Before we even get into this new study — which is undoubtedly important and absolutely necessary in our never ending struggle for reproductive rights — let’s first talk about the fact that we live in a society that calls for us to provide SCIENTIFIC PROOF of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. A terrifying amount of powerful people in our government do not understand a woman’s right to choose the things that happen to her womb — and that’s why studies like this are so vital for the movement to protect abortion access — as frustrating as it is that we need these studies at all.
So why is this so important? Well, the anti-choice crowd loooves to put forth the idea that women always regret their abortions. And this inaccurate ideology produces very harmful real life consequences. As reported by The Frisky, 27 states force women seeking abortions to undergo mandatory waiting periods after their first doctor’s appointment — because our culture largely does not trust women.
So researchers from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco decided to test the effectiveness of these ridiculous mandatory waiting periods. They used something called the “Decisional Conflict Scale” to measure a woman’s certainty regarding her abortion — a higher score means she is less certain, a lower score means she knows exactly what she wants to do.
The researchers then surveyed 500 women at four different clinics in Utah, one of the states that requires a 72-hour waiting period. All 500 women were seeking abortions. After the 72 hours, researchers checked to see how many women had actually undergone the procedure. Unfortunately, they were only able to get in contact with 63 percent of the patients, but the findings are still significant.
The remaining 11 percent who opted out of the abortion already weren’t sure from the get-go — scoring a 28.5 out of 100 on the conflict scale.
This proves that these controlling, invasive laws — which attempt to shame women out of abortions — are completely pointless and only detrimental to women’s health. Hopefully, more studies like this one will continue to cement our right to safe and legal abortions.