Mandatory Waiting Periods May Not Deter Women Seeking Abortions

According to a new study released by the Guttmacher Institute, women seeking abortions are already confident in their decision and probably don’t need a mandated waiting period to mull it over further.

The study, which surveyed over 5,000 women seeking abortions at one clinic, revealed that 87% of patients seeking an abortion had “high confidence” in their decision. Factors that strengthened conviction that the abortion was the right choice for them were a supportive partner or mother. Factors that reduced women’s confidence in their decision were “being younger than 20, being black, not having a high school diploma, having a history of depression, having a fetus with an anomaly, having general difficulty making decisions, having spiritual concerns, believing that abortion is killing, and fearing not being forgiven by God”.

First of all, my heart is breaking thinking of women who have been diagnosed with a fetal anomaly significant enough that they’re terminating the pregnancy. Of course the whole decision-making process would be shaky and fraught, especially if this were a much-wanted pregnancy. If there were ever a moment where a person would second guess every decision, that would be it.

But also striking is the information that the majority of women walking into the clinic are confident in the choice they’re making. This bolsters the claims that women who choose abortion are doing it with their eyes open and with enough information to choose confidently before they even walk through clinic doors. The conclusion of the study is that the spate of mandated waiting periods and counseling measures being enacted by many states will probably not have much effect on the decision-making process of most women seeking abortions. Rather, the processes are just a series of hoops women must jump through to undergo a legal medical procedure.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, but barriers to abortion won’t stop women from ending pregnancies. This study shows that women don’t act on a whim when seeking abortion — they know what they’re doing and are determined to do it.  What will effect the abortion rate are education, access to health care, and the kinds of reliable contraception that prevents unwanted pregnancies. It’s long past time to focus on that.

Read more from Rebekah at Mom-in-a-Million, The DC MomsThe Broad Side
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