Original research article| Volume 99, ISSUE 1, P42-47, January 2019

Intended pregnancy after receiving vs. being denied a wanted abortion



      To understand how having or being denied an abortion affects the likelihood of trying to become pregnant, overall pregnancy rates, and the rate and timing of an intended pregnancy in the future.

      Study design

      The Turnaway Study is a prospective cohort study of women who received or were denied a wanted abortion. Women were recruited from one of 30 US abortion facilities. We examined subsequent intended pregnancy among those who presented just under the facility's gestational limit and received an abortion (Near-Limit Abortion Group, n=413) and those who presented for abortion just beyond the facility's gestational limit, were denied an abortion and went on to parent the child (Parenting Turnaways, n=146). First, we modeled the probability of trying to become pregnant using multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression. We then used Cox proportional-hazards models to compare overall pregnancy rates and intended pregnancy rates over 5 years.


      Parenting Turnaways had lower predicted probabilities of reporting trying to become pregnant in the first 1.5 years after birth/abortion than the Near-Limit Abortion Group. They also had lower pregnancy rates overall [40.4 per 100 woman-years vs. 53.5 per 100 woman-years, adjusted hazards ratio (aHR)=0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.54–0.89]. The 5-year intended pregnancy rate was low among both groups, but compared to the Near-Limit Abortion Group, Parenting Turnaways had a lower intended pregnancy rate (2.2 per 100 woman-years vs. 7.5 per 100 woman-years, aHR=0.29, 95% CI: 0.10–0.85).


      Being able to obtain a wanted abortion may enable women to have an intended pregnancy later.


      Ensuring that women can obtain an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy may enable them to have a subsequent pregnancy when they are ready to have a baby.


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