Abortion is a reality that some young women unfortunately have to face. Circumstances regarding the future of a newly conceived fetus are different for everybody and deciding to abort is a brave choice that women may end up coming to. I imagine it would take a lot out of an individual to be able to make a decision such as the one at hand. Too commonly the pressures after making the decision can often be worse. With immense controversy surrounding pro-life vs. pro-choice, getting access to an abortion pill is a battle within itself.
Although some provinces have stipulations in place regarding protesters in a certain proximity to a women’s health clinic the reality is that most in places these protesters are hard to avoid. With the pressure of the protesters, ability to access and the price of an abortion pill putting a dent in the wallet, it is no wonder that woman all over the world are relying on shady websites with cheap pills to help them out.
In 2005 the service Women on Web founded by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a physician in the Netherlands, made it their mission to deliver pills in the mail to women seeking an abortion after the online consultation with a physician. Due to the backlash by anti-abortion agencies Women on Web were unable to sell pills to North America out of fear of being shut down. Thirteen years later, Rebbeca Gomperts has moved her fight to America and a startup with the initiative to deliver proper and safe pills for a lower cost in the United States has launched.
While many abortion pills are sold online, they lack any sort of medical oversight. Gomperts American startup, Aid Access, requires a consultation by all applicants. These consultations usually consist of a detailed questionnaire that will be filled out by applicants and sent to the desk of Gompert and colleagues. The doctors then review each questionnaire to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive the pill at which point if the applicant is, the prescription gets sent to the pharmacy to fill and from there sent to the applicants’ house. If anyone has questions or concerns about the product, they are able to call Gompert via Skype or her helpdesk for further clarification.
In addition to the safe delivery of a doctor prescribed abortion pills, the cost of getting the consultation and pill with shipping amounts to only $95 American Dollars. Without insurance in the United States, women pay anywhere from $400-600 in a clinic. In comparison to other abortion services, Aid Access is not only a safe alternative but a cheaper one to help out people who simply can’t afford or don’t have access to other services.
In an interview with Business Insider UK Gomperts announced, “[Aid Access] is not intended to replace any existing [abortions] services at all. That’s not the intention. The intention is to be a backup for women that cannot access the other services that exist. Abortion should be much easier to access in the US than it is now.”
As a young female living in Canada, I believe that this problem of accessing abortion methods and services is something that our country lacks. Similarly to the US, there is a large number of abortion options available expanding across our country but in addition to long wait times they aren’t always safe, accessible, affordable (depending on insurance), or due to protestors free from shame. This begs the question: Why hasn’t anyone tried to accomplish what Gompert has as safely and securely before? Although it is 2018 areas such as abortion access still need improvement. It is with hope, that Gomperts initiatives are just a starting point regarding alternatives for abortion and that from this base both the United States and Canada can expand and improve. It is time that we stop judging and start helping to better the lives of others around us.
Rylie Moscato is a first year English student and Wellness Columnist for The Athenaeum