The World Health Organization reports that, globally, 19 to 20 million risky abortions are carried out every year, “done by individuals without the requisite skills, or in conditions below lowest medical standards, or both,” based on a 2006 report. Of those abortions, 97 % happen in developing countries.
Women on Web, an online-only abortion service that performs free web-based medical consultation services and mails suitable women pills for medical abortions.
Since it was started by Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts in 2005, more than 200,000 females from 140 countries have carried out Women on Web’s online consultation, and roughly 50,000 women have done medical abortions at home. Women on Web’s helpdesk replies 10,000 emails every day in 17 different languages, and the website attracts nearly one million unique monthly visitors.
But prior to Women on Web turned a safe harbor, it was a rogue vessel on the open ocean.
The risk of an online consultation is that patients could massage the truth. A woman who is 12 weeks pregnant could say she is eight, or a woman could fail to disclose that she has severe anemia, and Women on Web’s doctors would have no way of knowing these disclosures were false.
“Women on Web is still discriminatory against women who don’t have access to the internet or are illiterate,” says Gomperts. “This is why we will never stop fighting for legalizing abortion, because, in the end, that is what will really make the difference for all women, not just women that are lucky enough to find an online service.”