Reproductive rights are under attack. Since the start of the year, legislators have introduced 431 restrictions on reproductive health care throughout the country. The movement to limit access to necessary abortions has intensified under President Donald Trump. As health care becomes increasingly politicized, one group is trying to give the decision-making power back to the people most impacted: those who actually get pregnant.
In April, Women Help Women, an international advocacy group, launched a website that provides users with medically accurate information on medication abortion pills. Self-Managed Abortion: Safe and Supported, or SASS, also offers resources on how those who need to terminate a pregnancy can obtain and use mifepristone and misoprostol, which, while approved by the World Health Organization when used up to nine weeks into pregnancy, often requires a prescription by a licensed health care professional.
The website includes a digital portal, where people are asked a few questions, like how far along they are in their pregnancy and what state they live in. The website does not offer the pills – which they are barred from doing by U.S. law – but does refer visitors to organizations like abortion funds, which offer financial assistance, as well as clinics in their area that provide the procedure. It also offers information on how to self-manage an abortion if the visitor already has the abortion pills.
“Our counselors are trained to always give medically accurate information and always use supportive language,” says Susan Yanow, a U.S.-based consultant to Women Help Women. “We want to make it clear that there’s someone who truly cares about her on the other end.”
If a user has a question that isn't currently answered on the site, they can email their concern. “We reply to all emails within 24 hours," Amsterdam-based executive director Kinga Jelinska said.
Even more, understanding the fear people seeking abortions might have, especially in conservative states, the site has strong security measures in place.
We learned from the story of Purvi Patel that evidence was taken from phones,” Yanow said. “This will not happen with SASS because there’s no email trail. The answers to her questions aren’t sent to her, but sent to a secure, randomly generated link which disappears in seven days.”
Visit SASS’ website for more on the service.