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263888 Mental health and physical health consequences of abortion compared to unwanted birth
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM
The Turnaway Study is a five-year prospective longitudinal study which aims to understand the effect of abortion on women's lives. Women were recruited from 30 abortion clinics across the country where no clinic nearby performs procedures at a later gestation. The study includes women just above the gestational limit who were denied an abortion (n=231), women just below the limit who received an abortion (n=452), and women who received a first trimester abortion (n=273). This analysis presents the mental and physical health consequences of receiving or being denied an abortion.
One week after receiving or being denied an abortion, women denied an abortion had significantly higher anxiety than women who received the abortion. At one year there were no differences in anxiety or depression. However, women who gave birth were more likely to report feeling that they have more to do than they can get done.
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.
Contrary to assertions of a post-abortion trauma syndrome, receiving an abortion does not increase the incidence of mental health disorders compared to having an unwanted birth. Consistent with the medical literature, birth presents more physical health risks than terminating a pregnancy.
Learning Areas:Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the study. I designed and led the implementation. I am taking a lead on the analysis.
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.