A report in the New York Times reveals the number of Google searches regarding DIY abortions, and the result is shocking.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates that women have about 1 million legal abortions a year. In 2015, there were over 700,000 Google searches for self-induced abortions, which ranged from looking for abortion pills online, to searching “how to have a miscarriage,” to even looking for directions on how to perform a coat hanger abortion.
Economist Stephens-Davidowitz reports that the demand is “concentrated in areas where it is most difficult to get an abortion, and it has closely tracked the recent state-level crackdowns on abortion.”
The state with the highest rate of Google searches for self-induced abortions is Mississippi, which now has one abortion clinic. Eight of the 10 states with the highest search rates for self-induced abortions are considered by the Guttmacher Institute to be hostile or very hostile to abortion. None of the 10 states with the lowest search rates for self-induced abortion are in either category.
Search rates for self-induced abortion were fairly steady from 2004 through 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, coinciding with the financial crisis and the recession that followed. They took a big leap in 2011, jumping 40 percent. The Guttmacher Institute singles out 2011 as the beginning of the country’s recent crackdown on abortion; 92 provisions that restrict access to abortion were enacted. There was not a comparable increase in searches for self-induced abortions in Canada, which has not cracked down.
The research doesn’t tell us how many people actually went through with self-induced abortions, but it reflects what many doctors, researchers and activists already know to be true — when desperate women don’t have safe and legal access to an abortion, they seek alternate and often highly dangerous methods of terminating a pregnancy.
[For the full story, head to Yahoo News.]