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Dutch group offers Americans do-it-yourself instructions for at-home abortions

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Women Help Women, a Netherlands-based group, is offering free instruction on how to induce at-home abortions. The organization's website points out that it would be a help for American women who can't obtain some medical abortifacients.

“In the U.S., abortion is legal in every state, and every state has at least one clinic that provides abortion care,” the organization's website states. “However, in many states the law requires that abortion pills be given by licensed health care clinicians, and a woman may be arrested for using abortion pills that were not obtained through a clinician.”

Women Help Women says it can set up those outside of the U.S. with abortion pills — both Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which are abortion drugs approved by the World Health Organization — for a "donation" of $82. "In most countries," the site reads, "you are allowed to receive medicines for your own use."

Though the site's e-service is technically available only to women less than nine weeks pregnant, the group's services are apparently available to girls under 18. When "patients" access the step-by-step process to request pills, the site allows them to enter a birth date that's indicates they are younger than 18 and still proceed with requesting the shipment of medication — so long as they state that they're less nine weeks pregnant.

The site also encourages women to do at-home medical abortions, implying that all women are supposed to be able to handle the physical and emotional fallout that can sometimes come along with the process of abortion. In the absence of a physician in a controlled environment, many things can go wrong, which Women Help Women notes on their website.

The group claims that complications as a result of abortion are "rare," but can include severe bleeding, severe abdominal pain, fever, and abnormal vaginal discharge — all of which need to be monitored by a doctor should these symptoms present themselves.

"For safety, what is important is that women have access to the medicines and get accurate information on how to use the medicines, what to expect after taking the medicines, and how to identify signs of a possible complication," advice on the website reads. "The process of medical abortion is similar to a miscarriage. When done in the first 9 weeks there are minimal risks. In the rare case of a complication, just like with a miscarriage, the woman should see a doctor or go to the hospital."

In addition to providing medication, the site offers information on how to "safely" induce a DIY abortion. The group also offers real-time counselors to walk women through the steps if they need the help.

While the site does offer a section on "after the abortion," it simply answers questions like:

Was my abortion successful?

When can I go back to work?

When can I start contraceptives?

When will the pregnancy symptoms disappear?

When can I have sex again?

Can I use tampons?

Can I swim or take a bath?

When will I menstruate again?

Is it safe to have more than one abortion?

Can I still have children after medical abortion?

How will I feel emotionally after the abortion?

Noting that most women feel "relief" after the abortion, the site says, "Millions of women around the world have abortions and have no psychological problems afterwards."

"It is important to remember that in many cultures, women who have sex or an unwanted pregnancy are expected to feel shamed and guilty," the site says. "Those expectations can influence a woman. It is always difficult to resist the expectations of society. At Women Help Women, we believe in women’s strength and we trust women to make the decision that is best for her. No one else can judge the decisions of an individual woman."

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