After the Texas Senate's passage of a drastic anti-abortion bill Friday evening, reproductive health advocates say the number of women who will be forced to get 'black market abortions' near the US-Mexico border is likely to skyrocket.
“This law will lead a lot more women to try self-abortion,” Jackie F., a 24-year-old food server and student who had received a legal medical abortion, told the New York Times.
Texas women were already traveling to the US-Mexico border to obtain lower-cost, and significantly less safe, abortions on the black market.
Flea markets at the Texas side of the border sell Cytotec, an ulcer drug that can also induce abortions, the New York Times reported Saturday.
Experts warn that these 'flea market abortions are extremely dangerous. When legally administered, the abortion pill is given with a steroid, and patients are closely monitored for complications that can arise, with follow-up appointments to ensure the success of the medical abortion.
If an incorrect dose is administered, dangerous conditions can develop, including heavy bleeding and partial abortions. Furthermore, women can fail to successfully terminate their pregnancy.
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William West, a physician at Whole Women’s Health in McAllen, said he sees patients daily who have taken black-market abortion drugs. Many are bleeding or still pregnant, he said.
Studies show that restrictions to abortion services have no impact on the numbers of those who seek to terminate their pregnancies, but simply force them to turn to more dangerous methods.
The bill, which is almost certain to be signed into law by Governor Rick Perry after passing the Senate, will wipe out most abortion clinics in the state, ban the procedure after 20 weeks, and decimate access for low-income women who already faced prohibitive costs.
The republican-controlled legislature has been met with passionate protests from reproductive justice advocates across Texas and the US. The slogan 'We won't go back!'—referring to dangerous black market abortions women are forced to turn to when safe abortion access is restricted or banned—has been a clarion call of the mobilizations.