A Netherlands-based abortion activist group has launched a new website that teaches American women how to terminate their own pregnancies with the use of abortion-inducing drugs.
The website, created by the group called Women Help Women, advises American women on how to use the abortion drug misoprostol and tells them where they can obtain it illegally.
Misoprostol is commonly used with mifepristone, which blocks hormones necessary to sustain a pregnancy. The FDA recommends that the two drugs be taken together with medical supervision and an in-person follow-up appointment.
Although misoprostol is less likely to induce abortions without mifepristone, the success rate is still high.
An ultrasound is often necessary to assess how many weeks a woman has been pregnant because misoprostol is less effective and requires a different regimen later in the first trimester. Using the drug at a high dose in the second trimester could result in serious medical complications.
Americans United for Life, a pro-life group that has lobbied states to require strict medical supervision for the use of abortion medications, expressed concern about the dangers of distributing the drug.
"These drugs are dangerous. They are deadly. If they are mishandled, they result in serious injury," said Kristi Hamrick, the group's spokeswoman. "To just distribute them and put them in an automatic dispenser like a can of soda is absolutely medical malpractice," she added.
Susan Yanow, the U.S. spokeswoman for Women Help Women, asserted that women in the U.S. are using the pill "without good guidance."
"If a woman is anxious and has the pills in her hand, and doesn't know what to do ... we can help her understand what to do. We can help her understand what signs to look for, and what's going on," she said, according to The Guardian.
Guides for taking misoprostol are widely available online, but the group's website stands out because it would connect American women with counselors who can provide step-by-step instructions and answer their questions in real time.
Medical professionals will also advise women on how to recognize complications, such as excessive bleeding, which could occur after they leave the clinic.
Women Help Women executive director Kinga Jelinska said that the U.S. version of the site was launched because of President Donald Trump's pro-life platform.
"There is a lot of fear and worry that, with the current administration and restrictions that are to the enormous disadvantage of girls and women, that access to clinical care might further diminish," she told The Washington Post.
Several states have made it illegal for anyone apart from medical professionals to administer abortion-inducing drugs and at least 18 women in the U.S. have been charged with attempting to induce their own abortions.