142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Utah's 72 hour abortion waiting period: Attitudes and experiences of women seeking abortions

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Elise Belusa, MSc , University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Sarah Combellick, MPH , Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
David Turok, MD, MPH , Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH , Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
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
Utah is one of two states in the country that requires a 72-hour waiting period after receiving in-person, state-mandated information in order to obtain an abortion. Little is known about what women think about these restrictions on abortion. We conducted telephone interviews with women three weeks after they presented for the abortion information visit in Utah. Based on analyses of preliminary data from 89 women completing interviews, most (80%) reported that waiting 72 hours did not change how certain they were about their decisions and fewer than 5% said it made them less certain. The vast majority (84%) felt that having to wait 72 hours was not helpful for themselves, as they had already made their decision when they first called for their appointment. More than half reported having to take extra time off work (53%) or having to spend more money (61%) because of the requirement of two in-person visits. Notably, a substantial minority felt that the waiting period (32%) and two-visit requirements (30%) would help other women, and only 19% believed that women should NOT be required to listen to the mandatory information before getting an abortion. Findings indicate that most women do not find the waiting period helpful and experience additional financial burdens as a result of the two-visit requirement. Despite their own experiences, many women believed Utah’s waiting period, two-visit requirement, and mandatory information requirements help other women.  Further research is needed to assess whether these findings are generalizable to other states with 72-hour waiting periods.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the requirements and objectives of Utah’s 72 hour waiting period law. Discuss women’s self-reports of the impact of Utah’s 72 hour waiting period law. Compare the differences between women’s reported opinions about the waiting period, the two visit requirement, and the state-mandated information.

Keyword(s): Abortion, Regulations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Elise Belusa is a Research Manager for the Evaluation of Abortion Restrictions Project at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco. She has a Masters in Science from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her studies and work have focused on Reproductive and Sexual Health research in Kenya, Senegal, Indonesia, and throughout the United States. Currently, her work at ANSIRH focuses primarily on abortion regulations.
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.

Back to: 3062.0: Abortion at the state level