A groundbreaking study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco sheds light on the long-term adverse effects of unwanted pregnancies on people’s lives, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the constitutional right to abortion will present wide-ranging challenges.
UCSF’s landmark Turnaway study found that when interviewed over the next five years, more than 95 percent of people who chose abortion reported that it was the right decision for them. Study participants also had no evidence of mental health problems following abortion. However, those who are beyond gestation and unable to have an abortion experience adverse effects such as severe physical and mental health challenges, financial hardship, lack of support and insecurities.
The study also found that those who sought and received abortions were more financially stable, set more ambitious life goals, raised children in more stable conditions, and were more likely to have a desired child later in life.
“This study is very important,” said Diana GreenforsterPh.D., a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, led the study. “It provides evidence on the impact of abortion on people’s health and well-being.”
Foster is a demographer and research director at UCSF Advancing New Standards for Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) The program added that while more than 50 scientific papers have been published as a result of this research, her own award-winning book on the research, and the research that forms the basis of legal briefings at the Supreme Court and elsewhere, there is a national conversation. Still stuck on ideological and political considerations.
“Few of the debates about abortion focus on what happens to pregnant women,” she said. “It’s an abstract moral issue that everyone else is weighing without considering why someone would have an abortion when they wanted it — and what would happen to them and their lives when they couldn’t.”
Abortion leads to better outcomes, study shows
In the Turnaway study, researchers followed 1,000 women from 30 centers across the country for five years — some of whom were a few days below the clinic’s pregnancy limit and thus able to receive an abortion, while others were a few days above the limit. days, hence the abortion. refuse abortion.
Among those who were denied abortion, the study found that individuals reported more life-threatening complications after the pregnancy ended, such as eclampsia and infections. In the long run, those who were denied an abortion and subsequently delivered reported poorer health and more chronic pain than those who were able to terminate the pregnancy.
The study also found negative effects on children born to unwanted pregnancies, including poorer maternal relationships and financial insecurity. These parents were also more likely to raise their children alone, without the support of family members or partners, and were more likely to remain in contact with an abusive partner.
In addition, people who cannot have an abortion are three times more likely to be unemployed than those who can. They were four times more likely to live below the federal poverty line, were more likely to report being unable to cover basic living needs, and were more likely to participate in food assistance or other public safety net programs, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
Foster said her goal with the pivot study was to provide much-needed data on the impact of abortion on people’s well-being. She noted that her earlier research on contraception led to wider adoption of birth control, which undoubtedly helped prevent many abortions.
“My agenda is to figure out whether abortion causes mental health harm, and whether abortion affects people’s well-being,” Foster said.
However, she noted, “after the Turnaway study, it is difficult to remain neutral on the topic of a person’s right to choose an abortion, as it is clearly associated with better outcomes for families and children.”
Assessing Post-Roy America’s Impact
When the Supreme Court’s draft opinion on Roe leaked in May — opening up the possibility that abortion could actually be illegal in 26 states — Foster felt a new sense of urgency about her next study, which The impact of Roe’s end on people will be documented. A country that bans abortion. A team of researchers from ANSIRH is now launching the study.
I think access to safe abortion care is definitely a public health issue. This is also a fundamental human rights issue.
“We’re going to recruit those whose appointments were canceled, as well as those who last served in their state. We’re going to track them through self-directed interviews every two months for two years,” Foster said.
Foster noted that this upcoming study will ask very different questions than steering studies. “It’s about who has access to safe abortion, even if it’s illegal. How much help do people need? Who’s stuck despite getting help? Who’s doing dangerous things? Where do people get reliable information? crowd?”
As the impact of the Roe v. Wade reversal unfolds across the country, Foster and her colleagues will pay particular attention to the situation of the most vulnerable, including minors and those with low incomes, disabilities and other health conditions – in In other words, those who are least able to circumvent the laws of their home country. Whether Roe’s end will exacerbate inequality depends on whether these people have access to safe abortion drugs or travel to 16 states and Washington, D.C., which have constitutional or statutory protections for abortion rights.
“We don’t know who will end up getting pregnant to term because some people in the middle of the red state will find a way to travel hundreds of miles, or get an abortion by ordering pills online,” Foster said. “And we don’t know who can. Access this information and be able to travel, who can’t.”
Advocating for reproductive health options
UCSF has long advocated for reproductive health care, including The right to choose an abortion, even before Roe v. Wade became law in 1973. Leaders continue to provide those seeking safe abortion services with evidence about the need and benefits of accessing safe abortion services. UCSF is also ready to help people get the reproductive health care they need Post Roy America.
Due to his leadership in reproductive health, Daniel GrossmanM.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF, and director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program, has been named a 2022 Faculty Recipient of the President’s Award for Public Service.
“The research we’re doing will ultimately change practice, change policy and make a difference for people,” Grossman said. “I think access to safe abortion care is definitely a public health issue. It’s also a fundamental human rights issue.”
In message to UCSF community about Supreme Court ruling, chancellor Sam HogoodMBBS said the ruling “is in stark contrast to our belief that everyone has a fundamental right to make informed decisions about their health care.”
“UCSF can play a very important role,” Grossman said. “I’m really excited to work at an agency that is brave and standing up in this space, and will be a loud, evidence-based voice for freedom of choice.”