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Gynecologist explains how abortion can be a life-saving form of health care

·3-min read
Dr. Staci Tanouye abortion is healthcare
Dr. Staci Tanouye abortion is healthcare

Dr. Staci Tanouye is an In The Know wellness contributor. All opinions expressed are her own. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok for more.

Maternal mortality from pregnancy is, on average, 14 times higher than that of abortion. For people with underlying health comorbidities, this disparity is even higher.

Statistics from reliable sources like Guttmacher.org tell us that restricting abortion access does not directly impact abortion numbers. But it does force privileged individuals to travel further and spend more to access abortion services. Simultaneously, it pushes people without privilege into unsafe abortion options.

While much of this is frightening to think about, let’s shift our focus to actionable things you can do right now.

Do NOT create or share posts that promote at-home or over-the-counter abortion remedies.

Inevitably, people may turn to desperate measures. On TikTok, this often means people creating videos that promote high doses of certain vitamins, OTC medications, herbs and various concoctions to try to end a pregnancy. Please, please, please do not like, share, promote or create these videos.

NONE of these things reliably work.

Some of these methods could be potentially dangerous.

And all of them only serve to delay actual health care, and we do not have the time for any delays right now.

Talk to your medical provider about your birth control options, and start something reliable if you haven’t already.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives such as the implant or IUDs are the most effective at pregnancy prevention. Also, keep a supply of condoms on hand. Prevention is the best way to try to decrease the need for abortion.

Have emergency contraception on hand at home to decrease any barriers to use when it is needed.

We know that all contraceptives have somewhat of a failure rate. Accidents happen and, unfortunately, non-consensual sex exists. Know your options ahead of time. Plan B and all of its generic versions (1.5 mg levonorgestrel) are most effective the soonest you take it after unprotected sex. Generic versions can be purchased online or from online pharmacies, sometimes in packs of three or more. If you have access to a medical provider and insurance, the prescription for it is often covered at no out-of-pocket cost.

The more effective options, if you have access to a provider, are a copper IUD (most effective for people of all sizes) or prescription Ella.

Buy some home pregnancy tests to keep on hand.

Online retailers like Amazon and Walmart sell pregnancy tests in bulk for cheap, and local dollar stores also have affordable pregnancy tests. These are options if someone has a missed period. If the test results are negative, make sure to repeat in a week if your period hasn’t started yet.

Know how you can find reliable health care resources.

Be familiar with sites like plannedparenthood.org, abortionfinder.org, womenonweb.org, abortionfunds.org and others.

Advocate for and participate in comprehensive sex education combined with increased access to birth control methods.

Research has shown that comprehensive sex education from home, schools and communities serve to increase condom use, decrease sexually transmitted infections, delay the age of first sexual experience, and decrease teen pregnancy rates. Fight for this in schools, and teach your children or younger siblings about anatomy, consent and safety early.

Last but not least — vote, advocate and make your voice heard!

If you found this article useful, learn about three dangerous sexual health myths making the rounds on TikTok.

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