Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a group of public health researchers at the University of California, San Francisco is set to release part of their findings from the multi-year Turnaway Study. The group tracked and compared the rates of domestic violence (both physical and psychological) among women who were just under the gestational limit for abortions in their area and were able to receive the desired abortion and women, called “Turnaways,” who were just over the limit and were denied abortions.
The study’s conclusion is striking: women who received the abortion they wanted showed a decreased rate of physical violence in their relationships over 24 months while the Turnaway women saw no decrease in likelihood and incidence of physical violence from their partners. Interestingly, the study also showed that the groups of women were equally likely to stay in a romantic relationship with the man involved in the pregnancy after 24 months. However, Turnaway women who ended the relationship were more likely to maintain contact with their former partners; this study suggests that abortion restrictions keep women in contact with men who are physically abusive to them and prolong domestic violence.
The Turnaway Study is more important now than ever. NARAL reports that since 1995, over 800 anti-choice measures have been passed at the state level. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the No Taxpayer-Funding for Abortion Act. With elections fast approaching, abortion restrictions must be scrutinized at every level.
Even more pertinent is the continuing exploration of the NFL’s culture of domestic violence leading in to Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Now is the time to discuss the clearly proven link between abortion access and domestic violence. When women’s rights are restricted in one area, it harms every aspect of women’s lives.