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 does the law affect people who self-manage their abortions?

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

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


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 will describe scientific research on 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.


  • 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

Read speaker bios.

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