A yearslong study, called a "landmark" by the Washington Post, tracked 667 women after they had abortions—and found that after five years, 99% of them said they had made the right choice. That was up from 95% who said their decision was the right one immediately following their procedures. Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco also found that at the 5-year mark, 84% reported they either felt mostly positive about the experience or they felt nothing. Just 6% reported feeling mostly negative about it. "A really interesting finding is how the intensity of all emotions is so low," the lead author says. She adds that it makes sense some women would report negative emotions, yet still say they made the correct choice: "You can feel the emotion of regret, yet feel you did what was right for you."
At the one-week mark, just 51% of women had reported feeling mostly positive emotions, while 20% reported feeling no or few emotions and 17% reported feeling negative emotions. Five years later, researchers for the Turnaway Study say there was "no evidence" of new negative or positive emotions having cropped up. But critics have called out the study before, with one anti-abortion activist noting in 2018 that two-thirds of women who were approached by researchers wouldn't participate. But the authors say their 38% response rate among women who got a "stigmatized" procedure is in line with other studies. The study began in 2008, looking at both women who had abortions and those who tried to get abortions but were "turned away" and ended up carrying to term. The lead author writes in a Salon op-ed that the latest results debunk the "abortion regret" narrative. (Here's what it found out about those who were denied abortions.)