Abortion care in the United States is very safe and very common. ANSIRH research shows that being denied an abortion can have negative longer-term consequences for people, while having an abortion does not lead to negative mental or physical health outcomes in the future. Abortion is an essential part of reproductive health care. Yet, there are gaps in people’s understanding and misinformation on the topic. ANSIRH’s role is to fill these knowledge gaps and provide answers based on research, so that all people can live healthier lives.
Many people experience unintended pregnancies and many choose to terminate those pregnancies. Abortions can be done using several techniques, one of which is medication abortion or the “abortion pill.” This method involves two medications, and can be commonly used up to 10-11 weeks of pregnancy. About 1 in 3 abortions in the United States are done with medications. ANSIRH is exploring how the abortion pill can be used outside of the clinic setting to give people more control and autonomy over their experience.
ANSIRH research shows that abortion does not lead to negative mental or physical health outcomes in the future — in fact, 95% of women say that abortion was the right decision for them. Our work also finds that women usually report feelings of relief after their abortions, even years later. However, being denied a wanted abortion can have negative longer-term consequences for women. When people are turned away from getting an abortion, they are more likely to experience financial insecurity, worse physical health, lower life aspirations and lower quality romantic relationships. Being denied a wanted abortion is also associated with negative consequences for their existing children, in terms of financial security and development, and lower chances of having a wanted pregnancy under better circumstances later.
Even though abortion is very safe and a necessary part of healthcare, it remains a controversial issue. The federal government currently limits where and how the abortion pill can be given and abortion care is further restricted in many states. Our research looks at the impact of these restrictions, experiences of abortion providers, how abortion is portrayed onscreen, and self-management of abortion.