Roe v. Wade: How Abortion Reversal Affects Men



Maybe you’ve seen it online. Maybe you heard it on NPR. Maybe your girlfriend told you this while you lay in bed flipping through your phones, frantically texting her group chat, or checking up on her mom, reading you legal cases, burning you all out. both of rage and despair at the news: According to a leaked initial draft of its majority opinion, the Supreme Court planned to overturn the deer v. Wade decision confirming our constitutional right to abortion. Legal access to safe, common and often life-saving medical care was disappearing before your eyes.

But no matter how you found out, and no matter how consumed by righteous anger and concern you were that night, I’m willing to bet you didn’t wake up the next morning, or the next morning, or every morning since, Full of fear. I don’t mean you don’t care, because I know you care.

It’s just that most cisgender men in my life don’t seem to know much about the actual mechanics of abortion, or how it affects them. Until now, a pregnant woman’s relative access to a safe and legal abortion has often provided a luxury to the men around her: the luxury of not having to worry about it or knowing who had it. one or when. Seventy-three million people worldwide have an abortion each year. Mine was that I needed an abortion to avoid the high-risk pregnancy and childbirth that could have deprived my existing child of a living, healthy mother. I knew it from the moment the plus sign appeared on the pregnancy test.

This article originally appeared in the SUMMER 2022 issue of Esquire

But there are others. Maybe the embryo couldn’t survive, or the person carrying it couldn’t. Maybe she couldn’t afford a baby. Maybe the pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault. Maybe she didn’t want to be a mother. Perhaps she was, like me, already a mother. Maybe you got her pregnant. Maybe you had broken up and weren’t talking. Maybe she didn’t want you to know because it was only your third date. Maybe you would fall in love and spend a terrifying May night browsing the news side by side in your bed.

Whatever their reasons, if they were lucky enough to have access to routine first-trimester abortion in an America where Roe vs. Wade was the law of the land – and the Republicans had yet to pass the federal abortion ban they promise – it probably sounded something like mine: When I arrived at the clinic for my appointment , and after consenting in detail to my abortion, I was shown to a small procedure room. I took off my maternity jeans – still the only pants that fit me less than a year after giving birth – and my underwear and jumped on the crumpled paper. They let me keep my sweater. I was allowed to ask any questions I wanted, to see or keep the pregnancy tissue if I wanted. I was sedated, given anti-anxiety drugs, and offered several hands — my nurse’s, my husband’s — to hold. When I was ready, my provider reached inside my body with the necessary medical instruments to dilate my cervix, to evacuate the contents of my uterus. To make me non-pregnant. There was pain, blood and a lot of intense emotions. And then I went home and cooked dinner.

national abortion rights rallies held across the united states
Abortion rights supporters in New York on May 14, 2022.

Robert NickelbergGetty Images

In a world where abortions are illegal, they will no longer happen like mine; they will generally be “self-managed”. In other words, they will happen, most of the time, at home. On people’s couches, sitting at their desks, in apartment bathrooms shared with roommates. If there are hands that the pregnant person should hold, they can be yours, so now I will tell you what to expect. A self-managed medical abortion involves a combination of pills: misoprostol and mifepristone. Luckily taking them is very safe, safer than taking Viagra, antibiotics or Tylenol, as long as you actually have access to them. As of this writing, a doctor will prescribe abortion pills online in many states at and They are accompanied by detailed instructions and medical advice.
It is even possible to be prescribed abortion pills before a woman is pregnant, to have on hand, just in case, right next to Advil and vitamins.

She will take the mifepristone first, then the misoprostol, and soon she will begin to experience cramps. When the tissue leaves her uterus, it may look like a normal period, or there may be blood clots the size of lemons. Most will likely end up in the toilet. She might need your physical and emotional support – a heating pad, a home-cooked meal, favorite movies, a day of bed rest. The process may take some time. This may not be the case.

If there are hands that the pregnant person should hold, they can be yours, so now I will tell you what to expect.

There’s more you’re going to have to do in our new world. First – and you’ve already started this one just by reading this far – understand that you had an abortion and be able to talk about it. One in four American women (and countless transgender and gender nonconforming American women) have had an abortion. Perhaps your life, like that of my husband or son, is made easier, better, or even possible in the first place by the abortion of a loved one.

Second: Place your money and your body where your mouth is. You’ve probably already been asked to donate to your local abortion fund–a recurring monthly donation, whatever the amount, if you can balance it. Throw money at organizations that help people get to safe states and find care. You can find a national list on, another website to write on a post-it somewhere. When someone in your life needs an abortion — something that will happen more, not less — be prepared to help them find resources. Knowing some by name, like the Call line full options at (888)-493-0092 and I need one.

Then contact a local clinic to see if they can use an escort. Help protect patients from the harassment and abuse that often turns violent when entering and leaving medical appointments.

Next: Remember who is most at risk. While most illegal abortions will be medically safe, they will nonetheless carry enormous danger to the people and communities already most targeted by law enforcement. After all, they will be illegal. Think first of the black and indigenous and other people of color, the poor and undocumented, and the trans people whose bodies are, as you read this, watched, watched and handcuffed in hospital rooms . Donate to the ReproLegalFund, and record the number of the ReproLegalHelpline in your phone. Seriously, do it now. It’s (844) 868-2812. Then pass it on to everyone you know.

Speaking of illegal: look for encrypted chat apps like Signal. Don’t leave a paper trail to incriminate your girlfriend or your Uber driver. Depending on where you live, it may soon be unsafe to email or text about abortion outside of these platforms.

But for the moment, and as long as we remain general and hypothetical; no medical or legal advice here! Here is a text that will always be safe to send: a message to those of us who love and trust you and whose bodies are about to go illegal. Tell us you are inquiring about abortion. Tell us you got it. Tell us you won’t leave us.

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