“If you read only one book about democracy, The Turnaway Study should be it. Why? Because without the power to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy.” —Gloria Steinem
The “remarkable” (The New Yorker) landmark study of the consequences on women’s lives—emotional, physical, financial, professional, personal, and psychological—of receiving versus being denied an abortion that “should be required reading for every judge, member of Congress, and candidate for office—as well as anyone who hopes to better understand this complex and important issue” (Cecile Richards).
What happens when a woman seeking an abortion is turned away? To answer this question, Diana Greene Foster assembled a team of scientists—psychologists, epidemiologists, demographers, nurses, physicians, economists, sociologists, and public health researchers—to conduct a ten-year study. They followed a thousand women from across America, some of whom received abortions, some of whom were turned away. Now, for the first time, Dr. Foster presents the results of this landmark study in one extraordinary, groundbreaking book.
Judges, politicians, and pro-life advocates routinely defend their anti-abortion stance by claiming that abortion is physically risky and leads to depression and remorse. Dr. Foster’s data proves the opposite to be true. Foster documents the outcomes for women who received and were denied an abortion, analyzing the impact on their mental and physical health, their careers, their romantic relationships, and their other children, if they have them. Women who received an abortion were better off by almost every measure than women who did not, and five years after they receive an abortion, 99 percent of women do not regret it.
As the national debate around abortion intensifies, The Turnaway Study offers the first thorough, data-driven examination of the negative consequences for women who cannot get abortions and provides incontrovertible evidence to refute the claim that abortion harms women. Interwoven with the study findings are ten “engaging, in-depth” (Ms. Magazine) first-person narratives. Candid, intimate, and deeply revealing, they bring to life the women and the stories behind the science.
Revelatory, essential, and “particularly relevant now” (HuffPost), this is a must-read for anyone who cares about the impact of abortion and abortion restrictions on people’s lives.
Foster, a demographer and reproductive sciences professor at UC San Francisco, presents the findings from her decade-long study into the psychological and health affects of having an abortion in this illuminating, data-centric debut. Based on twice-yearly phone interviews with 1,000 women recruited from 30 abortion clinics in 21 states, Foster and her research team found that "women who received an abortion were either the same, or, more frequently, better off than women who were denied an abortion." Foster scrutinizes several factors in these women's lives, including their access to contraception, employment record, education level, financial situation, physical health, relationship status, and the well-being of children born either before or after they sought the abortion. She ends each chapter with in-depth first-person testimonials from women in the study, detailing their experiences of either ending an unwanted pregnancy or carrying it to term. Packed with informative charts and graphs, detailed discussions of state laws restricting abortion access, and thorough demographic analysis, Foster's clearheaded account cuts through the noise surrounding this contentious issue. Policy makers and abortion rights activists should consider it a must-read.