Most of us have seen enough movies to know what drug trafficking is, how it works, and the dangers. We know that addicts and their families suffer the loss of their jobs, homes, relationships, and, in the worst cases, their lives.
But did you know there’s another version of drug trafficking that always results in one dead and one forever wounded, because death is the very purpose of every transaction?
The abortion pill trafficking network relies not on addiction, but on abuse, human trafficking, coercion, misinformation, and desperation. In this article, you’ll find out what abortion pill trafficking is, how it works, and the legal criteria for abortion pill trafficking. Then, we expose the truth behind the demand for abortion pill trafficking, along the dangers for the victims.
About Abortion Pill Trafficking
Abortion is legally recognized as a loss of life in much of the country, but that doesn’t stop the killing of innocent lives, thanks in part to the abortion pill trafficking network. In this section, we’ll explain what abortion pill trafficking is and how the criminal underground network operates.
What Is Abortion Pill Trafficking?
Abortion pill trafficking is the illegal sale and distribution of medication intended to cause an abortion, typically mifepristone and misoprostol. The drugs are either manufactured, distributed, or sold without legal, medical, or safety oversight.
Where do Underground Abortion Pills Come From?
The pills may come from a variety of places. If the pills are authentic, they were most likely either purchased or stolen from a manufacturer or pharmacy where abortion is legal, and then smuggled across the border.
How are Underground Abortion Pills Distributed?
The initial contact is usually made online. The pills are then either mailed to the mother upon receipt of payment, or arrangements are made for an in-person transaction, or a drop-box pick up.
One of the largest abortion pill distributors runs out of a residence in Mexico. It’s at this illegal site where abortion pills are being stuffed into little plastic sandwich bags, ready to be mailed to expectant mothers.
What Laws Govern Abortion Pill Trafficking?
While laws have always been enforced for the unauthorized manufacture and sale of medication, the penalty for terminating an unwanted pregnancy varies by state and even by the day. Mothers have been arrested for having an abortion and for an unauthorized purchase of abortion pills.
Law enforcement agencies around the country are ramping up resources to stop the surging increase of illegal manufacturers and distributors since June 2022. On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed the “abortion-trafficking” law, the first of its kind making it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent. Violators face jail time and a lawsuit from the parents.
What are the Criteria for Abortion Pill Trafficking?
There are several criteria that define an illegal transaction. The first is regional laws. If abortion is outlawed, then so is any method used to terminate a pregnancy. In areas where abortion is legal, laws indicate how the pills may be obtained. Typically, mifepristone and misoprostol may only be prescribed by a licensed medical professional, so it is illegal to get them by any other means.
If abortion is legal in the region, and the drugs are obtained from a doctor, laws still govern the transportation of the pills. Abortion pills require certain environmental controls to work as intended, so inappropriate handling and delivery is illegal. For example, smuggling them across a border, storing them in a disguised container, or hiding them in other items are all illegal methods of transport. So, if a mother gets the pills in a region where it is legal and from a doctor, but the pills were not transported legally, then it qualifies as trafficking.
The motivation behind the trafficking is also part of the criteria. If all other criteria meet legal requirements, but the mother was coerced, forced, tricked, or otherwise manipulated into taking them for the provider’s gain, then it’s illegal.
This brings us to an even more sinister, yet prevalent abuse in the world of abortion pill trafficking. Any business will only thrive where there are customers. In the next section, we will expose the real purpose and demand driving the abortion pill industry.
The Truth of the Criminal Underground of the Abortion Industry
The primary customer persona for the abortion pill trafficking industry is not a woman who unwittingly woke up pregnant. Instead, the demand for abortion pill trafficking comes from an abusive man forcing his victim to “fix” his recklessness.
In July 2021, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) presented a petition to the United States Supreme Court. The ACLJ is an organization dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law, including the defense of the sanctity of human life.
The petition establishes a long precedent of criminal cases and research to illustrate that most women seeking abortions are coerced, forced, and tricked by abusive spouses, pimps, and other sexual predators.
“Abortion is typically promoted as an expression of autonomous freedom, as if abortion represents an ideal of the self-possessed woman determining her future. But this gauzy ideal disregards the cold, hard reality that abortion, in practice, is far too often a tool for others to achieve their nefarious goals at the expense of women (and the children they carry). Abortion is beloved by sexual traffickers and predators, by irresponsible males, by heartless employers, by parents placing their own reputation over their daughter’s wishes and their grandchildren’s lives, and by eugenic and racist population planners. For pregnant women and girls, in these contexts at least, abortion is a bane, not a boon.”
A report published by the Loyola University Chicago School of Law revealed disturbing stories of forced abortion as an occupational hazard for trafficked women. In a subset of sixty-four trafficking survivors, the women reported 114 abortions. One survivor’s story speaks to the typical lack of care and follow-up for the women after.
“I got pregnant six times and had six abortions during this time. Several of them were from a doctor who was a client—he did them ‘back door’—I came in the back door after hours and paid him off the books. This kept my name off any records. At least one of my abortions was from Planned Parenthood because they didn’t ask any questions.”
Human Trafficking Survivor
A report published by Freedom Network USA shared stories about trafficking survivors who were forced to have an abortion so they could continue working.
“Traffickers also control the reproductive choices of their victims in order to ensure maximum profit by engaging in any of the following tactics: forcing them to have abortions so that they can keep working, restricting or forbidding medical care for STIs or injuries, or compelling them to carry pregnancies to term in order to control their children.”
Freedom Network USA
Organizations such as RedState Access, Plan-C, and Las Libres help to get these abortion pills into the hands of pregnant women. In the case of Las Libres, they’re on track to kill 20,000 preborn babies in the US this year.
Now that you know who is really behind the abortion pill network, we will tell you about the horrific impact on its victims.
The Effects of Abortion Pill Trafficking on Women’s Health
In addition to legal risks, women who use trafficked pills face permanent, and sometimes deadly health risks.
The list of side effects of mifepristone and misoprostol is a never-ending scroll. The risk is compounded when the abortion is done without medical oversight. Many women who choose to, or are forced to take abortion pills, do not have access to medical care. For those who do, providers fear the stigma and repercussions of providing care, so women have nowhere to get treatment for complications of an underground abortion.
The fact that the pills could be made anywhere by anyone, using just about anything, puts the mother at the same risk as someone taking any other street drug. The trauma is even greater for the majority of women whose underground abortions are forced or coerced by abusers and traffickers.
One trafficking survivor described the life-altering trauma she experienced. “I had so much scar tissue from these abortions because there was no follow-up and in a couple of cases I had bad infections, so bad that I eventually lost my fallopian tubes [and had to have a hysterectomy]” (Funk et al., n.d.).
The Freedom Network USA report included several stories of women who suffered debilitating health issues from forced abortions.
By the time she escaped and found help from a service provider, she was vomiting blood, experienced daily headaches, and suffered from severe stomach pain (Human Trafficking and Reproductive Rights, 2015).
In the next section, we will tell you about an important link to help women get help and escape the abortion pill network.
The Role of Health Care Providers in Abortion Pill Trafficking
Health care providers play a key role in rescuing women from abortion. Some women may seek medical care before an abortion, but those who are forced or choose to take advantage of abortion pill trafficking may not seek medical care until after they’ve taken the pill.
Either way, the doctor may be the only one to recognize clues such as emotional distress, secrecy, lack of autonomy, scarring, and injuries. It’s critical for providers who notice these things and act on the woman’s behalf to save her from further trauma and victimization.
PreBorn! does not directly address the criminal underground of the abortion industry, nor do we provide resources for survivors of sex trafficking. However, we’d like to provide valuable resources to help you learn more about the link between the illegal abortion pill network and human trafficking, as well as a list of organizations dedicated to rescuing survivors.
Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report)
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report serves as the foremost diplomatic instrument for the United States government in collaborating with international governments to address the global issue of human trafficking. It stands as the most extensive compilation of governmental initiatives and measures to combat this heinous crime.
The National Human Trafficking Helpline serves as a vital link between victims and survivors of sexual and labor exploitation, connecting them to essential resources and assistance for their safety and well-being. In addition, the Helpline accepts information regarding potential instances of sexual and labor trafficking, ensuring the appropriate authorities are alerted in specific cases.
Furthermore, they maintain a comprehensive Referral Directory of organizations and initiatives focused on combating human trafficking, which offer a range of services for those impacted by this heinous crime, as well as resources and opportunities for those working to eradicate it.
IJM collaborates with regional administrations in twenty-nine program locations across seventeen nations to address human trafficking and slavery, as well as violence directed towards women and children, and misuse of authority by law enforcement.
Their objective is to safeguard individuals living in poverty from acts of violence through the rescue of those victimized, the apprehension and conviction of perpetrators, the provision of support and security for survivors, and the reinforcement of local law enforcement agencies to establish a lasting foundation of safety.
The Polaris Project
Polaris spearheads a movement centered around survivors, guided by justice and equality, with the goal of eradicating human trafficking. They have developed the most comprehensive database on human trafficking throughout North America.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, a faith-based institution, offers an extensive variety of initiatives and assistance, such as those focused on countering human trafficking. They furnish trafficking victims with urgent accommodations, nourishment, and guidance, while also assisting survivors in reconstructing their lives. Furthermore, The Salvation Army champions more robust legal and policy measures against trafficking and collaborates with regional law enforcement agencies to tackle this issue.
Abortion pill trafficking is a dark and hidden issue that affects countless women worldwide. By understanding its links to abuse and human trafficking, we can better address the problem and help victims. Educating ourselves on this issue and supporting legislation that combats human trafficking can help end the fight against this illicit and dangerous trafficking.