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Website offering info about abortion pills by mail sees an uptick in Arizona visitors

Mutual aid and resource groups are trying to prepare for what's next after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 abortion ban this month. The law outlaws abortion in all cases, except when the mother is at risk of dying.

Attorney General Kris Mayes  says the law could go into effect as early as June 8, and that until then doctors in Arizona are free to perform abortions in up to 15 weeks of pregnancy, as per current state law. She has also said her office would not prosecute anyone under the law, should it take effect.

Some southern Arizona groups are also recommending people act now to get medication abortion pills — which use a combination of drugs to incite an abortion and can be done at home.

Amy Merrill is the co-founder of Plan C — an organization and website that provides information on how to get abortion pills by mail in various states. She says that idea has been on the rise among reproductive rights activists around the U.S., and telehealth providers have been offering the option to buy pills in advance for about a year and a half.

"Plan C came from an international context and global research, and recognizing that this is a medication that people just had readily available in other ways, we recognize that this medication is so safe and effective that it has the potential to be over the counter," she said. "It really has the potential to be in people’s medicine cabinets as we are used to seeing with other medications."

She says providers typically ask patients to get back in touch with them if and when they do take the medication, and having the option to purchase ahead of time can give people peace of mind. 

"There's no question of whether you will be able to access them at the time that you need them, or where you'll get them, you just have a safety net...as politics continue to play a game of badminton with people's rights and access," she said. 

Merrill says Arizona-based traffic to the Plan C website has gone up three fold over the last month — with about 6,600 visitors. She says the site doesn't track additional details about those who visit the site beyond the state.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.