Dr. Ben Reis and Dr. John Brownstein of Children’s Hospital Boston Infomatics Program reviewed the abortion rates and policies in 50 states and 37 countries and compared the information against the number of Internet searches for the word “abortion.”
They found more searches in states and countries with more restrictive policies or less access to abortion and lower abortion rates.
“In places where abortion access is readily available, people can go to their mainstream health care providers,” Reis suggested. In areas with more abortion searches, he said, “people may be going on the Internet to find alternate routes.”
He said the pattern was found in every state and country studied.
“We were actually very surprised. There is a very consistant, strong relationship,” Reis said.
The study was published today in the medical journal BMC Public Health.