Podcast on Self-Managed Abortions: This Information Has Been Gatekept and It Shouldn’t Be – Ms. Magazine

Posted: August 15, 2020 at 4:49 pm

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Through ups and downs of abortion access during COVID-19, there continues to be little awareness of the existence of abortion pillslet alone that they can be used for safe and effective self-managed abortions. (VAlaSiurua, licensed underCC BY-SA 4.0)

In September 2019, when Anna Reed and Antonia Piccone decided to create apodcastaboutself-managed abortions, they had no idea just how timely their project would be.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hasintensified barriers to abortion care in the United States. Anti-abortion elected officials havetaken advantageby deeming abortions non-essential, limiting options and delaying care for people who do not want to be pregnant. Pregnant people areworriedabout risking exposure to the virus while seeking abortion care at a clinic. And while other medical services moved to telehealth, in many states, abortion care waspreventedfrom following suit.

This led to increased public criticism of theunnecessary restrictionsplaced on abortion pills in the United States. Then, in mid-July, a federal judge in Marylandruledthat the FDA must suspend guidance that forced patients to obtain mifepristone, the abortion pill, in-person. This means that patients may nowreceivemifepristone from their providers through the mail.

Despite the ups and downs of abortion access during COVID-19, there continues to be little awareness of the existence of abortion pills, let alone that they can be used forsafe and effectiveself-managed care. And yet, this is exactly the knowledge that people need and deserve during the pandemicand always!

As theAmbassadors of Informationprogram manager withPlan Can organization that works in education and research related to self-managed abortions with pillsI am constantly looking for the best ways to educate the public on abortion pills and how they can be accessed.

Then, one day in May, I received an email from one of our ambassadors of information, Antonia Piccone. She, along with Anna Reed, had createdSelf-Managed: An Abortion Story in Eight Parts: a podcast that centers real peoples stories in an effort to demystify the practice of self-managed abortion, they say.

And it truly succeeds in this effort.

I had the opportunity to sit down (over a video call) with Reed and Piccone to discussSelf-Managedwhat led them to create it and what they have learned since releasing it.

This information has been gatekept and it shouldnt be, said Piccone, a doula. How can we make information about our bodies and this process public, accessible and free?

The answer to this question was to create a podcast, as audio provides a more intimate quality to the content. It felt like the medium for the subject, Reed added, nodding.

Reed, a sex educator and youth advocate, went on to explain that information about self-managed abortions tends to be dark, intense and institutional.

The goal ofSelf-Managedwas to, instead, lightheartedly share frameworks for mutual aid, community-building and self-care.

There is more curiosity for self- and community-care, Piccone noted, particularly in light of the most recentuprisingsforracial justice. We are witnessing a global reckoningas people grapple with the ways in which COVID-19 and institutionalized racism have disproportionately thwarted Black peoples right to bodily autonomy.

Here atMs., our team is continuing to report throughthis global health crisisdoing what we can to keep you informed andup-to-date on some of the most underreported issues of thispandemic.Weask that you consider supporting our work to bring you substantive, uniquereportingwe cant do it without you. Support our independent reporting and truth-telling for as little as $5 per month.

Theysituate their podcast in this broader context and acknowledge alongside their interviewees the recent criminal prosecutions of people who have ended their own pregnancies have consistently come down on poor people and people of color. This must be held central in education and activism on self-managed care.

Reed and Piccone make it clear that they do not see themselves as experts in self-managed careinstead, they say, theyre learning alongside listeners.

How cool that we can make our learning process available to others! Reed exclaimed. The main inquiry was, How can we learn? Which took us to Who is doing this work? Who are the helpers?

I think there is a Mr. Rogers quote about that! I responded.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

ThroughSelf-Managed: An Abortion Story in Eight Parts, Reed and Piccone have shown us the helpersfromSusan Yanow, a long-time activist for self-managed access, to people who arehelping themselves, by self-managing their abortion care.

As the ups and downs of abortion access during COVID-19 continue, we cannot stop educating ourselves and others about the option of self-managed abortions with pills.

Reed and Piccone have provided us with a timely, rich and approachable way to gain the knowledge that we need and deserve.

Self-Managed: An Abortion Story in Eight Partsand accompanying resources can be found in both Spanish and English onsmapodcast.org, as well as onApple PodcastsandSpotify. For more information about this podcast, please contact Reed and Piccone atselfmanaged.podcast@gmail.comorsmapodcast@protonmail.com.

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Podcast on Self-Managed Abortions: This Information Has Been Gatekept and It Shouldn't Be - Ms. Magazine

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August 15th, 2020 at 4:49 pm

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