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'Plan C' helps women find access to abortion without going to a clinic

Plan C was launched in 2016 as a web-based guide to getting abortion pills and self-managed abortion in the United States.

SAN DIEGO — As the debate about legalized abortion continues, alternative ways of getting an abortion are becoming a part of the conversation. Plan C is an organization that helps women gain access to an abortion pill that can be used without having to go to a clinic.

Abortion pills have been used in the U.S. since 2000 but with an uncertain future for Roe vs. Wade, some women are now taking another look at using these pills to terminate pregnancy.

“Plan C is a hub of information about how to find abortion pills by mail,” said Elisa Wells, Plan C Co-founder.  

Plan C was launched in 2016 as a web-based guide to getting abortion pills and self-managed abortion in the United States. Plan C does not provide abortion pills but works with AidAccess.org based in the Netherlands, to serve around 1,000 people a month.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for information about how to get abortion pills, particularly after September 1 when SB 8 went into effect in Texas,” Wells said. 

Abortion pills are considered prescription medication in the U.S. and with the growing use of telemedicine, a visit to the clinic isn’t needed to get them. Some states even allow telemedicine services to mail the pills directly to the person’s address. Wells said people are also finding abortion pills at online pharmacies without a prescription.

“Data from around the world [indicates] people are accessing these pills off of pharmacy shelves in the millions each year and using them to successfully have an early abortion. So yes absolutely, this type of access will be continuing to expand in the future,” Wells said. 

Abortion pills cause something similar to a miscarriage if used within the first 11 weeks of a pregnancy. In the last 20 years, there have also been at least 24 cases of women being prosecuted for using abortion pills in the U.S. Depending on each state’s laws, it can be illegal to self-manage an abortion.

“That’s what’s happening in our country right now. People are being criminalized and laws are being made to prevent this sort of modern, convenient, medical access to care," Wells said. 

Last year at the height of the pandemic, Plan C also developed a tool kit that medical providers could mail directly to patients. For more information, click here

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