Transforming Access to Abortion Pills

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024

In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the longstanding legal protections of Roe v. Wade, which ensured the federal right to abortion. Never has nonprofit Plan C’s mission been more vital. Plan C, a public health campaign that started in 2015, transforms access to abortion in the U.S. by normalizing the self-directed option of abortion pills by mail in every state.

Abortion pills are safe and effective, FDA-approved with decades of use, and deemed essential medicines by the World Health Organization. Direct access is commonplace around the world: which is why Plan C insists on maintaining communication on self-managed abortions and access to pills, both to spread information on the availability of this modern method and to mitigate the harm of abortion bans. With a post-Roe reality unfolding across the U.S., Plan C has become a go-to and unique resource for those in restricted states still seeking safe and accessible abortions.

Giving Women Back the Right to Safe Self-Care

But the U.S. is not singular in navigating bans, and as U.S. politicians erode women’s fundamental healthcare rights, people in the U.S. have much to learn from other countries that have navigated restrictions to provide access to care. Amy Merrill, co-founder of and digital director for Plan C, is especially impressed with Mexico’s efforts. “Mexico has done a brilliant job of organizing and ensuring access,” Merrill says. “A group called Las Libres spent 20 years developing a network of community-based care of peer support accompaniment. They are basically credited with why Mexico decided to decriminalize abortion: because it was already happening.”

Plan C’s website contains a comprehensive directory of information on abortion pills by mail, from all states. They also conduct research and publicly share information on new routes of access to abortion pills, run creative campaigns to spread the word, and lay the groundwork for over-the-counter access to abortion pills.

Merrill explains, “This medication has been around for 30 years, and we’ve been working hard this last decade to get the U.S. up to speed and help people reclaim agency over abortion.”

A Normal Vital Expression

Knowledge and information are the keys to getting “up to speed.” Merrill says that she first learned about abortion pills from Francine Coeytaux, a public health researcher, who had helped bring Plan B over the counter, 

“In that meeting, as Francine told me about abortion pills, my jaw was on the floor,” Merrill says. “I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this. I couldn’t believe how transformative it seemed, and I asked how I could help. She said, ‘I need a website.’” Merrill had just started her own web studio and realized she could encourage a paradigm shift in how people think about abortion, what abortion is, and who gets to access an abortion. Plan C’s website now reaches two million people per year across the U.S., including in restricted states, and has a comprehensive social media presence that communicates with people on a daily basis.

Ultimately, Plan C recognizes access to abortion pills as a human right and a vital expression of bodily autonomy.


Plan C

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Co-founder: Amy Merrill


Plan C transforms access to abortion in the US by normalizing the self-directed option of abortion pills by mail.

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