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Everybody Trying To Figure Out How To Give Themselves Abortions, Hooray

Legal

weirdly, abortion isn't listed! probably because you won't necessarily survive.


It has been super cool to live in this new do-it-yourself age where people are discovering all sorts of cool old techniques and crafts. Literally every person you have ever met is now brewing their own beer and hoping to open a microbrewery. Knitting is still So Hot Right Now. People rebuild old houses and repurpose sweaters. Everyone on Etsy behaves as if the modern age will be ending in a year or so, so they've learned to make their own soap to ensure deliciously scented cleanliness in a post-apocalyptic future.

You know what is not a cool DIY thing that we were sorta hoping would not make a reappearance, though? DIY abortions. Abortions are a thing that we were pretty happy to have taken over by the medical profession, in large part because the DIY methods run the gamut from just ineffective to downright deadly. But hey! To everything, turn turn turn, there is a season, turn turn turn, and we are living in the season of everybody heading to Google to try to figure out how the fuck to abort a baby because they now live in states where doing the safe thing, like driving a few miles and getting a goddamn pill, is now impossible.

See, we can't easily quantify how many people are now desperately trying to figure out how to have an abortion, because that sort of thing doesn't make for an easily targeted poll. But we (and by "we" we mean "nerds at the New York Times") can actually use Google to trace the uptick in searches for ways to perform an incredibly simple and safe medical procedure in incredibly complicated and dangerous ways.

In 2015, in the United States, there were about 119,000 searches for the exact phrase “how to have a miscarriage.” There were also searches for other variants — “how to self-abort” — and for particular methods. Over all, there were more than 700,000 Google searches looking into self-induced abortions in 2015. [...]

The 700,000 searches included about 160,000 asking how to get abortion pills through unofficial channels — searches like “buy abortion pills online” and “free abortion pills.”

There were tens of thousands of searches looking into abortion by herbs like parsley or by vitamin C. There were some 4,000 searches looking for directions on coat hanger abortions, including about 1,300 for the exact phrase “how to do a coat hanger abortion.” There were also a few hundred looking into abortion through bleaching one’s uterus and punching one’s stomach.

Maybe those people looking to perform self-abortion via parsley or vitamins are just really natural-type people who are also into home births and are therefore voluntarily eschewing the cold confines of an abortion clinic, huh? Didja ever think of that, smart people at the New York Times? Also too, maybe there are always just a bunch of searches for abortions no matter what, right?

The state with the highest rate of Google searches for self-induced abortions is Mississippi, which now has one abortion clinic. Eight of the 10 states with the highest search rates for self-induced abortions are considered by the Guttmacher Institute to be hostile or very hostile to abortion. None of the 10 states with the lowest search rates for self-induced abortion are in either category.

Should have known those fucking Times nerds would already have thought of this. So hard out here for bloggers without Nate Silver and his ilk at their disposal. We can't just call Nate and say "dance, monkey, dance!" whenever we want to analyze some data.

Another fun fact: In Texas, a state where it has become almost comically hard to get an abortion thanks to the state having ceded control of its government functions to evangelical terrorists, a recent study found around 4 percent of women either were sure or suspected that a close friend had attempted a self-induced abortion.

Great. This new reality is so cool and so retro! We eagerly await the return of other fun things like barbers performing bloodletting. Oh, and the return of unregulated, unclean, unsafe back-alley abortionists. This dystopian future is exactly like we dreamed! Oh, except we didn't foresee all that cool soap-making. Guess that counts for something.

[NYT / University of Texas]

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