Worldwide, Ghana and Nigeria have the highest online search interest in abortion pills, a new BBC analysis reveals.
The report says in addition to online searches, women use apps like WhatsApp and other technology platforms to buy pills and share medical advice.
Global online searches on abortion pills have more than doubled since 2008, the report notes. And in countries where abortion is illegal, the percentage is higher.
In Ghana, abortions are only allowed in the event of rape, incest, or serious medical complications.
Nigeria carries a firmer law: termination of pregnancy is only allowed under life-threatening situations. Illegal abortion in the country carries a 14-year jail sentence.
The stringent laws are partly why women perform abortions themselves, coining the term, “DIY (do it yourself) abortion.”
The DIY procedure is two-pronged: surgical and medical, the report says.
The medical method involves taking multiple pills: Misoprostol and Mifeprostone.
Google data obtained by BBC show “How to use Misoprostol,” “Misoprostol price,” “buy Misoprostol” and “Misoprostol dosage” were among the top terms used when inquiring about abortion methods.
Globally, 25% of the population live in countries with severe abortion laws; they are mostly in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
In Europe, Poland remained the only country on the continent that did not allow abortion, but they repealed that law last month.
“Legalization of abortion can prevent the unnecessary suffering and deaths of women,” Women on Web, an online female advocacy group wrote in a report. “Restrictive abortion laws violate women’s human rights based on agreements made at the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
But United Families International, a pro-life nonprofit organization argues that “Reverence for life — including that of the unborn — is an essential part of the basis for peace in the world and goodwill among nations, and is part of the fabric of successful and happy families. Defenceless preborn children are full members of the human family and deserve legal protection.
Approximately 25 million unsafe abortions occur annually, the United Nations cautions.