Just one week after a leaked draft opinion showed the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn reproductive rights, online searches for how to find and use the abortion pill have skyrocketed.
Queries including “abortion pill,” “telehealth abortion pill,” “what is the name of the abortion pill,” “FDA abortion pill,” and “how much is an abortion pill at CVS” have increased by at least 250 per cent in the United States, according to Google Trends.
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The rise in searches follows the leak of an initial draft opinion, first reported Monday by Politico, suggesting the court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
In a medication abortion, a patient takes a pill called mifepristone, also known as RU-486, followed by a second pill called misoprostol, to end a pregnancy rather than having a surgical procedure.
The drugs are approved for use through the 10th week of pregnancy.
Aside from the abortion pill, mugwort tea, which in high doses could induce a miscarriage, has also seen a major increase in searches, according to Google Trends.
Inquiries including “how much mugwort tea to prevent pregnancy,” “mugwort tea abortive properties,” “mugwort tea pregnancy,” are all spiking over 180 per cent.
The tea has also seen a 250 per cent increase worldwide.
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More than half of the abortions carried out in the United States are medication abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone in 2000, but until very recently, the FDA mandated that patients get it at a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.
However, 32 states allow still only physicians to dispense abortion pills, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Six states, including Texas and Missouri, ban any use of telemedicine for medication abortion. Another 21 states do not have blanket bans but require at least one in-person visit, meaning patients cannot simply have a telemedicine appointment and receive the pills by mail, according to the foundation.
In Canada, abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy. There are no laws regulating or restricting care.
But legal and accessible are two very different issues when it comes to abortion in Canada, and pregnant people are regularly referred to the U.S. for more complex abortions they cannot get here.
Aside from the U.S., Canadian searches for mifepristone have also seen a 60 per cent increase, according to Google Trends.
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Most of the hands-on power to improve abortion access in Canada lies with provinces through their authority on providing health care to their residents and ensuring their doctors are properly trained to provide that health care.
Ontario, the nation’s most populated province, has the most abortion clinics in the country with a total of 23, according to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
Quebec has 12, Alberta and Manitoba have three, British Columbia has eight, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have five and the other provinces and territories have four or fewer abortion clinics.
– with files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly and Reuters
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