Skip to main content

UCI-led research found internet searches increased for self-managed abortions when Roe v. Wade was overturned

Posted: 2023-09-11

Source: UCI School of Medicine
News Type: 

“We could see a return to injuries and even death due to women trying to give themselves an abortion,” said Carrie Chandwani, MD, associate clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCI School of Medicine. (Pictured from left) Carrie Chandwani, MD, Lidia Flores, PhD student, Department of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, and Sean Young, PhD, lead principal investigator and professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics.

Steve Zylius

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 11, 2023 – UCI researcher, Sean Young, PhD, professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCI School of Medicine and the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, along with colleagues, have found that internet searches for how to give yourself an abortion, have increased since Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

The study, Internet Searches for Self-Managed Abortions After Roe v Wade Overturn, published in JAMA Surgery presents an analysis of Google search results regarding self-abortion, and details the states with the highest search percentage.

“We found an increased number of searches in states where abortion had recently become illegal, suggesting that a lot of people in these states are trying to learn how to give themselves abortions instead of going to the doctor,” said Dr. Young, lead principal investigator of the study. “This has implications for increased emergency department visits for self-managed abortions in these states.”

According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, after Roe v. Wade was overturned, people in states where abortion is prohibited say it would be difficult to obtain an abortion, an increase of 21 points from a 2019 survey.

“Emergency medicine providers need to be prepared for any potential increase in injuries, complications or even deaths associated with self-managed abortion techniques,” said Carrie Chandwani, MD, associate clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

This data could also cause increased problems for Black women who already face challenges with accessing quality healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-Hispanic Black women receive abortions at a higher rate than non-Hispanic or White women.

“Online search results may return unsafe home remedies that could have life-threatening consequences for women who seek to self-manage an abortion,” said Lidia Flores, PhD student in the Department of Informatics.

This study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.  

About the UCI School of Medicine

Each year, the UCI School of Medicine educates more than 400 medical students and nearly 150 PhD and MS students. More than 700 residents and fellows are trained at the UCI Medical Center and affiliated institutions. Multiple MD, PhD and MS degrees are offered. Students are encouraged to pursue an expansive range of interests and options. For medical students, there are numerous concurrent dual degree programs, including an MD/MBA, MD/MPH, or an MD/MS degree through one of three mission-based programs: the Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM), the Program in Medical Education for Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (PRIME LEAD-ABC), and the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). The UCI School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Accreditation and ranks among the top 50 nationwide for research. For more information, visit