Women in Texas are turning to “flea market” abortions as state legislature moves toward one of the most expansive and restrictive abortion bans in the union.
The new laws, which have already passed the Texas House, will see the closure of almost all women’s health clinics in the large southern state.
Though clinics where abortions were made affordable and available will be gone, Texas women will still inevitably desire abortions. And for many women, that means seeking unsafe alternatives.
The Atlantic Wire reports that frequently women, in the lower Rio Grande Valley seeking to terminate a pregnancy, have turned to buying a stomach ulcer drug known as Cytotec illegally.
Not available at the local pharmacy without a prescription, women will go to flea markets to buy the drug. Though meant to treat ulcers, Cytotec is also known to induce miscarriage.
What many women who use the drug do not know, however, is that Cytotec can be ineffective. Though for increasingly more women, it’s quite dangerous, resulting in only partial abortions or excessive bleeding.
Though the drug isn’t usually put on display at the local flea market, a buyer need only ask around. Typically going for $40, versus the $550 at a legal clinic, this choice has already become popular among those without means.
Sources at Bloomberg News have talked to some Texas women who have had “flea market” abortions. One of the women, Erlinda Dasquez, a mother of four, says she’s bought and used the abortion drugs herself.
Dasquez describes a time, several years ago, when she needed the pills. Someone at a local flea market referred her to a local, who was selling the pills out of her living room.
Cytotec is commonly smuggled into the US from Mexico, where it is available without prescription. Dasquez says she was also offered an injection, but chose the pills instead.
She says that “you’d be amazed how many … young people, are taking those pills. I probably know 12 to 20 people who have done this.” Dasquez says it’s often the only option for women who can’t get access to an affordable clinic.
As the abortion ban bill passed through the House in Texas, it marches closer to becoming law in the large, populous state. Many believe that “flea market” abortions, already on the rise, will become an even more common practice for Texas women left with no other options.