What people are Googling in states where abortion is now illegal 

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When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last Friday, many Americans were upset and confused — and they turned to the internet for answers.

The 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health immediately made abortion illegal in eight states, and it will likely become so in nearly half of all states soon. It’s a move that runs counter to what the vast majority of Americans want — 85 percent think abortion should be legal in some or all instances — and it will have far-reaching consequences on everything from the health and economic status of women to the well-being of their existing children.

To get an understanding of what’s on Americans’ minds after this historic ruling, we asked Google for the top trending questions people posed to the search engine since June 24, both in the states where abortion first became illegal following the Dobbs decision and nationally. (Trending searches show where there’s the greatest increase in searches, not the highest volume, and are a good way to sort out perennial searches from new ones.) What Americans asked sheds light on their anxieties and where the discussion may go next.

In individual states where abortion became illegal (though the bans have since been challenged in court in several of those states), the questions often involved where exactly the procedure is legal or illegal and where else people could get an abortion. In Louisiana, the No. 1 trending search question was about whether abortion was legal in Florida. In Arkansas, people asked about Texas. In Kentucky, Missouri, and South Dakota, several of the top questions people Googled were related to abortion pills — if they’re illegal, how they work, and for how long they’re effective. As Vox’s Rachel Cohen pointed out, crossing state lines to have an abortion or having health care providers mail pills to people in states where abortion is illegal presents thorny and unanswered legal questions.

Many others in states where abortion is illegal were confused about what the abortion ban meant when abortion is medically necessary. They asked if aborting an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening complication in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, was banned (most states with abortion bans have exceptions when the life of the mother is at risk, but the decision could put doctors and patients in a tough situation). They also wondered if having a miscarriage, where the fetus needs to be removed, is considered an abortion (it’s a gray area, and the ruling could certainly make doctors more hesitant). People in Arkansas and Louisiana asked if the Bible talks about abortion (it’s not explicit). Those in Utah and Alabama wanted to know why abortion is illegal.

On a national level, the trending Google search questions about abortion this last week were somewhat broader: How many abortions were performed in 2021? What does abortion mean? What percentage of abortions are medically necessary?

Importantly, people across the country made it clear their concerns about the Supreme Court decision were about more than just abortion. The No. 2 trending abortion question: What does Roe v. Wade protect besides abortion? People also wanted to know if Roe v. Wade would affect IVF, LGBTQ rights, and interracial relationships.

Google

Other trending questions in related areas like women’s health this past week included whether the decision would affect access to condoms or birth control (it won’t, but some fear contraception could be a future target for the Supreme Court). People asked about the longest-lasting IUDs or getting their tubes tied. Nationwide search interest in the oral contraceptive levonorgestrel, IUDs, IVF, ectopic pregnancy, period tracking apps, and vasectomy reached all-time highs this month, according to Google. “Vasectomy near me” is also being searched more than ever.

The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade leaves a lot more questions than answers. And for now, Americans are forced to go online to try and figure it out.

Here’s a full list of the top trending abortion questions on Google from June 24, when the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was handed down, to June 28:

United States

  1. How many abortions were performed in 2021?
  2. What does Roe v Wade protect besides abortion?
  3. Is an ectopic pregnancy treated with an abortion?
  4. Is D&C the same as abortion?
  5. How many states have banned abortion?
  6. Is abortion legal in the Bahamas?
  7. Is it illegal to have an abortion now?
  8. Who made the abortion law?
  9. What percentage of abortions are medically necessary?
  10. What does abortion mean?

Alabama

  1. Why is abortion illegal?
  2. How do abortions work?
  3. How to support abortion rights?
  4. How many babies have been aborted?
  5. What states do not ban abortions?
  6. How many black babies have been aborted since Roe v Wade?
  7. What percentage of abortions in the US are elective?
  8. How many abortions were performed in 2021?
  9. What percentage of abortions are black?
  10. Is D&C abortion?

Arkansas

  1. Is it illegal to have an abortion now?
  2. How many states have banned abortion?
  3. What countries is abortion illegal?
  4. Is ectopic pregnancy removal an abortion?
  5. Where in the Bible does it talk about abortion?
  6. What state is abortion illegal?
  7. Is abortion legal in Texas?
  8. Is a missed miscarriage an abortion?
  9. What is the new abortion law in Arkansas?
  10. How many abortions in total in the US?

Kentucky

  1. Is ectopic pregnancy abortion banned?
  2. Is D&C the same as abortion?
  3. Is it illegal to have an abortion?
  4. Which states have banned abortion?
  5. What is an abortion pill?
  6. Is an ectopic pregnancy treated with an abortion?
  7. When were abortions invented?
  8. Who pays for abortions in the US?
  9. How long is pill abortion effective?
  10. Where to read about the abortion law

Louisiana

  1. Is abortion illegal in Florida?
  2. Is ectopic pregnancy removal an abortion?
  3. What does the Bible say about abortions?
  4. Who made the abortion law?
  5. What to say to your senator about abortion?
  6. What is a surgical abortion?
  7. How many abortions were performed in 2021?
  8. Who made abortions illegal?
  9. What states still allow abortions?
  10. What is an abortion?

Missouri

  1. Which states have banned abortion?
  2. Is ectopic pregnancy abortion banned?
  3. How many abortions are there a year?
  4. How does the abortion pill work?
  5. Is an ectopic pregnancy treated with an abortion?
  6. Is D&C the same as abortion?
  7. Is the abortion pill legal in Missouri?
  8. What did Roe v Wade protect other than abortion?
  9. Is Missouri banning abortions?
  10. How many states allow legal abortions?

Oklahoma

  1. How are abortions performed?
  2. Is it illegal to have an abortion now?
  3. What state is abortion illegal?
  4. Is a miscarriage considered an abortion?
  5. How many babies are aborted in the US every year?
  6. What is the new abortion law in Oklahoma?
  7. What countries don’t allow abortions?
  8. Was abortion a constitutional right?
  9. What did the Supreme Court rule on abortion?
  10. How many abortions take place a year?

South Dakota

  1. How many abortions were performed in 2021?
  2. What countries is abortion illegal?
  3. Can you get an abortion in South Dakota?
  4. When was abortion legalized?
  5. Is a missed miscarriage an abortion?
  6. What states are abortions illegal in?
  7. Is abortion in the constitution?
  8. What is the new abortion law?
  9. Which states is abortion legal?
  10. Is Plan B an abortion pill?

Utah

  1. What is elective abortion?
  2. What is the penalty for abortion now?
  3. When was abortion legalized?
  4. Is it illegal to have an abortion now?
  5. Why is abortion banned?
  6. How many abortions are there a year?
  7. How late can you have an abortion?
  8. How far along can you get an abortion?
  9. Is abortion a constitutional right in the United States?
  10. How many abortions were performed in 2021?



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