Could Fake "Abortion Tutorials" Do Real Harm?

Latin America is home to five of the seven countries in the world that ban abortion in all instances, according to RH Reality Check, and reproductive rights activists in Chile are out to prove just how over it they are. In an effort to support Chilean President Michelle Bachelet's proposal to end the criminalization of abortion, Miles Chile, a reproductive and sexual rights advocacy group, released satirical "how to" videos for accidental abortions. But even though the advice is fake, these videos appear real and could possibly be dangerous for any woman already considering an unsafe abortion in a country that offers no good options.

The videos are, of course, only propaganda meant to make a point about how unsafe it is to not allow legal abortion, but they definitely don't hold back in content. The clips feature a woman demonstrating various ways to perform an "accidental" abortion. The options include falling down the stairs or falling over a fire hydrant stomach-first. Another shows a woman stepping in front of traffic. These scenes are only fictional; the women are not giving themselves abortions onscreen. Even still, they are not for the faint of heart.

"Breathe out and let yourself fall," one woman says as the camera cuts to the blurry stairs, seeming to depict the woman's tumbling descent. She doesn't really fall, but the scene appears real and makes anyone watching want to slam on the pause button. Miles Chile does make a point. The longer the reproductive health laws remain this restrictive, the more someone might take drastic measures to obtain an abortion.

When videos like these in Chile are released, people pay attention. And therein lies both a call to action as well as a possible danger for the women tuning in. As the BBC notes, women who might already be considering alternative action for their abortions might take these videos literally. As it stands, theirs is a country that offers no safe way out.

And these fears of a polarizing healthcare system are not just happening in Latin America. Back-alley abortions were thought to be a relic of the pre-Roe v. Wade past, but some American women in restrictive states have to seek care at back-alley clinics.

Even in a country led by Bachelet, who's championing for women's healthcare, there is plenty of opposition. According to Vice, conservative and Catholic groups in Chile strongly oppose the legislation, which would allow women to receive an abortion in the case of a threat to her life or a nonviable pregnancy. In a country with a strong Roman Catholic influence, passing this legislation won't exactly be an easy walk in the park. In the meantime, the scenes in this video depict a harsh truth for many women of Latin America.

There are plenty of horror stories about anti-abortion centers that give women scary and inaccurate advice that could potentially harm or kill them. Salon reports one American counselor told a woman that taking a morning-after pill could lead to a hemorrhage and death. And there are countries, such as Chile, that don't even offer abortion as an option, which leads to warning videos like these. The devastating truth? The scenarios seen onscreen do happen, making the real danger not the videos, but the restrictive laws themselves.

Images: Miles Chile (3)