A tip of the hat to my buddy Benjamin Kraft of Life Advancement Group for today’s topic. Life Advancement Group helps pregnancy resource centers with Google search advertising, so it’s no surprise that Benjamin would be on top of Google Trends. And wouldn’t you know it: abortion is a very hot topic in the U.S. right now:
I’ve added a few labels for ease of reference. Point A is the most recent data: January-February 2019. What could have caused a surge in searches for abortion? I can think of no better explanation than the extreme New York and Virginia legislation easing restrictions on late-term abortions, and the federal infanticide vote that followed.
Point B is the next most recent significant spike: January 22-28, 2017. That coincided with President Trump delivering a video message to the March for Life as one of his first acts in office; Vice President Pence delivering a speech to the March for Life in person; and the controversial decision by the inaugural Women’s March to give pro-life sponsors like New Wave Feminists the boot, which was pilloried by Saturday Night Live, of all things.
We have to go all the way back to October 2008 (Point C) to find a similar level of interest in abortion. That was just before the Obama/McCain contest, and there were also several state-level ballot initiatives on life issues in that election.
But to see abortion trend higher than it did at the start of 2019, we have to go even further back, to November 2004. That, too, was almost certainly election-driven; George W. Bush defeated John Kerry, and I’m told that the federal partial-birth abortion ban, passed the previous year, was still a big topic of conversation. (Bear in mind that I was a high school student in November 2004, so it’s entirely possible that I’m missing something. If so, let me know in the comments.)
The bottom line is that, at least by Google Trends’ reckoning, interest in abortion is at a 15-year high. The debate over late-term abortion is clearly engaging people. That’s a great sign for the pro-life movement. If I were part of the abortion lobby, I would be worried.