The Turnaway Study in Perspectives

A prospective longitudinal study launched by researchers in California in 2008 took an innovative approach to examining the effects on women of unwanted childbearing. The Turnaway Study, which recruited participants from clinics throughout the United States, includes both women who had an abortion to end an unintended pregnancy and those who were denied one, or “turned away,” because they were past their clinic’s gestational limit, and therefore carried their pregnancy to term. It has produced a wealth of information about the mental health, physical health and social consequences of both of these outcomes, and a number of resulting articles have appeared in Perspectives. They have covered these topics:


  • women’s emotions one week after they had, or were denied, an abortion [read the article];
  • the characteristics and motivations of women who sought abortions at 20 weeks or later [read the article];
  • women’s interest in seeing a preabortion ultrasound, and their reactions to it [read the article]; and
  • how women’s relationship with the man involved in the unintended pregnancy was affected by whether the pregnancy was terminated or carried to term [read the article].

Cover illustrations of Margaret Sanger © Matthew and Eve Levine