Illegal abortion pill networks are eyeing homes for sale to use as fake addresses when ordering abortion drugs by mail.
These ‘shadow’ networks were recently described by the Washington Post in an article entitled, “Covert network provides pills for thousands of abortions in U.S. post Roe.” These networks’ willingness to break the law could place women at risk of harm.
“Distinct from services that sell pills to patients on the internet, a growing army of community-based distributors is reaching pregnant women through word of mouth or social media to supply pills for free — though typically without the safeguards of medical oversight,” Washington Post’s author Caroline Kitchener wrote. “The Post was permitted to observe distributors handling pills in antiabortion states on the added condition that their locations not be identified.”
In the lengthy piece, which failed to condemn this illegal activity, the Washington Post described the “rise of a covert, international network delivering tens of thousands of abortion pills in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down Roe v. Wade…fueled by the widespread availability of medication abortion.”
Volunteers inside this “abortion pill pipeline” were described as “the helpers” recruited to “shepherd” abortion pills. And even so-called legitimate abortion groups are creating a “shadow side” to dispense the abortion pill outside the law. Once a shipment of pills arrives (described as coming broken or in various sizes) these “helpers” gather for “packing parties” to package the pills in a way that abortion clients will “feel like it’s legitimate.”
“Like we’re not a back-street type of organization,” said a “helper” to the Post.
The paper described a “growing army of community-based distributors” which ship the abortion pills to “U.S. volunteers” through the mail.
The group, Las Libres, located in Mexico, is among the groups allegedly bringing the deadly drugs into the United States. The group was started by Verónica Cruz Sánchez in 2000 and, according to the Post, is located inside a home in Guanajuato, Mexico — “hidden from the road by an eight-foot electric gate and a tangle of red trumpet vines.”
After the overturn of Roe v. Wade, “Las Libres went from sending 10 sets of pills to the U.S. every day to sending over 100,” the article claimed.
In one state, the article said Cruz Sánchez “is working with a group of registered nurses. Elsewhere, 50 pastors and priests.”
“The leader of another Mexico-based group that supplies pills, Red Necesito Abortar, said the elaborate volunteer structure was ‘like a spiderweb,’” the Post stated.
“Once we get the pills into the U.S., they can distribute them across the whole country,” Sandra Cardona Alanís, Red Necesito Abortar’s co-founder, told the online media outlet.
Las Libres’ anonymous “distributor” told the Post that they use a “burner phone” and an encrypted “Proton Mail account” and they get clients by word of mouth or Reddit forums. The “distributor” detailed to the Washington Post how they offer their network “tips” even suggesting that women use the addresses of houses that are for sale (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are vacant; emphasis added below):
On a call in late August, the distributor offered the nurse a long list of tips: Look up houses for sale to use as return addresses. Set your messages with Las Libres to delete after 24 hours. Absolutely never meet a patient in person. If you have legal questions, reach out to If/When/How.
“It’s legally risky to do this,” the distributor told the nurse. “You need to take every precaution possible.”
The clandestine network will often meet women at grocery stores to pass along the pills and even boasted of sending abortion pills to women as far as 15 weeks along in their pregnancies (this is past the FDA’s currently allowed 10 weeks gestational limit).
The later pregnancies are referred to an abortion “doula” where, according to Kitchener, “she often sends a small amount of acid so the client can dissolve some of the fetus, and bury whatever is left“ (emphasis added). The location of this “doula” was not stated.
“Cruz Sánchez regularly logs five or six Zoom calls a day — fundraising with American donors, or teaching volunteers how to safely join her effort,” Kitchener added. The article also noted that Las Libres has received public grants from the Mexican Government.
“To avoid detection in antiabortion states, the group also mails pills unmarked and unsealed, often in old bottles used previously for other medicines,” wrote Kitchener. The article described other women receiving the illegally obtained drugs “hidden inside a cat flea medication box.”
Las Libres, which claims they have already aided in 20,000 abortions boasted 250 volunteers in their U.S.-based network which they claimed was “growing, growing, growing.”
Meanwhile law enforcement officials in U.S. states which restrict or prohibit abortion seem woefully uninformed or possibly uninterested that these groups, which are quite public about what they are doing, are trafficking in the abortion pill. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has largely failed to warn women of potential dangers.
Yet some abortion industry insiders have sounded the alarm themselves about potential dangers. Guillermo Ortiz, an OB/GYN and senior medical adviser with the international pro-abortion group Ipas, suggested to the Post that fake abortion pills are a concern.
“It’s scary,” he remarked.
Kitchener added that Ortiz said if women don’t know how to recognize real abortion pills, “it could cause huge harm.”