Research: Internet searches for abortion pills skyrocket after Roe leaked drafts

Online searches for abortion pills skyrocketed after Draft decision of the Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade leaked in early May, according to an analysis published year JAMA lingerie.

The researchers analyzed Google searches originating in the United States that mentioned terms like “abortion pill” or the drug “mifepristone/mifeprex” or “misoprostol/cytotec”. They took data from January 1, 2004 to May 8, 2022 and studied hourly search volume for 72 hours before and after the leak.

The analysis revealed a “record national high” for abortion-related search terms, with about 350,000 searches in the week between May 1 and May 8. Notice that searches spiked “immediately” following the leak, and searches were 162% higher than expected during the 72-hour period after the draft was released.

Additionally, abortion pill searches were higher in states with more restrictive reproductive rights or less access to care. Nebraska had the highest cumulative search volume for the 72-hour period following the leak, with Iowa in second, followed by Missouri.


The researchers note that their study could not confirm whether any of these searches were related to an actual abortion attempt or identify the demographics of the searchers. abortion pill.

However, they say the increase will let doctors know that their patients can decide to use the abortion pill whether or not providers are involved.

“Although mifepristone/mifeprex or misoprostol/cytotec require a prescription and their use is restricted in some states, internet searches may reflect those exploring the safety and effectiveness of these drugs. these drugs, how to obtain them or stock them in case access is restricted,” they wrote.

“Some searchers may be looking for alternative and/or illegal abortion pills as an alternative. It is imperative that information about where women can buy legal and safe abortion pills must be accessible online; including telemedicine consultations with healthcare professionals.”


Medical abortion has become increasingly popular since the FDA approved mifepristone as an abortion method in 2000. According to the Guttmacher . InstituteA reproductive health research institute that advocates abortion rights, medical abortions accounted for 54% of abortions in the US in 2020, up from 37% in 2017.

Even before Final decision of the Supreme Court Overturned Roe last week, many states have Unlimited Access for medical abortions provided via telehealth. Following the decision, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that states cannot ban mifepristone because the drug has been approved by the FDA.

On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the agency will support access to medical abortion, safe travel to states that allow abortions and health privacy.

“There are no magic bullets,” Becerra said. “But if there’s something we can do, we’ll find it and we’ll do it at HHS. Indeed, that’s the directive I got from the president of the United States.”

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