Dr. Julia Steinberg, assistant professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, published a commentary about a new study examining women’s feelings five years following an abortion in Social Science & Medicine.
The study, conducted by researchers with the Turnaway study at the University of California, San Fransisco, found no evidence that women regretted their decision to have a first-trimester abortion, even five years later.
Dr. Steinberg said the research goes further than previous studies, as it is a larger, more diverse sample — 667 women from 21 states — and it followed the participants for longer. Though 27 percent of participants said the decision to get an abortion was a “difficult” one, and another 27 percent said the decision was “somewhat difficult,” 95 percent of participants believed they’d made the right decision at the time, and 99 percent felt like it was the right decision five years later.
The women reported that both positive and negative feelings about their abortion diminished overtime.
“These results and others from studies conducted globally counter assertions by abortion opponents that women are not certain of their decisions,” Dr. Steinberg said in her commentary, “or that women regret or have negative emotions about their abortions if not in the short run then after a long period of time.”
Because the notion that women feel sadness or guilt after an abortion is used to justify abortion laws in 12 states, this new research should be used to inform public policy, Dr. Steinberg says. Many states require returning to the clinic twice or waiting periods, but Dr. Steinberg says there is no evidence that these practices help make the decision to have an abortion easier.
“Relief is the most common emotion felt by women,” Dr. Steinberg said.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 24