This is the latest data out of a yearslong study tracking abortion access that was published in JAMA Psychiatry by researchers at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California-San Francisco. The 956 participating women—recruited from 30 abortion facilities in 21 states—were divided into two groups: women who sought and received an abortion, and women who sought an abortion but were denied the procedure. Both groups of women were interviewed one week after seeking an abortion and then semiannually for five years.
Researchers found that women who were turned away from abortion clinics reported more anxiety symptoms, lower self-esteem, and lower life satisfaction over a longer period of time than women who had the procedure. They experienced similar levels of depression as the women who had received an abortion just under the facility’s gestational limits—indicating that depression was not triggered by having an abortion—but the women who received an abortion felt less negative emotional effects by six months to a year after the procedure. Nine states have laws that require women who seek an abortion to first receive counseling on its negative emotional and psychological consequences.