As abortion access has grown increasingly more restricted across the country a new report has, for the first time, quantified what happens when women who need abortions are denied them. The answers are grim.
Researchers from the University of San Francisco, California launched the Global Turnaway Study that documented the experiences of women who were seeking to terminate a pregnancy but were turned away from abortion services. The study found these women were three times more likely than women who successfully obtained abortions to fall below the poverty live within the next two years. Other take-aways from the study include the findings that 76 percent of those who were turned away already received some form of public assistance and 67 percent of those turned away were below the poverty line. As summarized by i09:
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.
The study also failed to find a statistical correlation between abortion and drug use or abortion and clinical depression. Put another way, women who successfully obtained an abortion did not experience any negative emotional consequences stemming from the termination. Quite the opposite. According to the researchers, “One week after seeking abortion, 97 percent of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65 percent of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion.”
Anti-abortion activists have found great success in pushing abortion restrictions all designed to “help” women avoid abortion because, they claim, the trauma related to the procedure is simply too much for women to bear. Now we have quantifiable evidence that this is just not true. Of course, given the disdain for any facts or evidence that conflict with their religious world-view, there’s little reason this study will sway the minds of most anti-choice advocates. But it will undoubtedly help women’s rights activists looking to change the narrative on how best to aid and empower women.
Photo from bsabarnowl via flickr.