The Turnaway study has found that having a wanted abortion was not associated with mental health harms. Compared to receiving an abortion, being denied a wanted abortion was associated with experiencing more symptoms of anxiety and low self-esteem one week after denial, though both groups experienced improvements in their mental health and well-being from the time they sought an abortion to five years later. Laws that require women to be warned about negative psychological consequences of abortion are not based in evidence.
The idea that abortion causes mental health harm is used to defend laws that restrict women’s access to abortion. This issue brief synthesizes the results of publications on abortion and mental health and well-being from the Turnaway Study. We found that having a wanted abortion was not associated with mental health harms.