Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Abortion Denial Increases Short-Term Anxiety, Depression

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Abortion Denial Increases Short-Term Anxiety, Depression

Article excerpt


WOMEN DENIED AN ABORTION appear to experience more psychological problems in the short term, compared with women who are able to access the procedure, according to findings published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The prospective, longitudinal Turnaway Study involved regular follow-up telephone interviews of 956 women recruited from 30 abortion facilities in 21 states. Of these women, 273 received abortions in the first trimester, 452 received abortions just under the facility's gestational limit, 161 sought an abortion but were turned away because they were just past the limit and later gave birth (turnaway-births), and 70 were turned away but either miscarried or obtained an abortion elsewhere (turnaway-no-births).

At 1 week after seeking an abortion, women denied an abortion reported significantly more anxiety symptoms (turnaway-births, coefficient 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 1.13; turnaway-no-births, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.39 to 3.18) and lower self-esteem (turnaway-births, -0.33; 95% CI, -0.56 to -0.09; turnaway-no-births, -0.40; 95% CI, -0.78 to -0.02), compared with women who received abortions near the gestational limit.

Similarly, women denied abortions experienced lower life satisfaction at 1 week (turnaway-births, -0.16; 95% CI, -0.38 to 0.06; turnaway-no-births, -0.41; 95% CI, -0.77 to -0.06).

The study found that levels of depression were similar between the abortion and no-abortion groups in the first week, and depression levels also declined significantly over time in all groups except among women who were turned away for an abortion and later gave birth (JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Dec 14. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3478).

"Our findings add to the body of evidence rejecting the notion that abortion increases women's risk of experiencing adverse psychological outcomes," wrote M. …

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