This week, a new study was released, which purports to show that few women regret their decision to obtain an abortion. The study was published in the academic journal Social Science and Medicine and is the latest study to be released as part of the Turnaway Project, which compares a cohort of women who obtained abortions with a separate cohort of women who were unable to obtain abortions due to gestational age limits.
This newest study based on that data has received a great deal of sympathetic coverage from a number of media outlets including the Washington Post, The Hill, The Guardian, and CNN. But most of the coverage has paid little or no attention to the limitations of the research. For one thing, the Turnaway study is conducted by the group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California San Francisco, which typically produces research with a pro-abortion bias.
From 2008 to 2010, Turnaway Project researchers sought participants at more than 30 abortion facilities located in 21 U.S. states and found 667 women who obtained abortions to participate. However, less than 38 percent of the women they asked actually agreed to take part in the study. It seems likely that the women who made themselves available for the study might have had either a higher level of decisional certainty or fewer moral qualms about obtaining an abortion, skewing the results.