In a Word, Yes. Here’s How

Laws regulating abortion care in Arizona are very close to fully settled now that Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson the lifted the injunction in the Nelson v. PP case. In her decision she dismissed the relevance of the new law limiting abortions to those at less than 15 weeks of gestation because the state legislature included in the session law that the 15-week gestation age limitation does not “… repeal by implication or otherwise Section 13-3603 or any other applicable state law regulating or restricting abortion.”

Women’s Reproductive Rights in Arizona: 1864–2022

Planned Parenthood of Arizona has appealed but given the makeup of the AZ Appellate & Supreme Courts, there is little chance of being overturned. Abortion care will be illegal in Arizona through at least December of 2024, when a voter initiative may change the landscape, repealing ARS 13-3603 and substituting it with alternative regulations.

Abortion Care Now Largely Illegal in Arizona

Pregnant persons of means will be able to travel to clinics in Las Vegas and Southern California for abortion care…  (see this clinic locator) but many with fewer resources will not be able to… begging the question:

What will the public health impact be from the ending of abortion care in Arizona?

The most comprehensive analysis done to date is the ‘The Turnaway Study’ which is a longitudinal study examining the effects of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives.

The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having or Being Denied an Abortion

The major aim of the study is to describe the mental health, physical health, and socioeconomic consequences of receiving an abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. Among the study’s top-level findings is that receiving an abortion does not harm the health and wellbeing of women, however, being denied an abortion results in worse financial, health and family outcomes.

The Turnaway Study found serious consequences are more likely to occur when women are denied a wanted abortion including a 400% increased risk of living below the Federal Poverty Level, which causes a cascade of bad health outcomes and intergenerational poverty.

Beyond a 400% increase in the risk of living in poverty, the Study found that women denied an abortion also are:

  • More likely to experience serious complications from the end of pregnancy;
  • More likely to stay tethered to abusive partners;
  • Less likely to have aspirational life plans for the coming year; and
  • More likely to experience poor physical health for years after the pregnancy.

The study also finds that being denied abortion has serious implications for the children born of unwanted pregnancy, as well as for the existing children in the family.

The study also found that many of the common claims about the detrimental effects on women’s health of having an abortion are not supported by evidence. 

For example, women who have an abortion are not more likely than those denied the procedure to have depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation. Their findings suggest that 95% of women report that having the abortion was the right decision for them over five years after the procedure.

Here are some resources that make the results of the Turnaway Study more digestible:

Issue briefs on the mental health and socioeconomic consequences of having an abortion versus carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term are also available.

More than fifty scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals have used the findings of the Turnaway Study. Here’s a bibliography that provides a complete list of publications. 

For a deep dive into the Turnaway Study including the study’s design, methods, analysis, results, and conclusions visit The Turnaway Study | ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health).