State bans are likely to apply to all forms of abortion, and conservative states are already trying to crack down on medication abortion, as my colleague Kate Zernike has reported. But stopping the pill-based form isn’t so easy. “The pills are pretty easily accessible online, and the laws are very hard to enforce because they are sent privately via mail,” Claire said.
One large provider is Aid Access, an international organization run by a Dutch doctor, Rebecca Gomperts, that is committed to keeping abortion accessible even in places where it is illegal. Aid Access often connects Americans with European doctors, and people can order pills even if they are not pregnant, to have them on hand if they want them later. (In 2014, Emily Bazelon profiled Gomperts in The Times Magazine.)
Carole Joffe, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied the history of abortion, said that the fall of Roe would lead some women to seek out physically dangerous methods of ending their pregnancies — “like having the boyfriend hit them in the belly or throwing themselves down stairs or taking dangerous herbs.” But, Joffe added, “There is now a very safe extralegal option.”
Who would be affected
Even with these caveats, the overturning of Roe will reduce abortion access. The effect is likely to be largest among lower-income women and Black and Hispanic women. Many will not have the resources to travel to another state and may not have access to doctors, nurses, friends or relatives who can help them navigate the process of ordering abortion pills.
“In effect, the United States without Roe would look very different for different people,” Claire and Margot have written.