The reversal of Roe in v. Wade, possibly predicted this week with the release of the Draft Supreme Court opinion, could have massive social and political implications. But, most importantly the ruling could quickly result in a tectonic shift regarding the well-being and health of birthing individuals as well as children throughout the United States.
We are aware of this because of the important research released in 2020, which compared the outcomes for women required to carry their pregnancies until the end of their lives as opposed to those who received abortions. The renowned Turnaway Study, as it’s generally referred to, showed that among other things women who were not allowed to have abortions suffered more severe pregnancies, suffered more chronic pain, and more short-term anxiety.
This Supreme Court’s ruling may not be final. Opinions are subject to several drafts. And theoretically, there are justices who might reconsider their opinions before making their final decision on Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
However, should the court make a decision along with the guidelines Justice Samuel Alito has drafted which was it was published in the last week of Politico the magazine the states of more than twenty are set to prohibit abortions in the majority of instances, with half of them already having “trigger law” already in their books(meaning abortion bans that could be in effect immediately should Roe were to be overturned)? In a flash, at the same moment, a medical procedure that has been protected under the constitution for more than half a century could be banned in more than half of the United States.
The exact impact of such a drastic reduction in access to abortion is hard to determine from our current moment in time. In some of these states, abortion availability has been reducing in the past since state lawmakers passed restrictions that aim to force clinics to shut down or at least, half-measures they could adopt until a majority of conservatives of the country’s highest court, which is the case in the present, decide to overturn Roe completely.
A lot of pregnant women rely on abortion pills that are available via mail as well as the Biden administration has committed to ensuring access to them (though states that oppose abortion have currently attempting to limit access to these medications). The women who are seeking abortions may decide to go to a different state in which abortion is legal, however, due to the cost of the procedure is likely to be more fortunate people that can benefit from this choice. However, both options can aid in limiting the effects of a ruling overturning the Roe decision.
It’s not a surprise that more unplanned pregnancies will be carried through should the court deny a constitutional right to have an abortion. Diana Greene Foster, a professor at the University of California San Francisco and the principal researcher of the Turnaway Study
examined the way women who had an abortion, and those who did not have an abortion were affected at this crucial point in their lives. around estimates that between one quarter and one-third of women with unwanted pregnancies will carry the child to term if Roe is struck down.
Foster and her coworkers have provided us with an enlightening understanding of the social, health, and economic implications of bans on abortion that are completely outright. Turnaway Study Turnaway Study began in 2007 and followed more than 1000 women over five years to examine the extent to which their lives were affected if at all through the offering or denial of the option of having an abortion. Certain women were able to have an abortion just after reaching the gestational limit established by their provider or state or provider, while some had reached the limit and had to be not allowed to have the option of abortion due to that. The different women’s experiences starting from that crucial point onward were the focus of this study. “We have no evidence that abortion is harmful to women.” Foster writes in the book titled “The Turnaway Study that included the findings of the study.
“For each outcome, we examined women who underwent abortions were in identical or, more often, more fortunate in comparison
to women who had the option of having an abortion.” Women who had an abortion improved right after the procedure more than women who refused an abortion. Their physical health was better over time. The children they had later developed were healthier.
Foster provides a nuanced and nuanced account she explains, for instance, that, after the five years of study, almost all women who carried an unwanted pregnancy stated that they wish they had taken an abortion. However, Foster isn’t ambiguous in her conclusion on what being denied abortion could mean for women who were involved: “We find many ways that women suffered when they carried an unplanned pregnancy through to the end of their lives.”
The most shocking and tragic result of the Turnaway Study was that two of the women lost their lives due to complications during childbirth. It was shocking to Foster who stated in her report that she “did not anticipate to see any maternal deaths in a study that included 1,000 women. “In the United States, the US mother-to-child mortality rate stands at 1.7 for every 10,000 people,
which implies that the chances of having two women per 1,000 being killed were very low.
Foster was cautious not to make a definitive statement on this result but wrote that a greater sample size is required to draw any definitive conclusions regarding the connection between being denied abortion and mortality among mothers. The implications remain bleak but: “This level of maternal mortality is alarming,” she wrote.
In the absence of death women who do not get the option of abortion have a higher chance suffer serious complications as compared to women who had an abortion. The Turnaway Study found that 6.3 percent of women who gave birth had life-threatening complications, compared to around one percent of those who underwent an abortion.
Women who did not have abortions also experienced an increased chance of having gestational hypertension which raises the risk of heart disease later on in the course. The study revealed it was 9.4 percent of mothers who had babies had hypertension during their pregnancy, compared to 4.2 percent of the women having abortions in the second trimester and 1.9 percent of women who had abortions in the first trimester?
Women who gave birth also had slightly more frequent chronic joint and head pain following the birth. In self-reported health, an indicator that has been shown to be an accurate indicator of the health of the future and mortality 27,4 percent of the mothers who brought their pregnancy until the end of their lives after having an abortion reported that they were in poor or fair health, compared with 21,01% of those who had second-trimester abortions, and 20 percent of women who had abortions in the initial trimester. “To the extent that there were different outcomes in the outcomes of health,” Foster wrote, “they were at the expense of mothers who had babies.”
Foster writes with a bit of snark regarding the arrogant attitude of legislators against abortion who have warned of serious psychological health effects as well as suicide in women who have abortions.
The study revealed the opposite truth: “We found no mental health impact caused by getting the abortion.”
Actually, the author explains in another article “The most frequent emotional reaction after having an abortion is that there’s no emotion.” About two-thirds of women who had abortions said they experienced no or no emotions following five years. 95% of women believed that the choice was the best choice to make for themselves, a proportion which grew gradually over five years. A mere 14 percent of women reported feeling sadness even after five years while only 17 percent reported they felt guilty.
Women who struggled with making a decision about having an abortion prior to having one were those who experienced the most negative feelings, as were women in areas that have a negative view of abortions and women who have lower social support.
The main mental health issue that the Turnaway Study measured was that women who were denied abortion were more likely to experience anxiety and self-esteem issues in the first few months and weeks following having been denied. Based on these metrics the women began to catch up with women who had abortions within six months. After one year, the disparities in the women from both groups had disappeared – Unsafe abortion
Similar to those who had abortions those who were not allowed to have them became happy with their choices, Foster noted. The percentage of women who would have liked to have had abortions dropped from 65 percent a week after they were denied an abortion to seven percent at the time of their child’s first birthday.
The study concluded that there were no significant differences over time among the two populations regarding the rate of depressive symptoms, PTSD as well as self-esteem happiness, addiction to drugs, and sexual abuse.
The consequences of not having access to abortions extended beyond women affected and their babies, both the ones already born as well as the ones born as a result of an unplanned pregnancy.
The majority of women who sought abortions as part of the Turnaway Study were already mothers and fathers, which is typically the situation in the United States. Being denied the procedure resulted in the mothers’ existing children being in a more uncertain environment in terms of their physical and financial health. These children are more likely to end up in poverty within the next 5 years (72 percent opposed to 55 percent of girls of the women that got their abortion of choice) and were more likely to reside with parents who struggled to pay for food or housing (86 percent against 70%).
The ripple effects are also evident in the relationships between women who had abortions denied and the children born of this unwanted pregnancy. They were also more likely to respond to questions from surveys in a manner that indicated that they were unable to emotionally bond with their newborn baby than women who had abortions and later had a second child later in their lives.
“Scientific research on child development has shown that there is a link between the lack of parental attachment to children’s psychological and developmental results,” Foster wrote.
The findings from the Turnaway Study add to that amount of research. Children that had mothers who did not have abortions did not reach the gross motor, fine motor, receptive,
self-help, expressive language, and social-emotional milestones at the right time as kids of
mothers who had an abortion. It was a minor but notable variation: 73 percent against 77.
Foster concluded her book by pondering the results of the Turnaway study as well as the possibilities of creating a future where Roe V. Wade was overturned which was a possibility at the time of the 2020 summer after Donald Trump named two highly conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In the investigations that comprised her and her coworkers’ important research, they found an enormous impact when abortions are not allowed. These aftershocks affected every area of the life of an individual.
In the event that you believe that the Supreme Court hands down the ruling outlined in Alito’s draft women in the United States will have to endure the consequences.
“For the women who suffer,” Foster wrote in what could prove to be the last chapter of Roe v. Wade, “all the issues outlined within this text — poorer physical health, lower goals for life, more risk of being a victim of domestic violence, more poverty, a decreased probability of having a desired pregnancy, as well as worse outcomes for their kids — could occur.”