The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing for a decision in May regarding Texas Law HB2, which restricts the number of abortion clinics in the state. This law has induced a rigmarole for many women with unwanted pregnancies. The Inquisitr recently reported that the bill not only makes abortion less accessible and more expensive, it also restricts the kind of medical procedures available.
In addition to Texas, 13 other states have enacted similar laws, much to the chagrin of Democrats and other reproductive rights organizations. These laws make aborting a child a lengthy procedure, and pregnant women sometimes opt in for self-induced abortions, a report by Healthline indicated.
The report also added that, despite a lack of hard evidence, few reliable studies have shown that self-induced abortion is indeed real. Recently, a NewYork Times Op-Ed column tried to dig into this topic. Using data from Google searches, the author attempted to find a meeting point between searches for self-abortion and the rigidity of the laws. He found that the situation was burgeoning in states with inflexible laws regarding abortion.
“This 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 author wrote
To solidify his case, the author illuminated the fact that in 2015 in the United States, there were about 119,000 searches for the exact phrase “how to have a miscarriage.” There were also similar searches on “how to self-abort” and for specific methods. This implied that a cumulative 700,000 Google searches were made by people interested in self-induced abortions or miscarriages.
In comparison, 3.4 million searches were done for abortion clinics and, according to estimates by the Guttmacher Institute, there are around one million legal abortions a year.
The situation gets increasingly worrying as 160,000 among 700,00 searches asked questions about getting abortion pills through unofficial channels. Searches for buying abortion pills online and free abortion pills were also distinctly present.
There were also searches made for a more herbal approach to abortion by parsley or Vitamin-C. In an attempt to avoid the law, women were found taking riskier approaches like the coat hanger method. Among 4.000 similar queries, about 1,300 were for the exact phrase “how to do a coat hanger abortion.” The data also surfaced bizarre methods like bleaching the uterus and kicking the womb.
The state of Mississippi was found to be the state with the highest number of queries for self-induced abortion. Naturally enough, the state has one abortion clinic. Eight of the 10 states with highest searches for self-induced abortions are considered by the Guttmacher Institute to be aggressively against abortion.
The author also took a close look at changing search trends. He found that the search rates for self-induced abortion were steady in the years 2004 to 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, and this coincided with the financial crisis and the recession in the United States.
The searches took a giant leap in 2011, jumping 40 percent. The Guttmacher Institute singles out 2011 as the dark year. It marked the beginning of the country’s meltdown on abortion. In 2011 alone, 92 provisions that restrict access to abortion were enacted.
The year 2011, which marked the last year with complete state-level abortion data, saw women living in states with few abortion clinics having access to many fewer legal abortions.
The data from Google searches is obviously inconclusive, as it does not give the data on how many women actually did what they read on the internet. So, to increase the degree of reliability, the author also compared rates of abortion with birth statistics.
The studies showed that the women living in states with the fewest abortion clinics had 54 percent fewer legal abortions, a difference of 11 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.
The report from The Inquisitr said that women are even going as far as Mexico to carry out their abortions as Mexico takes a far more liberal approach to abortion.
If the Supreme Court remains adamant on its rulings, it is certain that there would be even more abortion-related Google searches, long distance trips, and tedious external procedures for women with unwanted pregnancies in the U.S.
[Image via Pixabay]