On Wednesday morning, four activists each swallowed an abortion pill on the steps of the Supreme Court ahead of the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in protest of the conservative court’s assumed gutting of abortion rights. The activists from the collective Shout Your Abortion took mifepristone, which they acquired from international abortion access group Aid Access.
“It’s just a really crucial time to raise public awareness about the safety and availability of abortion pills by mail,” Shout Your Abortion founding director Amelia Bonow told Jezebel after the action. “We have no faith in this Supreme Court to protect our 50-year-old right to abortion, and at the same time we totally reject the idea that they ever could have told us not to.”
Along with Bonow, Alana Edmondson, Aiyana Knauer, and Erin Jorgensen swallowed the mifepristone in front of a black banner reading WE ARE TAKING ABORTION PILLS FOREVER.
The protest was one of the only parts of the rallies taking place on the steps of the Supreme Court that was about a direct action instead of listening to speeches and cheering. This was the point; SYA is also launching a nationwide awareness campaign for medication abortion.
The pill taking, even though none of the activists are currently pregnant, was meant to be a middle finger to the conservative justices listening to oral arguments. “[It’s] also to just a promise to defy the decision of this stolen court full of sexual predators and conservative operatives who have been groomed since they were young psychos in law school to overturn Roe. To stand here and just say ‘fuck this court, we’re doing it anyway’ and this is completely out of your hands,” she told Jezebel. “You will never stop us. We are taking abortion pills forever. We are helping each other have safe abortions forever and they might be lining up checkmate on legal abortion. But we are getting a new method of service delivery dialed in at the exact right time.”
Bonow was referring to Aid Access, which quietly rolled out “advanced provision” of abortion pills earlier this year. This means you can order the pills by mail from all 50 states even if you are not yet pregnant. Dr. Daniel Grossman, professor of gynecology at University of California, San Francisco, and the director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), told Jezebel in October that he hopes models like Aid Access could help people understand what medication abortion even is. “I’m still amazed how many people don’t even know about this option or are confused between that and Plan B,” he said.
After the pill swallowing, the roughly 30 activists in the group fanned out through the crowd to hand out small white boxes, just barely bigger than a business card, that said ABORTION PILLS in large, black letters. Inside is a card with photos of abortion pills like the ones they took, with information about how to access the pills as well as helplines for those experiencing miscarriages and abortions. The group has billboards, yard signs, and art installations going up around the country today to raise awareness of abortion-by-mail in coordination with their protest.
“You’ll never stop us,” Bonow said.