Web Searches for 'Self-Managed Abortion' Rose After Dobbs Decision

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- When some U.S. states made abortion illegal after the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding Roe v Wade in June 2022, women in those areas increased their searches for self-managed abortions.

To come to that conclusion, researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) analyzed Google search results regarding self-abortion.

“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 lead investigator Sean Young. He is a professor in the departments of emergency medicine and informatics.

“This has implications for increased emergency department visits for self-managed abortions in these states,” Young said in a university news release.

This could cause increased problems for Black women who already face challenges with accessing quality health care. Black women receive abortions at a higher rate than white women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Online search results may return unsafe home remedies that could have life-threatening consequences for women who seek to self-manage an abortion,” warned Lidia Flores, from the UCI department of emergency medicine.

And Dr. Carrie Chandwani, an associate clinical professor in UCI's department of emergency medicine, added that “emergency medicine providers need to be prepared for any potential increase in injuries, complications or even deaths associated with self-managed abortion techniques.”

The findings were published recently in JAMA Surgery. This study was supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

More information

Pew Research Center has more on people’s views of abortion.

SOURCE: University of California, Irvine, news release, Sept. 11, 2023

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