Surge in U.S. demand for Dutch abortion pills after Roe v. Wade decision

AMSTERDAM, June 30 (Reuters) – Demand for a Dutch service offering abortion pills has more than quadrupled after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a women’s rights activist said Thursday.

Requests for help through the Aid Access website, which offers remote abortion counseling and ships medicine from overseas to women in the United States, jumped from around 600-700 to more than 4,000, Rebecca Gomperts, a physician, told Reuters in an interview.

“After the Supreme Court’s decision, we saw an incredible increase in the number of visitors to the websites, but also requests for help,” she said.

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The highest court in the United States last week overturned Roe v. Wade of 1973 which had guaranteed the constitutional right of women to have an abortion. More women are expected to turn to remote services as US states seek to limit abortion access. Read more

Gomperts thinks the ban won’t ultimately stop women from getting abortions in the United States, but will make it harder for the poor.

“The (abortion) drugs are going to be available. The problem is that it will be harder for women to find the services,” she said.

Aid Access offers online consultations with European doctors who write prescriptions for abortion drugs for pregnant women up to 10 weeks. The pills are mailed from an Indian pharmacy which, along with doctors, is beyond the reach of US federal and state law enforcement.

“I respect Austrian law and medical and ethical regulations, and I believe it is my moral obligation and duty to help women in need,” said Gomperts, who is registered as a doctor in Austria.

“These laws only affect the most vulnerable people who don’t have internet access, who don’t speak English, (who are) illegal immigrants,” she added.

The Dutch doctor made international headlines in the early 2000s when her Women on Waves foundation launched a boat offering abortion services in international waters to women from countries where abortion was illegal.

(This story has been refiled to correct group name to “Aid Access” instead of “Access Aid” in 2 paragraphs.)

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Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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