According to a global report, Ghana together with Nigeria topped online global search for abortion pill Misoprostol the last decade.
Per a report derived from Google data, Ghanaians and Nigerians are the world’s leading abortion pill searchers.
These reports also suggest that in countries where abortion laws are more restrictive, there is greater search interest in abortion pills. By buying pills online and sharing medical advice through WhatsApp groups, women are increasingly turning to technology to sidestep legal barriers to abortion.
It was discovered that at least 22,800 women die each year from complications of unsafe abortion, the Guttmacher Institute reported. This is the modern face of the so-called Do It Yourself abortion (DIY abortion). BBC analysis of Google searches shows that countries with the strictest laws, where abortion is allowed only to save a woman’s life or banned altogether, have over 10 times higher search interest in abortion pill Misoprostol compared to countries with no restrictions.
About 14% of all abortions were “least safe”, which means they were provided by untrained persons using dangerous methods, such as the introduction of foreign objects and use of herbal concoctions. Ghana only allows abortions in cases of rape, incest, foetal impairment or to preserve a woman’s mental health.
Nigeria is stricter still: abortion is only allowed in situations where a woman’s life is in danger. Of the 25 countries with highest search interest in Misoprostol, 11 are in Africa and 14 in Latin America. All but two, Zambia and Mozambique either ban abortions altogether or allow them only to save a woman’s life or health.
The findings also suggest that in countries where abortion laws are more restrictive, there is greater search interest in abortion pills. By buying pills online and sharing medical advice through WhatsApp groups, women are increasingly turning to technology to sidestep legal barriers to abortion.
There are two main methods of inducing abortion; surgical and medical. A medical abortion typically involves taking a combination of pills, Misoprostol and Mifeprostone, to induce a miscarriage. Misoprostol can also go by brand names like Cytotec.
While women in countries such as the UK will be prescribed this combination by a doctor, women searching for and purchasing the pills online in countries where access to abortion is restricted are often breaking the law, risking severe punishments.