Slate: Are you closed?
Lester Minto: Of course not. I have nine ladies scheduled for tomorrow.
Slate: What do you tell them?
Minto: That I do not do abortions. I cannot do them legally. And I tell them that I know that there are other things that people do.
Slate: What do other people “do?”
Minto: If they have a passport and enough money, they go over the border to Mexico and go to a pharmacy and buy misoprostol at a pharmacy. It is an ulcer drug, but it works as an abortifacient. It is not as effective mifepristone, which is the on-label medicine used in the U.S. But in these ladies’ situations, misoprostol can be a good choice. It is proper medicine in a blister pack from a proper pharmacy. Someone might even know how to dose it. But it can be an expensive choice. In the U.S., misoprostol costs 10 to 12 cents a pill. I have had ladies charged $80 a pill at Mexican pharmacies. Also passports are expensive and can take too long to get if you don’t have one already. Misoprostol only works up to about seven weeks after your last menstrual period. You need a passport now just to walk over the bridge into Mexico and back. Of course if you are undocumented this isn’t an option at all.
Slate: What do women do if they don’t have a passport?
Minto: They buy the drug at a flea market. This is bad and sad and wrong. They are going to be buying things on the street. You don’t even know if you are getting the real thing. But these goddamn politicians … Women are forced to crawl around like goddamn criminals. So I am here to help them.