctor trying to pay off school loans or an EMT with gambling debts, somehow I’d find a way.

I’m assuming the “can’t leave the country” thing means no funds and/or no passport, and driving anywhere out of the US for most will take an inordinate amount of time which also might not be possible.


1 speculum
2 sterile procedure kit tray
1 set dilating cannulas, graduated sizes
1 syringe with silicone hose attachment
1000 ml sterile saline solution
cotton swabs
3-4 positionable extra-bright LED lights on flex cables, with clamps
1 bottle Jack Daniels

  • big sigh *

I know how. I don’t particularly relish doing it without qualified medical supervision.

I do think more people should learn how. Knowledge is power.

I’ll just answer the question at hand: I would go for the hazardous abortion. There’s a reason I was continuously, faithfully on birth control throughout my reproductive years.

Just out of curiosity, how much are the chemical abortion pills? I’ve never researched it, but that’s the way I’d do it. I realize it’s fighting the hypothetical, but I don’t believe that those will become unavailable.

Cite. If you mean the Plan B “morning after” pill, I thought that was just a double dose of the regular Pill.


Agreed, this is an awful consequence. Additionally, difficult to quantify, but the damage to future fertility could be considered here. Retained products of conception and other uterine adhesions make achieving wanted pregnancy difficult, and the treatment for these is indistinguishable from a surgical abortion.

Since when has the health of the mother ever been questioned in regards to abortions? If the pregnancy causes serious complications that threaten the mothers health, beyond what is considered “normal”, no one beyond a few loonies have ever questioned it.