Here is a shocking statistic: There were over 700,000 Google searches for self-induced abortions last year.
According to the New York Times, about 160,000 of these searches pertained to the availability of abortion pills: How to get them for free and where to find them online. About 119,000 of these searches include the phrase “how to have a miscarriage.” Four thousand of these searches specifically relate to how to perform a coat hanger abortion while other searches sought for abortion remedies using keywords like herbs (parsley and vitamin C are two of the mentioned), bleaching the uterus, and punching oneself in the stomach.
While searches for DIY alternatives aren’t exactly new, there is a direct correlation between a spike in said searches and an increase in abortion restrictions mandated by state. In 2011, the amount of new state laws restricting abortions skyrocketed; 2011 is also the same year searches of at-home abortions increased by 40%.
So where are these searches coming from? Predictably, states with the most restrictions on legal abortion often afforded for the highest rates of do-it-yourself searches. For example, 99% of women in Mississippi live in a county without an abortion clinic, as there is only one in the entire state. It comes as no shock then to learn that Mississippi is the state with the highest rates of self-induced abortion searches.
While the number of online searches is high, it is in no way an indication for how many undocumented abortions were performed in 2015. What this data is a strong indication of is that abortions will happen regardless of state limitations and the issue at the forefront of all our minds should be educating women on what to do if they experience an unwanted pregnancy.