Does denial of abortion affect future long-term health?

  • Ann Intern Med

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Women denied abortion may be at risk for adverse long-term physical health and maternal death.

Why this matters

  • Long-term physical health after abortion and denial of abortion should be considered as state abortion regulation is changing.

Key results

  • Women who gave birth were younger than those who obtained a second- or first-trimester abortion (23.4 vs 24.5 vs 26.0 years, respectively; P<.001>
  • Of those who gave birth, 60% were unemployed.
  • No differences in self-reported health between women with first- and second-trimester abortions.
  • Women who gave birth had an increase in fair to poor health over time compared with women who had a first-trimester abortion (aOR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.01-1.51).
  • Death because of maternal causes was more common among women with unwanted pregnancy than those with expected pregnancies, according to national data.

Study design

  • Prospective cohort study.
  • Women seeking abortion but denied care because they presented after a clinic's gestational age limit and gave birth (n=163) compared with those with first- (n=328) and second-trimester abortions (n=383).
  • Data collected through telephone interviews semiannually for 5 years.
  • Outcome measures included changes in physical health over time.
  • Funding: Anonymous foundation.

Limitations

  • Outcomes were self-reported and subject to recall bias.

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