ABORTION CLINICS ARE CLOSING throughout the US at breakneck speed. In Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming only one clinic remains. And the Supreme Court is expected to hear whether or not a Texas law, which would shut down all but 10 of the state’s remaining abortion clinics, is constitutional.
The Texas ruling sits within a pile of other abortion laws that have recently garnered attention in the US. Recently, Indiana and Florida passed new laws that severely limit women’s access to abortion. The law will end state funding for family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood, which also offer abortions. The law also will require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals — often almost impossible to get because hospitals are under intense pressure from anti-abortion groups. This happens to be the same requirement that reduced Texas abortion clinics by half within one year.
Recent research is suggesting that, as it was pre- Roe v. Wade, women without access to clinics are resorting to some pretty scary and unsafe do-it-yourself methods. According to The New York Times, in 2015 Americans made 119,000 Google searches for “how to have a miscarriage.” Other common searches were “how to self-abort,” “buy abortion pills online,” “how to do a coat hanger abortion,” as well as searches about abortion-inducing herbs, uterus bleaching and stomach punching.
In all, there were more than 700,000 Google searches in 2015 that had to do with the topic of self-induced abortions. And, no surprise here — the state with the highest search rate was Mississippi, where access is extremely limited.
These recent Google search patterns make it obvious that women who want an abortion will find a way to have an abortion. And as safe access to abortion diminishes, more and more women will end up attempting DIY methods or seeking out sketchy and unregulated medical procedures.