“This card is an abortion,” read a handful of business cards handed out by DIY biohacker Mixl Laufer at a hacking conference in Queens on Friday. Built-in maps are three doses of misoprostol, a drug that safely and effectively induces abortion when used correctly.
“It’s a breakthrough we’ve had,” Laufer said, explaining that having a paper card allows it to be sent undetected, as well as distributed in public or semi-public places like school toilets. The card bears the logo of the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective, a DIY medical collective of which Laufer has been a key part for years, as well as a QR code with instructions on how to use it.
“Miso Cards are misoprostol abortion pills, delivered as a card, because they are easier to send by post. Used since the mid-1980s, it is 85% effective when used alone. It is one of the most effective drugs for terminating first and second trimester pregnancies,” the website states.
The website also has instructions for taking each dose, what to expect, and what to do if you have a problem. Since the fall of Roe c. Wade, Collective of the four vinegar thieves worked on ways to spread information on how to make misoprostol yourself to the masses. Misoprostol is generally recommended for use only during the first trimester of pregnancy; the World Health Organization recommends that it be taken within the first 12 weeks. The Four Thieves Vinegar Collective instructions say “effective for use up to 13 weeks gestation.”
“Organizations like mine shouldn’t exist, we shouldn’t exist,” Laufer told Motherboard after the talk. “There’s nothing reasonable about it being a thing – it shouldn’t exist. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Laufer was speaking at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference on biohacking and DIY medicine. During the interview, Laufer spoke about the current state of abortion in the United States after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. While explaining the different birth control methods available in (some) states, he also pulled out and threw several boxes of Plan B, anti-retrovirals and abortion pills to the public to take home.
“If you believe in infrastructure, then infrastructure should take care of people. And especially in such a basic way. If you don’t, you should have the freedom to deal with it yourself,” Laufer told Motherboard after the talk. “And as it stands, none of those things are an option.”
Laufer also explained how anyone can do an abortion drug on the paper card.
The first thing someone would need is an active ingredient of misoprostol, one of two drugs people can take to have an abortion at home, a micropipette and a 96% alcohol solution. The process, he explained, is relatively simple. Just mix the misoprostol with the alcohol in the micropipette, then dose it on the six boxes on the map. Then someone just has to put two of those squares on each cheek, wait a few hours, and repeat the process until all the squares have been used up.
Earlier this year, before deer was canceled, Laufer posted a video explaining how to make misoprostol pills yourself, as well as where to find the basic ingredients. They repeatedly stressed that we should live in a country and a world where homemade abortion pills are not necessary, but given the desperate times it is important to at least explain how it can be done.
According to Laufer, there are 6.1 million pregnancies a year in the United States, and 1.1 million of them are unintended. Each card contains three doses of 800 micrograms. If someone wanted to make enough cards to hand out to the 1.1 million people who want abortions, they would only need about 2.5 kilograms, Laufer explained.
“Just two and a half pounds would actually cover every unwanted pregnancy in America for the year,” Laufer said. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Choice advocates regularly argue that abortion should be a safe, legal, and routine part of health care.
Laufer also had a message for the Supreme Court.
“I really hope this reveal will allow some of us to say to nine people that I won’t name, ‘Yeah, that’s like your opinion man,'” they said, prompting laughs. and some applause from the audience.
“This problem was solved decades ago, and there is absolutely no reason for it to remain a problem. And the fact that there are people who, for whatever reason, find it necessary to exercise power over other people, is quite disgusting,” Laufer said. “So hopefully people will learn to recognize that taking control for themselves is an option. And we will see more.