Abortion Pill

‘Abortion pill vigilantes’ illegally dispense abortion pill

abortion pill

An ‘abortion pill vigilante’ syndicate has organized in order to violate the law and illegally dispense the deadly abortion drug to women and teens in areas where pro-life laws protect preborn babies from abortion.

These abortion cartels are often referred to in media reports by soft-sounding terms such as “pill runners,” “old Hippies,” “community providers,” “helpers,” “shepherds,” and “clandestine providers.” Despite these innocuous nicknames, if law enforcement does not step up to investigate these syndicates, their illegal drug dealing could result in women being seriously injured or killed.

Abortion Pill Vigilante Syndicate media reports

Complicit Media

Abortion pill vigilante syndicates have access to journalists including the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Caroline Kitchener who authored “Covert network provides pills for thousands of abortions in U.S. post Roe.”

Nina Liss-Shultz, author of “Inside the Top-Secret Abortion Underground” published by Mother Jones, claims to have talked to dozens of “clandestine providers.” While Daily Beast’s Decca Muldowney, who described these syndicates as ‘vigilantes,’ interviewed several for Inside the Secretive Network of Abortion Pill Vigilantes.” 

In a piece for The Atlantic, “A Covert Network of Activists is Preparing for the End of Roe,” journalist Jessica Bruder described an “improvised safety net,” writing, “Below the grass roots is the underground: a small network of community providers who connect with abortion seekers by word of mouth. This network, too, is growing. Its ranks include midwives, herbalists, doulas, and educators. When necessary, they are often willing to work around the law.”

“[…]the idea is a community provider could be anybody who’s willing to connect women with abortion pills who might not otherwise be able to get them, or in some cases, offer alternate options,” Bruder told NPR.

Media outlets like the Associated Press are reporting on illegal abortion networks in other countries that “use code words, aliases, encrypted messages, burner phones. Most don’t know one another, or any specifics beyond their role in the chain.” In fact, Bruder even described a Zoom call she attended in which the “audience had logged on from eight states, as well as from Poland and Peru, to learn about ending pregnancies with legal drugs and without medical supervision. In other words: self-managed abortion by means of pharmaceuticals.”

Abortion Pill Vigilante Syndicates 

According to The Daily Beast, since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, “a small group of committed activists have built secretive support networks.” It highlighted an activist named ‘Denny’ who is “one of a handful of activists in states with highly restrictive bans who are distributing abortion medication, and risking prosecution everyday” working with “WeSaveUs.

“Denny’s bedroom is the end of a long covert network that begins thousands of miles away,” DB claimed.

Las Libres, located in Mexico, is allegedly behind efforts to smuggle abortion drugs into the United States. The group was founded in 2000 by Verónica Cruz Sánchez who “began convening meetings in bars and cafés,” and it has long been “funded by American nonprofits,” NewYorker.com claimed.

“We decided to form a cross-border network,” Cruz told The Daily Beast. “Each cell in the supply chain would know little about the other cells—safer for everyone that way,” reported NewYorker.com.

The leader of Red Necesito Abortar, another Mexico-based abortion pill vigilante syndicate, told the Washington Post that its elaborate volunteer structure was “like a spiderweb.”

“Once we get the pills into the U.S., they can distribute them across the whole country,” Sandra Cardona Alanís, the group’s co-founder said. Her group alone “received more than 70 requests for help from women in the US in the week following the Supreme Court ruling,” CNN reported.

Walgreens CVS banner

The abortion pill referral website Plan C is also advising women how to skirt state laws in states that prohibit online sales of the abortion drug regimen. And, “Like Plan C, Mayday Health provides information about access to abortion pills. But the group has focussed on viral marketing and high-profile stunts. Earlier this year they launched mobile billboards around 14 college campuses in restrictive states, featuring information on how to access abortion pills,” reported the Daily Beast.

Distributing Drugs

Las Libres uses a “burner phone” and an encrypted “Proton Mail account” and it gets clients by word of mouth or Reddit forums. The “distributor” detailed to the Washington Post how the group offers its network “tips” — even suggesting that women use the addresses of houses that are for sale (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are vacant).

According to NewYorker.com, one ‘pill runner’ who described herself as “part of an ant colony” claimed she “bought…earrings…to camouflage the abortion pills she’d be bringing back to the U.S.”

“She would put the earrings in cardboard jewelry boxes that had a layer of cotton padding. The earrings would go on top of the cotton, and the pills would be embedded inside, the better to keep a husband or parent from finding them,” NewYorker.com wrote, while another claimed to hide “pills in a packet of seeds.”

Inside the camouflaged boxes of abortion drugs, are inserted notes which read, “Hugs, the pill fairy.” The packages are likely mailed with a fake return address because Post Office officials may become suspicious of packages with no return address, they said.

“To avoid detection in antiabortion states, the group also mails pills unmarked and unsealed, often in old bottles used previously for other medicines,” wrote the Washington Post. The article also described women receiving illegally obtained drugs “hidden inside a cat flea medication box.”

Packing Parties, Clandestine Meetings

Volunteers inside the so-called “abortion pill pipeline” have been described as “helpers” recruited to “shepherd” abortion pills, and even so-called legitimate abortion groups are creating a “shadow side” to dispense abortion pills outside the law.

Others, referred to as “Old Hippies,” are asked to raise funds and buy pills in Mexico that would then be distributed in Texas and other states. They will attempt to purchase as many abortion-inducing drugs as possible at “pharmacies gravitated to younger female clerks,” according to NewYorker.com.

Once a shipment of pills arrived these “helpers” gather for “packing parties” to package the pills in a way that abortion clients will “feel like it’s legitimate,” said the Washington Post.

“Under the ‘acompañimiento,’ or accompaniment model, community health workers, often related to reproductive rights groups, support women through the medication abortion treatment with information and medical guidance, either virtually or in person, and, in some cases, also provide the necessary pills,” CNN wrote.

Cruz’s Las Libres network uses an ‘acompañamiento model’ in which, according to NewYorker.com, “she would ask women to keep unused pills from the abortion pill regimen to give to other women” which she referred to as “an acompañante—a person who accompanies another.”

According to the Post, some clandestine abortion pill networks meet women at grocery stores to dispense the pills. Others meet clients in public places that can’t be linked to the “runners” who carry the drugs to home or work addresses. “Runners” wear disguises including a “sun hat, oversized sunglasses, plain black mask,” and utilize “burner phones and the encrypted messaging app Signal.” Still, others have fake profiles on Instagram or send messages on WhatsApp.

One abortion pill vigilante known as “Pills on Wheels” carried abortion drugs across the Mexico border into the US where she discovered that though “Border Patrol agents had sometimes searched her luggage and X-rayed her car, they had never opened her toiletry kit. It was there that she tucked two plastic bottles containing three hundred and thirty-six pills of misoprostol,” NewYorker.com reported.

Impact on Teens, Women

Women who have taken the abortion pill at home have recounted the trauma of seeing their baby’s body after suffering through intense pain that they weren’t prepared for. In addition, the abortion pill has been found to be four times more dangerous for women than a first-trimester surgical abortion. Some studies have shown that six percent of women who take the abortion pill could require emergency care for complications that arise.


NewYorker.com detailed a possible complication recounted by abortion pill vigilante “Anna” who claimed that “within an hour of taking the medication,” the woman texted Anna that she was feeling dizzy later claiming that “she had lost consciousness twice.” Anna reported that after telling the woman to go to the hospital she became “sick with fear that the woman had died.”

Anna also admitted to NewYorker.com that she gave pills to a pregnant eighth grader who suffered post-abortion trauma. According to NewYorker.com, “the grandmother told Anna some weeks later that the girl was still depressed: ‘She’s just walking around in a big hoodie all the time, even though she’s not pregnant anymore.’”

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