To further attempts to impose longer waiting periods and more stringent restrictions, abortion opponents have long used the argument that women suffer negative mental health after undergoing the procedure. That theory may have just been quashed by a new study that indicates 95% of women who've had an abortion felt their decision was the right one—both immediately afterward and three years later, Think Progress reports. In research published in Plos One that tapped data from the Turnaway longitudinal study, scientists from the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health think tank followed 956 women who sought abortions in 21 states and interviewed them every six months for five years. The study is said to be the first in the US to follow women who had abortions (and those denied them) over time, as well as study differences between women who received first-trimester abortions and those who received them later.
Not only did the overwhelming majority of women feel OK with their choice to end the pregnancy, but relief was the emotion they felt most after three years. Emotional intensity overall was reduced as time passed, whether those feelings were positive or negative, the study notes. Women who reported the most negative emotions were those who had ended planned pregnancies (i.e., after finding out the fetus had serious health defects) and those who lived in communities where abortion was more stigmatized, Think Progress notes; meanwhile, women who were working or in school while pregnant felt most comfortable with their decision, per the study. Perhaps most surprising, researchers found "no differences in emotional trajectories or decision rightness between women having earlier versus later procedures." (SCOTUS recently quashed North Carolina's attempt to force women to listen to "narrated ultrasounds" before getting an abortion.)