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What happens to women denied abortions? This is the first scientific study to find out.

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Abortion is a hotly debated and poorly studied medical procedure. There are a fewstudies of dubious validity that connect abortion to mental illness and drug use. Politicians have used these studies to justify greater limitations on women seeking abortion in the United States.

There has been no sustained effort to study what happens to women who want abortions but can't get them due to restrictive rules. Until now. These women are called turnaways. A new longitudinal study reveals what happens to their economic position, health, and relationship status after seeking an abortion and being denied it.

AP Photo by Peter Morrison

Public health researchers with the UC San Francisco group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) used data from 956 women who sought abortions at 30 different abortion clinics around the U.S. 182 of them were turned away. The researchers, led by Diana Greene Foster, followed and did intensive interviews with these women, who ran the gamut of abortion experiences. Some obtained abortions easily, for some it was a struggle to get them, and some were denied abortions because their pregnancies had lasted a few days beyond the gestational limits of their local clinics. Two weeks ago, the research group presented what they'd learned after two years of the planned five-year, longitudinal "Turnaway Study" at the recent American Public Health Association conference in San Francisco.

Here's the short version of what they discovered, from a post they made on the Global Turnaway Study Facebook page:

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.

Below, you can find the longer, more complex version of the story. I spoke with Foster about the groups' preliminary findings.

Poverty

The women in the Turnaway Study were in comparable economic positions at the time they sought abortions. 45% were on public assistance and two-thirds had household incomes below the federal poverty level. One of the main reasons women cite for wanting to abort is money, and based on the outcomes for the turnaways, it seems they are right.

Most of the women who were denied an abortion, 86%, were living with their babies a year later. Only 11% had put them up for adoption. Also a year later, they were far more likely to be on public assistance — 76% of the turnaways were on the dole, as opposed to 44% of those who got abortions. 67% percent of the turnaways were below the poverty line (vs. 56% of the women who got abortions), and only 48% had a full time job (vs. 58% of the women who got abortions).

When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line. Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers' increased reliance on public assistance programs.

Violence and Drug Use

In the Turnaway Study, the researchers could find no statistically significant differences in drug use between women who get abortions and women who don't. There appears to be no correlation between abortion and increased drug use. One interesting bit of data they did find was that drug users who couldn't get abortions were more likely to give their babies up for adoption.

Unfortunately, when it comes to domestic violence, being denied an abortion makes a really big difference. Turnaways were more likely to stay in a relationship with an abusive partner than women who got abortions. A year after being denied an abortion, 7% reported an incident of domestic violence in the last six months. 3% of women who received abortions reported domestic violence in the same time period. Foster emphasized that this wasn't because the turnaways were more likely to get into abusive relationships. It was simply that getting abortions allowed women to get out of such relationships more easily. So it's likely that these numbers actually reflect a dropoff in domestic violence for women who get abortions, rather than a rise among turnaways.

This pattern of violence is also part of a larger pattern that shows turnaways are more likely to remain connected to the fathers of their children. Obviously, this isn't always a good thing, as the violence statistics reveal. But even in the vast majority of cases where violence isn't involved, Foster noted that these men aren't living with the turnaways. The researchers asked women about cohabiting with partners, and found that men were no more likely to live with a turnaway who'd borne their children than they were to live with a woman who had an abortion. "The man doesn't stick around just because you have the baby — that's the crude way of putting it," Foster said.

Emotions

One of the biggest concerns about abortion is that it causes emotional problems that lead to clinical depression. The Turnaway Study looked at that question from two angles: how did turnaways and women who got abortions feel; and did they become clinically depressed. "It's important to remember that how you feel is a separate question from whether you have a mental health problem," Foster said. We'll look at women's emotions here, and discuss mental health in the next section.

As the researchers said at the American Public Health Association Meeting, "One week after seeking abortion, 97% of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65% of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion." Also one week after being denied an abortion, turnaways told the researchers that they had more feelings of anxiety than the women who had abortions. Women who had abortions overwhelming reported feeling relieved (90%), though many also felt sad and guilty afterwards. All of these feelings faded naturally over time in both groups, however. A year later, there were no differences in anxiety or depression between the two groups.

In other words, the Turnaway Study found no indication that there were lasting, harmful negative emotions associated with getting an abortion. The only emotional difference between the two groups at one year was that the turnaways were more stressed. They were more likely to say that they felt like they had more to do than they could get done.

None of this translated into clinical depression. "Abortion and depression don't seem directly linked," Foster said. "We'll continue to follow these women for five years, though. So we might find something else down the line."

Physical and Mental Health

The Turnaway Study found no indication that abortion could be linked with increased mental health disorders. There were no statistical differences between turnaways and women who had abortions when it came to developing clinical depression.

But turnaways did face a greater health risk from giving birth. Even late stage abortions are safer than giving birth. The researchers said at the APHA meeting:

We find physical health complications are more common and severe following birth (38% experience limited activity, average 10 days) compared to abortion (24% limited activity, average 2.7 days). There were no severe complications after abortion; after birth complications included seizure, fractured pelvis, infection and hemorrhage. We find no differences in chronic health conditions at 1 week or one year after seeking abortion.

If you look at all this data together, a new picture emerges of abortion and how the state might want to handle it. To prevent women from having to rely on public assistance, abortions should be made more widely available. In addition, there is strong evidence that making abortions available will allow women to be healthier, with brighter economic outlooks. By turning women away when they seek abortions, we risk keeping both women and their children in poverty — and, possibly, in harm's way from domestic violence.

Learn more about these studies from the abstracts of the American Public Health Association panels here and here.

The Turnaway Study was funded entirely through donations. If you would like to support more research into the lives of turnaways around the world, please consider donating to the Global Turnaway Study on Indie GoGo.

http://io9.com/5958187/what-happens-to-women-denied-abortions-this-is-the-first-scientific-study-to-find-out

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Replies (111-120):
survivorinohio
by René on Nov. 15, 2012 at 10:48 AM

What about quality of life?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 

Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.



How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Intentional density doesn't excuse rudeness or intentional painful jabs at the expense of other human beings.

But you enjoy playing stupid because you think it excuses the awful things you say and mean to the people around you. No wonder you are online looking for new people to insult as you have likely driven off every person around you who had the means to get away in real life. I understand you want to drive people away so they don't get a chance to leave you and I'm sure they will leave because of you. I'm sure it is where the daddy issues come in.


See what that was? There was no reason for me to start popping below the belt at you just like you had no reason to go off on her. It can be thrown back after you sling it so be careful with your weapons

The term "contents" is a medical term. It has no meaning of anything for anyone other than "contents". I'm sure you want the medical term to be changed to "much loved, living miracle from god" but that term will not be accurate for everything in the uterus, y'know, the "contents" which could include said fetus, placenta, maybe even a cyst or something awful, which is why it's called contents instead of baby. Now get over yourself or we will.
Quoting macbudsmom:

lol classy

I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of you pro-choice mamas.  The life is valuable if it's wanted.  However, if the life is inconvenient/unwanted, then it means nothing and can be sucked down a sink without another thought.


Quoting frogbender:

You are a cunt.




Quoting macbudsmom:

Your unborn children were nothing but "contents."  They meant nothing.  They had no value. 

This is what the pro-choice movement is saying.  Not me.  If you truly value those children you lost to miscarriage, honor them by supporting unborn life and stop referring to them as contents of a uterus.

I hope you will ponder this and see the mockery you are making of your loss and do something about it.




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macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:03 AM

No one knows the future.  We can not say that the aborted child would have had a poor quality of life.  We simply don't know that.  Therefore, life must be valued regardless of what may or may not happen in the future.

Quoting survivorinohio:

What about quality of life?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 

Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.




LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Why?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 


Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.


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macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Without life, no other rights matter.

Quoting LucyMom08:

Why?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 


Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.



survivorinohio
by René on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I can say that as a teen mom who did not abort that the quality of life we faced was low.  I had no family support and my children were subjected to horrific abuse both first and secondhand.

You cant say and you dont know.  I dont like abortion but I see why people choose it.  I thought it was horrible back then and wouldnt have considered it but today I know that a lot of pain would have been avoided.  My children still carry that pain and my baby is 28.  We really dont know so we should refrain from speaking so strongly on the matter. 

Quoting macbudsmom:

No one knows the future.  We can not say that the aborted child would have had a poor quality of life.  We simply don't know that.  Therefore, life must be valued regardless of what may or may not happen in the future.

Quoting survivorinohio:

What about quality of life?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 

Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.





How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

But the fact that you did not abort them, is not what caused their suffering.  Guessing crappy people in your life, caused their suffering. 

I am sorry for what you and your children went through.  Even though the pain is still there I hope each of you is finding some peace and joy in your lives.

Quoting survivorinohio:

I can say that as a teen mom who did not abort that the quality of life we faced was low.  I had no family support and my children were subjected to horrific abuse both first and secondhand.

You cant say and you dont know.  I dont like abortion but I see why people choose it.  I thought it was horrible back then and wouldnt have considered it but today I know that a lot of pain would have been avoided.  My children still carry that pain and my baby is 28.  We really dont know so we should refrain from speaking so strongly on the matter. 

Quoting macbudsmom:

No one knows the future.  We can not say that the aborted child would have had a poor quality of life.  We simply don't know that.  Therefore, life must be valued regardless of what may or may not happen in the future.

Quoting survivorinohio:

What about quality of life?

Quoting macbudsmom:

I disagree.  The right to life trumps any other rights. 

Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting macbudsmom:


it isn't that anyone doesn't value life. Some dont see the fetus as a life and people like me think it doesn't matter. It may be a life or it may not be, but we recognize that by not allowing abortion you are telling the woman that owns the body that her unborn hold has more rights and ownership over her body than she does. The baby is living off of her and it isn't right to force her to continue giving up what is hers to support someone else. SHe has the right whether she chose the pregnancy initially or not.






GotSomeKids
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Yes.  It is very complicated. I do believe when your feeling guilt after all those years, it does affect your mental health, even if it isn't organtically a mental issue, thus making it a mental consequence (to use your term).

I completely understand guilt being a normal feeling.  I feel guilty sleeping in during the week.  But, I don't feel that guilt for 10-15 years afterwards.  If your feeling guilt that long, then where is the relief?

I know everyone is different and there is a lot that comes into play with how you approach and deal with the situation.

:)

Quoting jessilin0113:

Is guilt really a mental health consequence?  I'm thinking that's probably a fairly normal reaction.  I know two people that got abortions, and while they feel some guilt, they also overwhelmingly feel relief as well.  It's a complicated topic, people can run the gamut of emotions.

Quoting GthotSomeKids:

I don't know a whole lot of people who have had abortions (or admit to it), but of the ones I do know, every one of them harbor quite a bit of guilt 10-15 years later.

Quoting gammie:

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

BULL SHIT!! 

I grew up in the 70's and all the girls that went to free clinic and had their aboration  told me when they had a baby they think about the one they killed! Most say they wish they would of kept the baby! 

Only one told me that at 15 her parents would of killed her, they are into what would people think! So she had no regrets tell it took a long time to get pregnant as a adult, she is in her late 30's.

This my expeirance yours might be different.




jessilin0113
by Platinum Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I'm just saying guilt, most likely, isn't going to be the ONLY reaction they will ever have. You can gave multiple feelings about something. I'm getting divorced and I'm feeling apprehensive, relieved, excited, and sad all at the same time. My friend got an abortion just recently. She has four kids already, one if whom is the product of rape. I imagine she'll feel bad and sad for the rest of her life, but she's also in a terrible marriage and has no income of her own, so even 15 years down the road, she may, even probably, will feel guilt, ut also feel relieved, happy even, that she made tell best choice at the time for her and her family.


Quoting GotSomeKids:

Yes.  It is very complicated. I do believe when your feeling guilt after all those years, it does affect your mental health, even if it isn't organtically a mental issue, thus making it a mental consequence (to use your term).

I completely understand guilt being a normal feeling.  I feel guilty sleeping in during the week.  But, I don't feel that guilt for 10-15 years afterwards.  If your feeling guilt that long, then where is the relief?

I know everyone is different and there is a lot that comes into play with how you approach and deal with the situation.

:)

Quoting jessilin0113:

Is guilt really a mental health consequence?  I'm thinking that's probably a fairly normal reaction.  I know two people that got abortions, and while they feel some guilt, they also overwhelmingly feel relief as well.  It's a complicated topic, people can run the gamut of emotions.


Quoting GthotSomeKids:

I don't know a whole lot of people who have had abortions (or admit to it), but of the ones I do know, every one of them harbor quite a bit of guilt 10-15 years later.

Quoting gammie:

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

BULL SHIT!! 

I grew up in the 70's and all the girls that went to free clinic and had their aboration  told me when they had a baby they think about the one they killed! Most say they wish they would of kept the baby! 

Only one told me that at 15 her parents would of killed her, they are into what would people think! So she had no regrets tell it took a long time to get pregnant as a adult, she is in her late 30's.

This my expeirance yours might be different.





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GotSomeKids
by Silver Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Yep complicated.

Quoting jessilin0113:

I'm just saying guilt, most likely, isn't going to be the ONLY reaction they will ever have. You can gave multiple feelings about something. I'm getting divorced and I'm feeling apprehensive, relieved, excited, and sad all at the same time. My friend got an abortion just recently. She has four kids already, one if whom is the product of rape. I imagine she'll feel bad and sad for the rest of her life, but she's also in a terrible marriage and has no income of her own, so even 15 years down the road, she may, even probably, will feel guilt, ut also feel relieved, happy even, that she made tell best choice at the time for her and her family.


Quoting GotSomeKids:

Yes.  It is very complicated. I do believe when your feeling guilt after all those years, it does affect your mental health, even if it isn't organtically a mental issue, thus making it a mental consequence (to use your term).

I completely understand guilt being a normal feeling.  I feel guilty sleeping in during the week.  But, I don't feel that guilt for 10-15 years afterwards.  If your feeling guilt that long, then where is the relief?

I know everyone is different and there is a lot that comes into play with how you approach and deal with the situation.

:)

Quoting jessilin0113:

Is guilt really a mental health consequence?  I'm thinking that's probably a fairly normal reaction.  I know two people that got abortions, and while they feel some guilt, they also overwhelmingly feel relief as well.  It's a complicated topic, people can run the gamut of emotions.


Quoting GthotSomeKids:

I don't know a whole lot of people who have had abortions (or admit to it), but of the ones I do know, every one of them harbor quite a bit of guilt 10-15 years later.

Quoting gammie:

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

BULL SHIT!! 

I grew up in the 70's and all the girls that went to free clinic and had their aboration  told me when they had a baby they think about the one they killed! Most say they wish they would of kept the baby! 

Only one told me that at 15 her parents would of killed her, they are into what would people think! So she had no regrets tell it took a long time to get pregnant as a adult, she is in her late 30's.

This my expeirance yours might be different.






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