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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mexican abortion support network fully active in US

MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Teddy bears with abortion pills are entering the United States from Mexico. An apartment in New York serves as a bank for those bullets. Another house south of the border was converted into a safe place for women who want to take the drug as well as abort their pregnancies.

It is part of logistics used by a dozen Mexican groups that, since early 2022, have organized with counterparts in the United States and helped nearly 1,700 women living in the United States obtain medical abortions so far this year. has been found. To calculate the organizations themselves.

That number may sound real, but it represents an exponential increase in relation to what happened in the past and activists believe it may be the case after the United States Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion last week. which was in force for almost 50 years.

“Demand is going to triple,” assured Sandra Cardona of Essential Abortion, a group based in the northern city of Monterey. “Earlier we used to go from the United States with about five women a month, now it’s between five and seven a week.”

The strategy of these organizations is clear: to put self-managed abortions, that is, the abortion pills—misoprostol and mifepristone—into the hands of those who want to abort their pregnancies and with them, virtually, most of the time, when they take medication.

These drugs are legal in the United States and in 2020 more than half of people who had abortions in that country chose this method, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a center for studies on reproductive rights.

But the pills require a prescription, Americans often take them to clinics — many of which are now closing — and many states have restrictions on their use.

Of the 13 states that already had laws prohibiting abortion, a half-dozen more have been added that have almost total constraints or are not allowed after six weeks, when many women don’t even know they are pregnant.

In this case, no one doubts that the alternative is home abortion. And there Mexican workers have years of experience.

While in the United States it was believed for decades that abortion rights would always be guaranteed thanks to the Roe v. Wade decision, “as activists in Mexico worked and tested new narratives, they became stronger and reassured the public.” Did that his message was right,” Texas Rep. Erin Zwiener told The Associated Press in May during a tour of the country.

This work was achieved by building networks, eliminating stigma, and promoting laws, recognized the Texan legislator.

Now Mexico is moving north in the exact opposite direction to its neighbor. Despite being a country with a strong Catholic influence, and abortion is prohibited in 22 states, it can no longer be considered a crime since September, according to a Supreme Court ruling. Today it is outlawed in 10 states, although only some parts of them, such as Mexico City, have an effective service that guarantees this right. That’s why home abortion remains popular.

Since January, Mexican activists have had the same strategy as they already had, but across the border.

From the south, groups such as Unasse from the Yucatan coordinate the management of funds to get more international donors of the pills, explained Amelia Ojeda, one of its members.

Northern women make crossings, stuffing pills into toys, bottles of vitamins, or sewn into folds of clothing with people who have visas or are US citizens.

“That they are found at the border (makes you feel) as if you were passing drugs,” admitted Marcela Castro, of María Verde Chihuahua, a state that borders Texas.

But there are also volunteers who live between the two countries and are transferred by air to states where abortion is legal.

Once on US soil, they are stored in “drug banks”, private addresses that each group assigns to locations in Texas that are strategically linked to the rest of the country or cities such as New York.

There is “ant” delivery by any number of possible means – personal, by mail, by car – even thanks to unknown and low-profile hands that, as the Department of Homeland Security warned this month, increased the risks of extremist violence. Huh .

“The new threat is chemical abortion, or medical abortion, with pills ordered online and shipped directly to a woman’s home,” cautioned pro-life activist Randall O’Bannon at a national convention held last week in Atlanta. ” “With Roe sent to the dustbin of history and states gaining ground in limiting abortion, this will be a battlefield for years to come.”

Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University School of Law specializing in reproductive law, agreed on the growing importance of the practice. “Therapeutic abortion will be where the abortion decision is made,” he said last month. “It will be the fight that will decide the extent to which the ban can be enforced.”

One front of that war is already in the form of lawsuits in US courts. Another one in foreign activism.

One of the most experienced organizations in Latin America and with a strong support network, Las Liberes has already reached nearly 1,500 women with pills, information and support, explained its director, Veronica Cruz.

According to Cruz, this has been achieved because of the commitment of a hundred people, most of them in California and New York, where abortion is legal. But given the increase in demand, they need “more drugs, more hands and more heads who want to cooperate.”

One of the obstacles is fear.

“In such a legal country (like the United States), the risks are taken seriously,” Castro said. Women and activists have been “encircled from all sides,” he recalled, recalling the millionaire fines, adding that those who help with abortions could face a prison sentence or even a prison sentence. can.

Much of the support of Mexican women through social media has been virtual, but on occasion some American women have opted to move to Mexico.

“Most of them tell us they feel safe to speak up and have direct information,” Sandra Cardona explained, “they pick up the pills and cross the border back to Texas, I need an abortion.

Others opted to have abortions at the group’s headquarters in Monterey, 200 kilometers south of the Texas border, which is also Cardona’s private home.

Upon arrival, their jaws drop when they see what the group calls “La Aborteria”. “It’s so crazy,” Cardona said with a laugh. “They tell us ‘But if it’s not a clinic, it’s not a dark place, it’s not scary! ‘Of course, it’s a house'”, he said as he usually replies to them.

His group has been opening its doors for more than five years to anyone who needs a safe space. Since May, a small apartment on the second floor of the house has been modernized and customized with a desk, internet connection and a sofa bed where the woman can do the whole process however she pleases.

First, Cardona explained, people who come from the United States don’t believe everything is free because some of them were scammed online. In fact, one woman even told him that “if they don’t have to deposit us (the money), it’s because we weren’t a serious organization,” Cardona recalled laughing out loud.

Those who request it are given the option to donate. “Our PayPal link was never used so much,” he said.

After an abortion, most realize they could have done it at home and, in the worker’s opinion, this is what matters: the message that is then transmitted by word of mouth.

Groups in Monterrey or Chihuahua said that they usually go with Latina or black women who live in the United States. Some even come from states where abortion is free but contact Mexican activists because they want to do it more privately.

Cruz was surprised because most of those contacted by Las Libres spoke English, which revealed one of his big pending issues: undocumented migrants who require abortions. “We still haven’t managed to reach the women who need it most, who shouldn’t have access to the Internet,” she lamented.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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