‘How to Give Yourself an Abortion’ PSA Is the Most Upsetting Video You Need to Watch

accidental abortion tutorialWomen all over the world have been doing it for centuries: Deliberately committing violent acts of self-harm to cause what they hope will look like an accidental miscarriage. Now it's part of a shocking ad campaign. Women are filming mock DIY abortion tutorials to protest ultra-conservative abortion laws.


In one ad, a woman narrates as she walks up a concrete stairwell. "It’s important that you find a long and steep set of stairs,” she says. “Make sure there’s no security cameras, so no one can see you." 

"You must be alone," she continues. "Only one person should know your whereabouts, in case you end up unconscious."

You catch a glimpse of her rounded, pregnant belly as she reaches the top of the stairs. "Don’t look down because you could back out," she warns.

The camera jostles violently as the woman throws herself down the stairs. You hear her body banging, her grunts of pain. And then you see this:

accidental abortion

In Chile, abortion is a punishable crime that could land you five years in prison. 

This is one of three "accidental abortion tutorial" videos produced by the organization, MILES Chile, which hopes to change those strict laws. They underscore the serious effect such laws have. Women are risking serious injury just to end a pregnancy.

How desperate do you have to be to do that? 

For every woman with an unwanted pregnancy who keeps her baby and makes it work, either through adoption or raising the child herself, there is another woman in circumstances so dire she'll do literally anything to avoid having that baby. And if a legal abortion isn't available, she'll risk her life. Because the alternative is, in her mind, worse.

The ads definitely make you feel something. But will they work? Will they sway anyone to support more lenient laws for abortion?

I think it depends. Passionate pro-life advocates will probably strengthen their resolve and dismiss these ads as sensationalist. But the ads may nudge quietly pro-choice people into taking action, and maybe that's all it takes.

A lot of the time, a political ad isn't so much about changing minds as it is about reinforcing the beliefs of the converted and spurring them into action. We'll have to see if that works for the women of Chile. But American legislators have passed some surprisingly strict abortion laws here, too. I think they may resonate with many voters here as well.


What do you think about this satirical "accidental abortion" tutorial?


Image via MILES Chile/YouTube

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