Who’s ordering abortion pills from online pharmacies? An exploration of websites that sell abortion pills
Awarded 2023
Self-managed abortion, post-Dobbs
Anna Fiastro, PhD, MPH, MEM
University of Washington

Self-managed abortion is a safe and effective way to obtain abortion services, especially when abortion access is restricted. The use of websites that sell abortion medications is on the rise. Yet, little is known about patients who seek abortion pills directly from these websites and their considerations regarding this option for their abortion care. This study seeks to quantify the utilization of online pharmacies (such as Private Emma, MTP Kit, and Medside) by individuals seeking to self-manage their abortion and understand how patients think about and choose this option. We will survey the 23 pharmacies vetted and listed on the Plan C website and describe the volume of abortion medications orders and fulfillments provided across the United States (US) by month from January 2022 to October 2023 and summarize available patient demographics (ie, geographic region). We will compare the order volume with the website click-through activity from Plan C’s website to project monthly use of the websites that do not report data. We will interview up to 30 individuals recruited through Plan C regarding their perspectives and experiences purchasing pills through these pharmacy websites. For patients seeking self-managed abortion, online pharmacy websites may be a convenient and feasible way for patients to obtain abortion pills. Given abortion restrictions and limited abortion services in the formal US healthcare system, evidence produced by this study will further fortify our understanding of abortion rates in the US post-Dobbs.