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“If you read only one book about democracy, The Turnaway Study should be it. Why? Because without the power to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy." —Gloria Steinem
“Dr. Diana Greene Foster brings what is too often missing from the public debate around abortion: science, data, and the real-life experiences of people from diverse backgrounds…This should be required reading for every judge, member of Congress, and candidate for office—as well as anyone who hopes to better understand this complex and important issue.” —Cecile Richards, cofounder of Supermajority, former president of Planned Parenthood, and author of Make Trouble
A groundbreaking and illuminating look at the state of abortion access in America and the first long-term study of the consequences—emotional, physical, financial, professional, personal, and psychological—of receiving versus being denied an abortion on women’s lives.
What happens when a woman seeking an abortion is turned away? Diana Greene Foster, PhD, decided to find out. With a team of scientists—psychologists, epidemiologists, demographers, nursing scholars, and public health researchers—she set out to discover the effect of receiving versus being denied an abortion on women’s lives. Over the course of a ten-year investigation that began in 2007, she and her team followed a thousand women from more than twenty states, some of whom received their abortions, some of whom were turned away.
Now, for the first time, the results of this landmark study—the largest of its kind to examine women’s experiences with abortion and unwanted pregnancy in the United States—have been gathered together in one place. Here Foster presents the emotional, physical, and socioeconomic outcomes for women who received their abortion and those who were denied. She analyzes the impact on their mental and physical health, their careers, their romantic lives, their professional aspirations, and even their existing and future children—and finds that women who received an abortion were almost always better off than women who were denied one. Interwoven with these findings are ten riveting first-person narratives by women who share their candid stories.
As the debate about abortion rights intensifies, The Turnaway Study offers an in-depth examination of the real-world consequences for women of being denied abortions and provides evidence to refute the claim that abortion harms women. With brilliant synthesis and startling statistics—that thousands of American women are unable to access abortions; that 99% of women who receive an abortion do not regret it five years later—The Turnaway Study is a necessary and revelatory look at the impact of abortion access on people’s lives.
About the Author
Diana Greene Foster is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and director of research at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). An internationally recognized expert on women’s experiences with contraception and abortion, she is the principal investigator of the Turnaway Study. She has a bachelor’s of science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate from Princeton University. She lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"A remarkable piece of research.... The Turnaway Study will be understood, criticized, and used politically, however carefully conceived and painstakingly executed the research was. Given that inevitability, it’s worth underlining the most helpful political work that the study does. In light of its findings, the rationale for so many recent abortion restrictions—namely, that abortion is uniquely harmful to the people who choose it—simply topples."
—The New Yorker
"Foster’s findings are particularly relevant now, as the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn and ongoing efforts to restrict abortion access have made the procedure even more difficult for many to obtain."
—The Huffington Post
“The Turnaway Study provides definitive evidence that abortion access strongly enhances women’s health and well-being, whereas denying abortion results in physical and economic harm. Based on a ten-year investigation, the book combines engaging, in-depth stories of women who received and were denied abortion care along with study data from 50 peer-reviewed papers published in top medical and social science journals.”
“Required reading for anyone concerned with reproductive justice."
“If you read only one book about democracy, The Turnaway Study should be it. Why? Because without the power to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy. There is no freedom and justice without reproductive freedom and justice."
“Dr. Foster brings what is too often missing from the public debate around abortion: science, data, and the real-life experiences of people from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Foster’s book offers the first in-depth look at the impact of being denied abortion on mental and physical health, economic wellbeing, relationships, and families. This should be required reading for every judge, member of Congress, and candidate for office — as well as anyone who hopes to better understand this complex and important issue.”
—Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority, former president of Planned Parenthood, and author of Make Trouble