Self-managed Abortion and Criminalization 101

Jan 2023

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Self-managed abortion (SMA) refers to the ending of a pregnancy outside of the purview of the formal healthcare system of the U.S. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, there has been increased interest and advocacy around SMA, despite the fact that it continues to be criminalized in a myriad of ways. This presentation by If/When/How will provide an overview of 1) self-managed abortion including what it means and why people choose to self-manage, and 2) the current legal landscape of SMA including how and why people are criminalized.


Catherine Guichardo (she/her) is If/When/How’s Helpline Counsel. In her role Catherine supports the Repro Legal Helpline by helping people understand the laws around various reproductive experiences, including self-managed abortion, youth access and birth justice. Prior to joining If/When/How, Catherine was a staff attorney in the Housing Unit at Bronx Legal Services, where she provided legal assistance to tenants facing eviction in housing court. She began her career as a family defense attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services where she represented parents facing allegations of abuse or neglect and helped reunite them with their families, free of state intervention. Catherine received her J.D. from Penn State Law and is licensed to practice in New York. 

Rebecca Wang (she/her) is If/When/How’s Legal Support Counsel. In her role Rebecca provides technical assistance around self-managed abortion and young people's access to abortion to advocates in the reproductive justice/rights/health movement. She also provides support for the work of the Litigation & Policy Team. Rebecca comes to this work after completing a year with the If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellowship Program, where she was placed with Positive Women’s Network-USA in Oakland. She graduated from the University of Iowa’s College of Law and is licensed to practice in California.

This event is organized by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School and If/When/How. Co-sponsors: If/When/How Columbia Law Chapter, Reproductive Justice Collective New York (RJC), Empowering Women of Color (EWOC)

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Event Contact

Lilia Hadjiivanova

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