Internet searches increased for self-managed abortions when Roe vs. Wade was overturned, study finds
UCI researcher, Sean Young, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, and colleagues, have found that internet searches for how to give yourself an abortion, have increased since Roe vs. Wade was overturned.
The study, “Self-Managed Abortions After Roe v Wade Overturn,” published in JAMA Surgery presents an analysis of Google search results regarding self-abortion, and details the states with the highest search percentage.
“We found an increased number of searches in states where abortion had recently become illegal, suggesting that a lot of people in these states are trying to learn how to give themselves abortions instead of going to the doctor,” said Sean Young, Ph.D., lead PI of the study. “This has implications for increased Emergency Department visits for self-managed abortions in these states.”
According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, after Roe vs. Wade was overturned, people in states where abortion is prohibited say it would be difficult to obtain an abortion, an increase of 21 points from a 2019 survey.
“Emergency medicine providers need to be prepared for any potential increase in injuries, complications or even deaths associated with self-managed abortion techniques,” said Carrie Chandwani, MD, associate clinical professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, UCI School of Medicine.
This data could also cause increased problems for Black women who already face challenges with accessing quality health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-Hispanic Black women receive abortions at a higher rate than non-Hispanic or White women.
“Online search results may return unsafe home remedies that could have life-threatening consequences for women who seek to self-manage an abortion,” said Lidia Flores, Department of Emergency Medicine.
Lidia Flores et al, Internet Searches for Self-Managed Abortion After Roe v Wade Overturned, JAMA Surgery (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamasurg.2023.2410
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