259504 Receiving versus being denied an abortion and subsequent drug use

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Sarah C. M. Roberts, DrPH , Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Corinne Rocca, PhD, MPH , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Diana Greene Foster, PhD , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Department of Ob/Gyn, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Some research finds women receiving abortions are at increased risk for subsequent drug use and drug use disorders. This literature is rife with methodological problems, mainly inappropriate comparison groups. This study uses data from the UCSF Turnaway Study, a prospective, longitudinal study of women who sought, but did not necessarily receive, abortions at 30 sites across the U.S.. The study includes women just above the gestational limit who were turned away from an abortion (Turnaway n=231), just below the limit who received an abortion (Abortion n=452), and who received a first trimester abortion (n=273). This study examines the relationship between receiving an abortion and subsequent drug use. Women receiving (Abortion) were compared to women denied abortions (Turnaways). Based on direction of findings from previous literature and expectation that women carrying pregnancies to term have extra incentive to stop use, we hypothesized that the Abortion group would have higher drug use than Turnaways. There were no differences in drug use before pregnancy recognition. 9% were using at one week, 8% at 6 months and at 1-year. More than half of drug users used marijuana only. Differences in drug use across study group were not statistically significant. Drug users carrying to term were more likely to surrender the child to adoption than women not using drugs (29% v. 7%). Findings suggest receiving abortion does not increase risk of drug use. Women denied abortions who use drugs and who want to raise their child may need additional support to stop drug use.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the lack of association between receipt of abortion and subsequent drug use. 2. Explain need for additional support for women denied abortions who are using drugs.

Keywords: Abortion, Drug Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the literature review and data analysis for this abstract. I conduct research about and have developed interventions for substance use among pregnant and parenting women.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.