GUANAJUATO, Mexico — Verónica Cruz spent years defying the law in Mexico, helping thousands of women get abortions. Now that Mexico has declared that abortion is no longer a crime, Ms. Cruz and activists like her are planning to bring their mission to a country moving in the opposite direction: the United States.
Abortion restrictions have been multiplying across the United States for years, including just over Mexico’s border in Texas. Now the Supreme Court is considering a case that could diminish or completely overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion. That would likely set off new restrictions in at least 20 states.
But in much of Latin America, where access to abortion has long been severely limited, highly organized feminist groups have distributed abortion-inducing drugs for years, making it harder for governments to enforce bans on the procedure.
Ms. Cruz and other activists are planning to help shuttle Texans and other Americans seeking abortions into Mexico, and to build networks to ferry the abortion pills north of the border or send them by mail — something they’ve already started doing and now plan to expand….
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration said that abortion drugs can be delivered by mail, making permanent a measure enacted because of the pandemic and broadening access for women who find it difficult to travel to a provider to end their pregnancies.
In Texas, a new law bars doctors from providing pills to induce abortions after seven weeks of pregnancy, and adds penalties of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000 for anyone who mails or delivers the medication.
….Ms. Cruz, the Mexican activist, helped found an organization called Las Libres, which means “the free ones,” in 2000. She began knocking on gynecologists’ doors in her conservative state of Guanajuato, asking them to provide free abortions to rape victims.
A few years later, one of the doctors she had been working with came back from a conference with some news: There was a pill that could safely cause abortions at home. Misoprostol can be obtained without a prescription in Mexico, and the World Health Organization has a protocol for administering it to perform abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
“That’s when I knew we had a solution,” said Ms. Cruz. “We didn’t need doctors anymore.”
….In September, days after Texas began enacting a new ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that abortion could no longer be treated as a crime. Ms. Cruz and her colleagues soon hatched a plan to work with Texas reproductive groups on making it easier for women in the state to end their pregnancies at home.
Dozens of activists are meeting in January to work out the strategy. One of them, Crystal P. Lira, said she has already brought pills from Tijuana to California, and then shipped them to Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and Texas….