Quote of the Day: Do We Have a Self-Induced Abortion Crisis?

From Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of a book on trends in Google searches:

I was blown away by how frequently people are searching for ways to do abortions themselves now. These searches are concentrated in parts of the country where it’s hard to get an abortion and they rose substantially when it became harder to get an abortion….That’s pretty disturbing and I think isn’t really being talked about. But I think, based on the data, it’s clearly going on.

I’m not sure what kind of search terms Stephens-Davidowitz is using here, but it sounds like this deserves more attention. For example, you could read “Inside the Top-Secret Abortion Underground,” by Nina Liss-Schultz, from our March issue.

Beyond that, I can show you the search trend over the past few years for abortion in general:

Did searches spike when Trump was elected because people were worried about whether abortion would be banned? Or because lots of people got depressed and started considering having an abortion?

UPDATE: More here based on an online survey given to people who Googled terms related to self-induced abortion: “1,235 respondents completed the survey. The vast majority of the sample was female (96%), and 41% were minors. Almost three-quarters (73%) indicated that they were searching for information because they were pregnant and did not or may not want to be. Eleven percent had ever attempted to self-abort. One-third of respondents did not know if abortion was legal in their state of residence, and knowledge of legality did not differ by age.”

Note also that interest was strongest in the South, where legal abortion is most constrained.

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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