Mexican women use mobile apps during home miscarriage | Women’s News

Mexico City, Mexico – During the global pandemic crisis, the 26-year-old journalist Maria Muñoz found herself facing an unexpected pregnancy in Mexico City. Fearing to contract COVID-19 in a hospital or clinic, she decided to give birth at home with the assistance of the popular messaging service WhatsApp.

More and more women in Mexico are turning to an online support network that provides them with advice on how to use misoprostol, an over-the-counter ulcer drug, to miscarry.

Maria found the network through a friend, contacted them, and joined the WhatsApp group with psychologists and their so-called “abortion escorts.” They often check with her to understand how she feels, send her information about where to take misoprostol, how to take the pills, what she should eat in advance, and send reminders so that she can observe proper management time table.

Although Muñoz lives in Mexico City, one of the two places in Mexico where abortion is legal before the 12th week of pregnancy, she still chose the home online support option. She told Al Jazeera: “I decided to do this at home because many times you go to the clinic and anti-rightist organizations have attacked you.” COVID-19, financial accessibility and the ability to be with a partner are also Her decision contributed.

The organization’s Sofia Morras helped Morras show how she used her mobile phone to accompany a woman who had a secret abortion in Mexico, which is illegal in 30 states [Andalusia Knoll Soloff/Al Jazeera]

After the abortion, she was joined to WhatsApp women’s groups throughout Mexico. They have been going through this process and want to share their experiences. Muñoz added: “I’m really touched to hear about women who have abortions in illegal places. They have to suffer a double fear-fear of abortion, and also fear of abortion in such a fragile time.”

In Mexico’s 30 states, women’s options for abortion are very limited. Legal termination of pregnancy is only permitted under certain circumstances, including rape or health factors, which put a woman’s life at risk. Abortion has been legalized in Oaxaca in 2019, but few clinics provide abortion services, which makes it basically impossible for women there to get abortion services.

Reproductive justice group Morras (Morras Help Morras) translated as “girls are girls” and has helped women across Mexico terminate their pregnancies. Sofia, the co-director of the organization, said that the organization receives an average of 9 to 10 requests per day from women who are interested in terminating unwanted pregnancies. She is reluctant to disclose her last name because she may be affected by the law. They have thousands of followers on social media networks, helping them attract women from all over the country.

Sofia started working on a computer screen full of open social network windows; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.

A young woman wrote to her on Facebook: “I’m 15 years old and I know I’m still very young. I don’t know if I’m pregnant. I really don’t want to be because I have a lot of family problems.” Sofia’s response was flat. And explained that the first step is to conduct a home pregnancy test. She assured her, “Relax and we are here to serve you.”

Sofia has received training and is eligible to be a miscarriage partner. She is not a medical expert, so it is recommended that those who are about to terminate their pregnancy talk to a gynecologist or doctor in the network if they have any complications.

“Secret is not synonymous with danger. Secret means [aborting] Sofia provided objective scientific information illegally but from inside the underground. “Women need to obtain a safe abortion because it is their right and it is a matter of autonomy. “

Since the announcement of the COVID-19 housing asylum order in Mexico on March 23, 2020, reproductive justice advocates have documented the increasing difficulties women face in obtaining abortions. Before the pandemic, the non-governmental organization Fondo Maria provided financial assistance to dozens of women each year to help them travel to Mexico City, where they were free to have abortions legally.

According to government statistics, between 2007 and 2020, 71,418 women had miscarriages in Mexico City. At the height of the pandemic, only 5 of the city’s 13 abortion clinics were still open.

Sofia Garduño, an advocate for Fondo Maria, said: “Abortion is already a challenge, and the pandemic has exacerbated the difficulty.” Although the Mexico City government has declared abortion an essential service, it is important for which clinics to open. It is not clear that due to the surge in COVID cases in huge cities, women are worried about leaving home, so the use of contraceptives has decreased.

Garduño also emphasized the importance of groups that accompany women through social networks and hope to terminate their pregnancy during the pandemic. “Many women find themselves and their entire family at home. They can’t just make a phone call to get the necessary information. That’s why we started to communicate with them through more discrete methods through social networks.” Garduño told Peninsula TV station.

On February 19, 2020, during a protest in Mexico City, Mexico, women wear green headscarves to support legal and safe abortion[File: Edgard Garrido/Reuters]

Garduño believes that the high unemployment rate and the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic and the increase in domestic violence have caused many women to seek abortions in the past year.

Battle of law

In December of last year, after a long struggle among women’s rights activists, Argentina made abortion a non-criminal offence until 14 weeks. This inspired the “Marea Verde” or “Green Wave” pro-choice movement throughout Latin America. In Mexico, women wearing bright green headscarves flooded the streets and demanded that their government do the same.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who holds daily press conferences, avoids answering questions about abortion. When he was asked whether to legalize abortion after the vote in Argentina, he suggested holding an informal referendum. He said: “For very controversial decisions, I always think it is best to consult the people and not impose anything.” “In this case, women can make free decisions.”

The non-profit organization Reproductive and Choice Information Group (GIRE) has been working to legalize abortion in Mexico for the past 29 years, and it does not support a public referendum. “We are talking about human rights, women must decide their own bodies. This is not a decision that should be decided by a referendum.” GIRE director Rebeca Ramos said.

Ramos told Al Jazeera: “The legalization debate is now in the domain of the state government.”

Mexico City has stipulated that women can now have abortions in the case of rape until the 20th week, and under normal circumstances, abortions are allowed until 12 weeks.

The Supreme Court will challenge the state laws of Sinaloa and Coahuila in three cases. These cases stated that life begins at the time of conception and challenged a health decree that will Medical professionals are prohibited from refusing to perform abortions in cases when the woman’s life is in danger. In July 2020, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled on a proposal to legalize abortion in Veracruz.

In the states of Puebla and Quintana Roo, activists took over the state legislatures to advance their reproductive rights agenda. On Saturday, the Puebla State Assembly will convene a meeting, and activists who support the right to choose will promote a debate on the legal termination of pregnancy. The state of Quintana Roo took a 94-day sit-in to help put abortion on the agenda in March. Legislators voted against misdemeanors.

Activists said the vote itself was a victory and challenged the decision through a legal appeal called amparos.

As long as abortion is still illegal for most Mexican women, organizations like Morras Help Morras and Fondo Maria have stated that they will continue to fill the gaps and provide women with information on how to Information about safe abortion at home.

You can follow Andalusia K Soloff on Twitter and Instagram at: @andalalucha

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