At an open-air flea market outside McAllen, Texas (BEESTX), near the Mexican border, shoppers can buy a goat and get their car windows tinted. Tables with handwritten signs touting Viagra (MDPSVIAG) are stocked with herbal remedies promising to burn fat and boost breast size. You can also find pills to end a pregnancy.
Bazaars like this have become home to a thriving black market, where women too poor to afford an abortion at a clinic or deterred by state mandates such as a 24-hour waiting period can buy drugs to induce a miscarriage on their own, a dozen area residents and doctors said in interviews.
Hundreds of miles north in Austin, the capital, lawmakers may inadvertently increase this illegal trade. Rules set to pass as soon as this week might result in the closing of most, if not all, abortion facilities in the state. If the law—promoted as a way to improve women's health—makes legal abortion unavailable in Texas, more women may turn to markets such as the one near McAllen and risk their lives.