For decades, people have effectively self-managed their abortions without the supervision of a health care professional. Self-managed abortion (SMA) offers an alternative model of care that can serve people living in both restrictive and more liberal legal settings. SMA has been recognized for its potential not only to reduce harm caused by abortion restrictions, but also to contribute to personal agency and reproductive freedom, shifting power away from the formal medical system and into the hands of women and other pregnant people.

A growing body of evidence shows that self-managed medication abortion is safe and effective in early pregnancy, as well as in later pregnancy provided individuals can access post-abortion care if needed. Yet legal risk remains, as laws and policies fail to protect people who self-manage their abortion and those who help them.

This panel series will explore the interplay between empirical evidence on the safety and efficacy of self-managed abortion and laws, policies, and their application. We will bring together empirical researchers and legal experts to explore the state of the evidence, the state of the law, and relationships between the two in the context of self-managed medication abortion in the US and around the world. 

Panelists throughout the series will address the following questions:

Panel 1: What does the empirical evidence on self-managed abortion tell us?

Panel 2: How do restrictions on abortion provision drive self-managed abortion?

Panel 3: What legal risks are associated with self-managed abortion?

Panel 4: What is the future of self-managed abortion?

 

Panel 3: What legal risks are associated with self-managed abortion?

November 15, 2022, 9:00 a.m. ET-10:00 a.m. ET

The third panel will discuss the array of legal risks associated with self-managed abortions. 

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  • Joanna Erdman, Professor and MacBain Chair in Health Law & Policy, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
  • Farah Diaz-Tello, Senior Counsel & Legal Director, If/When/How – Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
  • Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, Associate and Post-doctoral Fellow, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University
  • Moderated by: Patty Skuster, Visiting Professor & Beck Chair in Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Read speaker bios.

Panel 2: How do restrictions on abortion provision drive self-managed abortion?

October 12, 2022, 9:00 a.m. ET-10:00 a.m. ET

In this second panel, presenters discussed legal restrictions on abortion and how such laws may drive people to self-manage their abortions. Presenters will share evidence and experiences from around the world, including the United States and multiple countries in Asia and Africa, and consider how laws affect the way people get abortions.

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  • Dr. Wanjiru Kareithi, Co-coordinator of Lawyers Network supporting self-managed abortion activism throughout Africa
  • Dr. Suchitra Dalvie, Coordinator, Asian Safe Abortion Partnership
  • Dr. Heidi Moseson, Senior Research Scientist at Ibis Reproductive Health
  • Moderated by Farah Diaz-Tello, Senior Counsel & Legal Director, If/When/How – Lawyering for Reproductive Justice

Read speaker bios.

Panel 1: What does the empirical evidence on self-managed abortion tell us?

June 2, 2022, 9:00 a.m. ET-10:30 a.m. ET

In this first panel, presenters described scientific research on the safety and efficacy of self-managed abortion. Panelists will present research on user satisfaction, accompaniment models, and hotlines and discuss empirical evidence underlying WHO’s recommendations on self-managed abortion.

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  • Dr. Caron Rahn Kim, Medical Officer, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization
  • Dr. Caitlin Gerdts, Vice President of Research, Ibis Reproductive Health, USA
  • Dr. Onikepe Owolabi, Program Director, Vital Strategies, USA
  • Prof. Raquel Drovetta, Universidad Nacional de Villa Maria and National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Argentina

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Spanish-English interpretation will be offered

 

Presented by the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University Beasley School of Law, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Ibis Reproductive Health, and If/When/How Lawyering for Reproductive Justice