The woman, who requested that her last name not be used to avoid stigma, was referring to a drug that can induce miscarriages and is openly available in Mexico and covertly at some flea markets in Texas.

In Nuevo Progreso, only yards past the Mexican border, pharmacists respond to requests for a pill to “bring back a woman’s period” by offering the drug, misoprostol, at discount prices: generic at $35 for a box of 28 pills, or the branded Cytotec for $175.

When asked how women should use the pills, some of the pharmacists said they did not know and others recommended wildly different regimes that doctors say could be unsafe.

“The women see it as “a pill to make my period come,’” said Andrea Ferrigno, a vice president of Whole Woman’s Health, which runs a network of abortion clinics. “Often in their minds, it’s not abortion.”