Images of scared and vulnerable Mexican women wading through the Rio Grande and crawling under barbed wire to cross the border into the United States have long been commonplace.
But since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, which introduced a near total ban on abortion in 13 states, desperate American women are now travelling into Mexico in search of reproductive care.
It is a situation that Mexican abortion activist Vanesa Jimenez Rubalcav never imagined would happen. “I was very surprised,” she tells The Telegraph. “The United States used to be the reference point [on abortion].”
In September, Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalised abortion nationwide, offering legal protection for any woman who seeks an abortion in the country.
Before the reversal of Roe vs Wade, “I would talk to one or two women from the US a year,” Ms Rubalcav says. “Now, I speak to at least 20 a week.”
While there are no clinics in Nueva Leon, Monterrey, where the procedure is only allowed in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk, there are still ways of helping women to procure the pills that they need, explains Ms Rubalcav.
In July, a man from Nebraska asked for her help. He had crossed the border into Mexico from the United States with his pregnant daughter to find a way for her to have a safe abortion. The man was from Monterrey originally, but, in the face of restrictions in Nebraska, he had returned to his hometown in search of help for his child.
Ms Rubalcav of Necesito Abortar – Spanish for “I Need To Abort” – helped his daughter have a termination.
For decades, Mexican activist networks have helped women access abortion-inducing pills. And now, with a patchwork of restrictions across the United States, they are working for women north of the border too.
The network mails pills to women who get in touch via social media.
Mifepristone, which blocks the pregnancy-sustaining hormone progesterone, and misoprostol are the two drugs commonly used for abortions.
Mifepristone is available by prescription in Mexico, while misoprostol, typically used for ulcers, can be bought cheaply over the counter. The most effective method is for the two to be taken together, but misoprostol alone is also often used.
Throughout the process, Ms Rubalcav says, “we are with them every step of the way.”
“Women in America are our neighbours. All we are doing is sharing our information, our strategies. To let them know that there is an alternative,” she adds.
In the past year, Luisa Garcia, director of Profem, which operates abortion clinics in four Mexican cities, has seen a hike in the number of American women coming to the clinic.
Ms Garcia recalls an American woman arriving at the clinic who “was all panicked, she didn’t speak any Spanish, and the machine didn’t accept her card”.
Veronica Cruz, the founder of Las Libres, an abortion rights volunteer network, has been helping Mexican women procure the pills needed to have an at-home abortion for more than two decades.
“We have been helping women in Mexico secure safe at-home abortions without medical supervision for 23 years,” she says.
The majority of women from the United States contact her from Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Oklahoma.
When Cruz first started her work, over two decades ago, she says that all the feminist networks in Latin America looked to the United States on abortion.
“We would say: ‘We want something like Roe v Wade’,” she says.
But now the mood has changed.
“Now, we say how glad we are that we didn’t take after the United States and follow in their footsteps.
“How glad we are that abortion in Mexico is a collective right, not an individual one.
“And how glad we are that society fought for this.”