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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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