Imagine you live in Mississippi and the one abortion clinic in the state is 3 hours away. Or maybe you live in Rio Grande Valley Texas where there used to be two abortion clinics and now there are none. As a result, you have to travel four-to-five hours to San Antonio or Austin. Then there’s the cost of the abortion itself, and the wait. Laws require multiple visits to the same doctor, a 24-hour advance sonogram, and a 14-day follow-up visit. The expense and travel involved could delay you beyond the 20-week mark when abortion becomes illegal.
So what are you going to do? Figure out how to work within the law or do it yourself?
According to a New York Times report out this week, women in states like Texas and Mississippi where strict laws have caused an increasing number of abortion clinics to shut down, women are googling DIY abortion information in record numbers. It’s very reminiscent of the days before Roe vs. Wade when abortion was illegal and doing it yourself was often the only way.
A breakdown of the study revealed:
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.
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.
Coat hanger abortions? Bleaching the uterus? Punching the stomach? This is not good news! Why are we moving backwards on this issue?
According to activists in Texas, the new restrictions on abortion clinics are supposed to make it safer for women seeking to have the procedure. However, others argue that abortion is a hot button issue being used by politicians for political gain. It’s conservatism at its best; and it’s working. In the past four years, states that include Georgia and Arkansas have enacted 231 provisions restricting access to abortion.
So what does this mean for the state of abortions in the U.S.? It means that this next Presidential election is really important because all this talk about the potential reversal of Roe v Wade is more than just talk. It also means that women will become as knowledgeable about DIY abortions as they are about installing kitchen cabinets.