New Texas Laws Might Increase Non-Clinical Abortions
Finding herself with an unplanned pregnancy not long ago, Melissa took a dangerous route to solve her problem. She journeyed 30 miles from her home in Texas’ lower Rio Grande Valley, to the Mexican town of Nuevo Progreso just over the border and walked into a pharmacy. Though she had no prescription, she was able to buy a drug called misoprostal. In the United States, the medicine is normally prescribed to treat gastric ulcers, but Melissa used it to induce a miscarriage.
“Basically, I’m very poor,” said Melissa, 23, who requested “Fault Lines” withhold her last name out of fear that she could be prosecuted for performing her own abortion. Going to Mexico was faster and cheaper on her minimum wage salary as a part-time office worker, than driving several hours north to the closest abortion clinic.
Part of Melissa’s problem was that there are no more abortion providers in the impoverished Rio Grande Valley. The final pair of clinics shut down in recent months after state politicians passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws that Texas has ever seen. Proponents assert new stipulations protect women’s health and regulate what they consider a freewheeling “abortion industry.” But doctors say it’s a safe and quick procedure, especially in the first trimester when most abortions take place.
Now, as clinics have shuttered, many experts worry more women will resort to risky ways of ending their pregnancies in Texas, which already has a high rate for self-induced abortions.