Mehmet Oz, MD, is currently running for Senate in Pennsylvania (even though he was born in Ohio and spent much of his life in New Jersey), but chances are you’re probably somewhat familiar with him even if you don’t live there. He has the propensity to be…everywhere.He rose to fame as a regular guest on Oprah (who, BTW, recently endorsed his opponent John Fetterman), and went on to host his own daytime talk program, The Dr. Oz Show. For years, he also graced the covers of his magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, which now appears to be on pause.Despite the fact that he’s a medical doctor, he’s got a long history of sharing health opinions that are pretty wack. And by that we mean it ranges from not quiiiite accurate to flat-out wrong to potentially harmful and possibly dangerous.To be clear, we’re not calling out a couple of instances in which Dr. Oz spoke out of turn: We’re talking about his tendency to repeatedly share misleading medical information for the last decade. And to prove just how far-out some of his advice has been, we put together a list of several of his worst moments.He claimed selenium supplements can prevent cancer. In a 2012 episode of The Dr. Oz Show, he called selenium, a mineral found in certain foods, the “holy grail of cancer prevention,” per the Washington Post. But according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there’s actually no solid proof that it reduces cancer risk.He said three foods can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, specifically, by “up to 75%.” In 2011 he said on The Dr. Oz Show that endive, red onion, and sea bass could drastically reduce ovarian cancer risk—a claim that so outraged one group of actual researchers, they refuted it in a 2012 article called “Reality Check: There Is No Such Thing as a Miracle Food,” published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.In 2010, he implied that sleeping with a bar of lavender soap can help combat restless leg syndrome (RLS). Yes, you read that right. As Insider reports, in a 2010 episode of The Dr. Oz Show, he said, “I know this sounds crazy, but people put it under their sheets. We think the lavender is relaxing and may be itself beneficial.” Though this one isn’t necessarily harmful per se, it’s just…incorrect. As one medically reviewed article put it: “There is no evidence that a bar of soap in the bed will help relax your legs. There is no logical reason to place a bar of soap in the bed to treat either restless legs or leg cramps.”He was literally questioned by the Senate for endorsing two weight loss products on TV. In June 2014, he appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance during a false advertising hearing. The subcommittee questioned him on why he’d endorsed raspberry ketone and green coffee extract as weight loss wonders. His written testimony violated Federal Trade Commission guidelines by saying certain pills could “melt” fat, according to Politico. At one point during the hearing, former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill told Dr. Oz, “The scientific community is almost monolithic against you.”He recommended HCG, a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy, for weight loss. In 2011, he dedicated air time to what he called a “controversial” weight-loss approach called the HCG diet, per the Washington Post. How controversial, you may ask? Followers were advised to take a dietary supplement containing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, and limit their food intake to 500 calories a day (!). This absolutely is as bad as it sounds: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says taking products that contain HCG to lose weight is “reckless.” This 2020 statement from the administration makes its position clear in no uncertain terms: “If you have HCG products for weight loss, quit using it, throw it out, and stop following the dieting instructions.”In 2020, he talked up the benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 on Fox News. In a largely incoherent speech just weeks after COVID-19 started spreading widely in the US, Dr. Oz insinuated that hydroxychloroquine could treat people who had become very ill with the virus. Nearly three years after its emergence, there’s still no strong evidence to support the drug’s use for COVID treatment.In a recent debate, he said abortion decisions should be made among “women, doctors, and local political leaders.” Pregnant people? Yes—we agree with him there. Doctors? Sure! Local politicians, on the other hand, shouldn’t get a say here.In addition to the above, Dr. Oz’s campaign has stooped low enough to attack his opponent’s health. In a statement given to Insider by one of his aides in August, his team said: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke.” Another aide defended that statement by saying Fetterman couldn’t stand up for more than 10 minutes, CNN reports. When asked by NBC News if he would ever speak to his own patients this way, Dr. Oz said, simply, “No.”The above claims (which by no means constitute a complete list) are unfounded at best and possibly dangerous at worst. The bottom line? At a time when our elected officials play a huge role in our everyday health and well-being, Dr. Oz probably isn’t our best bet for public representation!Related:
Madeline Brewer earned a 2021 Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Janine Lindo on The Handmaid’s Tale (which returns to Hulu for season five on September 14). While viewers have watched Janine survive one trauma after another in Gilead, the show has also revealed some of the character’s backstory prior to becoming Ofwarren, including the safe and legal abortion she underwent at a clinic before giving birth to her son, Caleb. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, millions of people across the US have lost their reproductive freedom. This terrifying shift moved Brewer to share via a June Instagram post that she also had an abortion offscreen at age 20. Here, she tells SELF her abortion story in full, as told to writer Samantha Vincenty, and she explains why she’s never regretted her choice.I grew up in a historically white town in New Jersey that was pretty conservative at the time; it had 13 churches within a 2-square-mile radius, so when it came to the residents’ views toward reproductive health, interpret that as you will. But my own parents were very “choose your own adventure” about religion. My mom is one badass feminist, and she instilled a lot of that in me. My view on abortion was always “whatever you need to do for your body.”That said, when I was growing up, I never saw a single TV show in which a person made this decision and the doctor was supportive, in the way we portrayed Janine’s experience on The Handmaid’s Tale. Both onscreen and in the world around me, abortion was a whispered word.I was 20 years old when I got pregnant; at the time, I was attending acting school in Manhattan while living in Queens. I was an emotionally guarded person back then with no clue of who I was or what I wanted, really. All I knew was that I wanted to be an actor.Like so many people, I didn’t even realize that I’d become pregnant until weeks afterward. My boyfriend and I had used a condom the last time we’d had sex. I’d missed a period, but that wasn’t unusual for me: I was in college, stressed out, and dancing five days a week, so my body was already going through a lot.By strange coincidence, I booked Orange Is the New Black on the same day that I got pregnant. Two weeks later, after the greatest night of my life filming my first TV show, I was mugged on the streets of Queens while walking home from the studio. I remember being frightened for my life. But to be honest, I was generally scared of everything in those days. When I look back at myself on that first season of Orange, I think, God, that girl was so lost. And it was during this time that I had to make this huge life decision to terminate a pregnancy.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a federal ban on all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy on Tuesday. The move comes just weeks after Senator Mitch McConnell said Republicans were unlikely to propose a nationwide ban like the one Senator Graham just introduced, The New York Times reports, and months after the Supreme Court voted 6-to-3 to take away the constitutional right to abortion.Senator Graham’s proposed bill, the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act” (a name that is both gross and misleading) would aim to stop so-called late-term abortion—which isn’t a thing. The term “has no medical or clinical significance,” per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); instead, it’s a phrase bandied about by politicians and other bad actors looking to limit access to essential health care and bodily autonomy.Twitter contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.In January 2021, Senator Graham tried to pass an abortion ban after 20 weeks—despite the fact that about six in 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases—but 15 weeks is even more extreme. The overwhelming majority of abortions, including those performed after the 15-week mark, are safe, the ACOG notes. In fact, people who get an abortion procedure 15 to 23 weeks into their pregnancies usually don’t even have to stay in the hospital overnight. When a person is 15 weeks pregnant, the fetus isn’t fully developed. Ultimately, the health of the pregnant person matters, and they should have a say over what happens to their own body. As the ACOG notes, banning abortion can force some people to carry a pregnancy to term even if it poses a significant risk to their well-being. In addition to putting pregnant people’s health at risk, abortion bans may also criminalize doctors and other health care workers who provide essential, potentially life-saving services.Senator Graham’s bill is in part intended to rally his party around the issue ahead of midterm elections in November—even though anti-abortion legislation is wildly unpopular and led to record voter registration and turnout in Kansas in August, where people made it clear they wanted to keep abortion legal and accessible.
Moore suspects that some anti-abortion lawmakers will eventually try to enact laws that prohibit sending abortion pills through the mail. First-class packages mailed through the US Postal Service are protected by the Fourth Amendment and can only be opened with a search warrant if a postal inspector suspects the contents violate federal law—and abortion pills remain legal under federal law, at least for now.People are accessing telehealth abortion services regardless of where they live.Ultimately, accessing any type of abortion will come down to weighing individual risk as the legal landscape fluctuates state by state. “The biggest issue is going to be the fear these laws instill in people,” Elisa Wells, MPH, cofounder and codirector of Plan C, an advocacy group that researches how people are accessing abortion pills in the US, tells SELF.If you live in a state without restrictions on medication abortion, you can get abortion pills in person from a health care provider who prescribes them. (You can find a list of providers near you at Plan C.) In those states, you can also get abortion pills mailed to you following a consultation with a health care provider through one of many US-based telehealth services, including Carafem, Hey Jane, Choix, and Just the Pill. These providers are almost entirely asynchronous. For instance, with Hey Jane, you don’t have to schedule a phone call but, instead, fill out a medical form and consult with a practitioner using encrypted messaging. The medication usually arrives within three to four days in an unmarked envelope, but you should always confirm these details with your provider as timing may vary slightly with each service.In states where abortion is banned or restricted, some have found possible work-arounds when it comes to telehealth. For example, certain people rent a “virtual mailbox” from a mail forwarding service (such as PostScan Mail) in a state where telehealth abortions are allowed. They then use this address on forms to get pills shipped to their homes without costly travel, Wells says. This way, you’re, at the very least still in touch with a health care provider. (Plan C offers a clear guide for this process.) “When we talk to lawyers, they say everyone appears to be complying with the regulations that pertain to them,” Wells says, adding that authorities may still find other ways to penalize people who use this strategy.AidAccess is another telemedicine option that’s becoming popular, The New York Times reports. The Austria-based nonprofit, run by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, ships abortion pills to you no matter where you live in the US (In fact, research shows the organization received more than 57,000 requests from people in all 50 states between March 2018 and March 2020.) Depending on the state you live in, consultations are done with either a doctor based in the US or a doctor based in Europe. For people who live in states that require a European doctor, the medications are shipped from a pharmacy in India. These pills typically take two to three weeks to arrive, which may be a drawback, depending on how far along you are. Under the Trump Administration, the FDA sent Aid Access a warning letter to cease operations, but the organization refused and sued the federal agency to halt further legal action; it’s unclear whether state or federal prosecutors have plans to place another cease-operations request in the future. (Again, it’s important to research your state’s abortion laws before making any decision.)Will telehealth abortion access be enough in a post-Roe world?While preserving access to abortion pills via telehealth is incredibly important, these pills aren’t a panacea for abortion care in a post-Roe world. Some people prefer to come into a health center or prefer an abortion procedure, which is colloquially known as a surgical abortion, Melissa Grant, the chief operating officer at the telehealth abortion provider Carafem, tells SELF. “Those options should be available,” she says.
In the spring of 2019, students from Boston University’s Students for Reproductive Freedom (SRF) club attended an annual reproductive justice conference, now called the Collective Power Conference, at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. At the meeting, the SRF students met members of a like-minded group from Brandeis University who told them about a surprising and innovative project: They had a vending machine installed on their campus that dispensed emergency contraception (EC).The BU students were inspired and set out to “emulate that Brandeis project on BU’s campus,” Charlotte Beatty, who served as co-president of SRF last year and was a freshman at the time of the conference, tells SELF. Over the next three years, BU students, including Beatty and her SRF co-president Molly Baker, worked to make an EC vending machine a reality on their campus. This past March, it was finally installed, providing BU students with reliable, convenient, and anonymous access to a generic version of Plan B at a much lower cost than they’d likely pay in a drugstore. Today, student activists across the country—from Brandeis to Stanford—have spearheaded projects to install these machines, which could become more vital than ever in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s overturning. If you’re fired up to increase access to reproductive health care services, here’s how you can get an emergency contraception vending machine onto your campus.Make sure you have the support of campus officials and fellow students.Before you begin the project, it’s important to find out what’s feasible on your campus, Nicola Brogan, project manager for the American Society of Emergency Contraception, tells SELF. Brogan also oversees the organization’s Emergency Contraception for Every Campus (EC4EC) program, which helps college students get EC vending machines on their campus or establish other EC distribution programs.“If you don’t have support from administration, a vending machine is basically impossible,” Brogan says. In other words, logistics like getting permission (from someone like a dean, student health center manager, or facilities director) to take up campus space with an EC machine, using empty slots in an existing vending machine, and buying the medication itself all require help from the campus powers that be.Campus officials may also wonder if an EC machine is even legal. Though some states require permits for these vending machines, according to EC4EC’s state-by-state regulation guide, only one state, Connecticut, has laws explicitly prohibiting dispensing EC from a vending machine.It may also be helpful to poll students by conducting a survey on campus to find out how many people would utilize the vending machine, says Brogan. Not only is it useful to the students spearheading the project to know that there’s a need and enthusiasm for the service, but administrators might be more likely to get on board once they realize it’s something students want and will actually use, she says.“That acts as a foundation when you go and have that conversation with the administration to prove, like, hey, this is not just me and my two friends who want to do this,” Brogan says. She adds that a survey can show officials that many students “think it’s a good opportunity for the campus.”Figure out how to pay for the project.Buying large amounts of generic Plan B, as well as the vending machine itself (if you aren’t able to add the medication to an existing machine on campus), will obviously cost money, and there are a variety of ways to pay for it, says Brogan. For instance, BU’s SRF group is a Planned Parenthood Generation Action club, meaning they get annual funding through Planned Parenthood (in their case, through Boston Planned Parenthood). The students also used club funding provided by BU’s student organization office—a support source available on many college campuses—and money from individual alumni donations, says Beatty. Between installing, stocking, and promoting the vending machine, it cost the BU students around $3,000, according to Beatty. The largest expense was the machine itself, she says, which was about $2,700.Get help sourcing the medication and buying and stocking the vending machine.Even though they had the funding, BU’s SRF students found that there were other obstacles to overcome—namely, finding someone with the right type of medical license to bulk order Plan B.
Spenser Cattin, 30, has never wanted children and said he first thought about getting a vasectomy eight years ago. He talked about the procedure with his partner, who also doesn’t want children, numerous times over the years, but didn’t take action until October 2021. At that time, Cattin talked to his primary care doctor for referrals to a urologist and had a consultation within the month.In mid-May, Cattin finally scheduled his vasectomy appointment, which coincided with the leaked draft of the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Although Cattin had wanted a vasectomy for years, he says the news about Roe solidified his decision. Cattin had the procedure on June 30 (just days after Roe was officially overturned) and publicly shared his experience on Facebook.Below, read Cattin’s story as told to SELF’s associate health director Melissa Matthews. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.When the Supreme Court’s draft opinion first came out, there was a thought nagging in the back of my head that said, They came for everyone else, and when they came for me there was no one left to speak out. I felt like I was watching time go backward. Being a cisgender white male, there has never been much of a threat to my bodily autonomy. That was a big part of me wanting to get the vasectomy done sooner rather than later. After the ruling, I was chomping at the bit waiting for my already scheduled appointment to get it done.For me, accountability was a big reason I chose to get a vasectomy. I’ve had conversations with new partners in the past about birth control, but no one has ever asked me if I have had a vasectomy. It takes two people to conceive a child, and all of that responsibility shouldn’t be put on one of those two people. I was also reading that it could become harder for someone with a uterus to acquire certain types of birth control like IUDs. It would almost feel irresponsible not to do something when I felt like having a vasectomy was a simple option.Having the procedure has been eye-opening in ways that I didn’t really expect. My consultation lasted about five minutes, and I only remember being asked if I had kids. In comparison, I know women in their 40s whose doctors told them to hold off on getting their tubes tied in case they want kids. You don’t realize how easy you have it until you get something done really simply and it isn’t available to other people. I wondered why it couldn’t be easy for everyone.On the day of the procedure, I was told that someone needed to drive me to and from my appointment, but no other preparation was involved. I didn’t feel nervous at all. I had more trepidation about taking vacation time off work than I did about having a vasectomy.The whole procedure, from local anesthesia to walking out the door, took about 30 minutes. I went in, was given local anesthesia, and the doctor asked if I wanted a play-by-play of the entire procedure. He was very calm and explained that some people prefer to know every step while others find that worrisome. I’m the type of person who wants to know what’s happening, so the urologist explained the process in detail. He made a small incision on one side, cauterized my vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm), and did the same on the other side. Then, I put on a jockstrap that contained gauze and was told to wear that for 48 hours, meaning I couldn’t shower for two days. As I was leaving, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders because I no longer had to worry about having kids.
Downloading new browsers and paying for a VPN may not be accessible to everyone, though, and in those cases, it’s still a good idea to delete your search history and use incognito mode when you’re online (even though this doesn’t fully protect your privacy). “Clearing your history and cookies does meaningfully reduce what police can access with a warrant,” Rebecca says.You may also want to consider turning off your phone’s location services in certain situations, such as if you go to a reproductive health clinic to talk with a doctor. And, it’s probably best to use only private, vetted health apps for period tracking, like Euki, Rebecca says.“If you’re talking with people about getting an abortion, use an encrypted app like Signal and encrypted email like Protonmail,” she adds. “If I wanted to save my abortion plan somewhere, I’d email it to my Protonmail from my Protonmail to store it in that inbox.”Set up a Google alert to help you stay on top of changes.Staying on top of the legal landscape of abortion care can be difficult given all the changes that are happening right now, says Wynn. Still, “it’s worth keeping tabs on your individual state’s abortion laws,” she says. If feeling up to date and in the know is a source of empowerment for you, consider setting up a Google alert with phrases like “abortion law [insert your state name here]” or “abortion [state name]” to send you the latest news.There is one caveat, though: This really depends on what you feel like you can mentally handle. “There’s an overwhelming amount of information that’s out there,” Heather Shumaker, director of state abortion access at the National Women’s Law Center, tells SELF.If you feel like you’re having trouble processing the news cycle lately, this may not be the best route for you. Instead, Shumaker recommends periodically consulting the National Women’s Law Center or Guttmacher Institute, where you can get up-to-date information without having to see every soul-sucking headline. The Guttmacher Institute has a constantly updated interactive abortion map that tracks abortion laws across the U.S. that can help clue you in. Another good resource is Planned Parenthood, which also has a state-by-state guide. Plan to look at these every few months, at minimum, to see if there have been any major changes you should know about.Have a few inexpensive pregnancy tests handy.“It can be a good idea to make sure you have a few pregnancy tests handy in case you need them,” Wynn says. “The earlier you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you can weigh your options.” While pregnancy tests can be pricey and do expire over time, you can typically buy them at a hefty discount from your local dollar store, making stockpiling them a more practical option.This has become especially important now that certain states have bans on abortion starting as early as six weeks—when most people don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. As soon as you suspect you could be pregnant, it’s best to take a test. Most at-home tests will be able to detect pregnancy about 10 days after conception, but waiting until your first missed period will reduce the chances of a false negative, according to Mount Sinai. Wynn just recommends checking the expiration date for the tests, which is usually stamped on the side of the box, and following directions on how to store your tests properly.Figure out the nearest abortion clinic in your area.Shumaker says it’s “really important” to know this before you’re in a situation where time is of the essence. This is true if you live in a state where abortion is banned, but also for people in states where abortion is generally accessible, as wait times for appointments may be much longer due to an influx of people from neighboring states. If you are seeking an abortion, “every moment counts,” she says, and trying to locate a clinic is one less thing you’d have to worry about if you do some research now to plan ahead. Doing this research in advance can also help you avoid organizations called crisis pregnancy centers that portray themselves as abortion providers but “exist only to deter people from getting abortions,” Shumaker says. Some telltale red flags include not stating clearly whether they perform abortions, making abortion sound really dangerous, or running ads asking if you’re pregnant, scared, and need help.
It’s also important to remember that when people aren’t able to access abortion when they need it, they are often pushed much further into pregnancy. “This increase costs exponentially,” says Ghosh. “For many, the increased financial burden will push abortion care completely out of reach.”Nicole, whose insurance plan wouldn’t cover her abortion at the time she spoke to SELF, was just barely able to scrape together enough money by splitting the cost with her boyfriend. Her best advice when it comes to paying for your abortion? “Don’t wait to make your appointment until you have the money,” Nicole says. “Make the appointment, ask how much it is, and you can figure it out from there.” Dr. Minkin agrees. “Once you have decided on an abortion, do start working on scheduling things as soon as you can,” she says. If you wait until you have the funds, you may not be able to get an appointment until you’re already past the window of time when you can legally get an abortion in your state or neighboring states.10. Make a plan to take care of yourself afterward.Plan to take it as easy as possible for a few days following your abortion if you can. Many people will potentially experience side effects like cramping, bleeding, and fatigue after either kind of abortion, Dr. Streicher says, and a medication abortion may also cause potential side effects like chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting, per ACOG. “We tell people to expect that, for 24 hours, you might have some cramping, like severe menstrual cramping,” Dr. Streicher says. “Sometimes bleeding will continue for a week or so.”Stocking up on items like pads, heating pads, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help, Dr. Minkin says. “Alter your exercise regimen a bit,” she adds. “Although you certainly can walk around, don’t plan on a workout at the gym. Do ask your provider when they would suggest you get back to regular exercising. Most will say about a week.”Here’s more information about exactly what might be helpful when you’re recovering from an abortion, including any red flags, like excess bleeding, that signal you should call a doctor. Talk to your medical providers about all of this, too.“I received a concierge level of information from the doctors and nurses about what was going to happen, what to expect, and what to know about something going wrong,” Nicole says. “The doctor, nurses, and staff really handheld me.”It’s a national disgrace that what is at its core a safe and effective routine health care service became an unnecessarily complicated ordeal due to the logistical barriers that stood in Nicole’s way. “It took so much planning and making appointments and confirming them. All that money and time,” she says. “And it was around the holidays … That stuff piles up.”Even with the advantages she had—background knowledge of how things worked in her state thanks to her volunteer work, a supportive partner and friends, a car, financial means, and a flexible work schedule—Nicole, like so many did even pre-Roe, had to jump through far too many hoops to make the right decision for herself and her future.Related:
“The movement has existed for decades and will continue to exist,” Kelly says. “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” Many reproductive rights advocates have been preparing for increased abortion restrictions for years, which means they know better than anyone who needs the most support, how to best help those people, and all the legal and safety concerns involved in organizing and advocating for abortion rights.“The way that we do our work, and the things that we are thinking about, are always being filtered through and in consideration of what the people most impacted are telling us they need,” Jacobson says. This is a guiding principle that’s essential for any form of social justice activism, regardless of your level of involvement.…and don’t try to steal the mic from them.The wrong way to get involved in abortion rights activism, per Jacobson: grabbing the (literal or metaphorical) megaphone. “Men should be partners, not saviors,” he says. In other words, prioritize listening over trying to be the loudest voice in the room.Even if you do decide to become a leader in the movement, there are still ways to center the voices of people who can become pregnant. For instance, Jacobson explains that Men4Choice is structured so that he serves as co-executive director with activist Mrinalini Chakraborty, an immigrant woman of color from India. This partnership is important because Black women and other women of color have disproportionately high rates of abortion and are among the marginalized groups most likely to be hurt by restricted access and the overturning of Roe.Talk about abortion and reproductive rights with your friends.Another thing cis men can do is simply talk to other men about abortion rights. “Guys having conversations with their friends is the entry point for their involvement in this movement,” Jacobson says. It can also be helpful to emphasize to men that this isn’t just a “women’s issue,” he adds. A person’s freedom to make their own decisions about their body, their health care, and their life is something that impacts everyone.Kelly says that men sharing their own experiences related to abortion can also be powerful. People openly telling their abortion stories is one of the bedrocks of Shout Your Abortion, she says, but those stories tend to come from people who received an abortion. At a recent dinner party, Kelly heard a man share how he had once been with a partner who had an abortion and how it had allowed him to become a father later on, on his own terms and when he was ready. “That is a story we need to hear times one million,” she says, in order to move more cis men to actively support abortion access.Men also benefit from abortion, but without having to reckon with the cost, lost time, emotional burden, or physical consequences of receiving one. “Men are the silent beneficiaries” of access to abortion care, says Kelly. Emphasizing this when talking with other men, including by telling personal stories of abortion, can help make it clear that, again, this isn’t just a “women’s issue,” she says.
There are countless devastating effects that can and will result from the fall of Roe v. Wade, but one emergent and chilling consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision is how abortion bans may influence the crucial treatment of miscarriages.By definition, a miscarriage—known as a spontaneous abortion—is a nonviable pregnancy that occurs before the week 20 of gestation; after that, it’s considered a stillbirth. The treatment options are very similar to those of abortion—there is no way to stop or prevent a miscarriage that has already been diagnosed. That means providers in states with total or near-total bans, such as Texas, now face a legally murky landscape when it comes to care.As Luu Ireland, MD, an ob-gyn in Massachusetts and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, tells SELF, a miscarriage is a pregnancy that cannot be safely carried to term. “There is no chance of it going on to be a normal pregnancy,” Dr. Ireland says. While the research varies, it’s estimated that between 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, per the Mayo Clinic, but experts believe that figure could be much higher.Sometimes a miscarriage could mean that the embryo is not having cardiac activity at the expected time, that the gestational sac (a fluid-filled structure that protects the embryo) is growing but the fetus isn’t, or that someone is actively bleeding in the process of passing a pregnancy. It’s difficult for a doctor to know what has caused a particular miscarriage, but as Planned Parenthood notes, it’s almost never something the pregnant person has done. And Dr. Ireland is clear: “What clinches a diagnosis is what the outcome would be, which is, this is not a viable pregnancy, and it will never be a normal pregnancy.”Meera Shah, MD, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, tells SELF that there are a couple of treatment options for a miscarriage: One involves administering the exact same two drugs that are used in a medication abortion (mifepristone and misoprostol), and another involves performing a dilation and curettage, or a D&C, which is a surgical procedure that is done to remove tissue from inside the uterus. “Regardless of the status of the pregnancy, whether it’s a viable pregnancy or a miscarriage, the treatment options are exactly the same,” Dr. Ireland says.How might abortion bans affect crucial miscarriage treatment?Similar to the way that abortion bans can potentially affect the lifesaving treatment needed for an ectopic pregnancy, treating a miscarriage may become unnecessarily complicated and could lead to dangerous delays in care in states where legal abortion is illegal or criminalized, according to Dr. Ireland.“Because it’s the same medication used in abortions, we are seeing a lot of pushback from pharmacists,” Dr. Ireland says. “Patients aren’t getting the medication they need because the pharmacist is worried about legal repercussions. Instead of providing appropriate medical care, pharmacists are having to think about what they need to do to keep themselves safe. As a result, they are denying care to patients undergoing the very difficult process of having a miscarriage.”