Results of ‘No Regret’ Turnaway Abortion Study Are Meaningless

Last week we reported on a deeply flawed study using the “Turnaway Study” that is being used to claim that most women have no regrets after an abortion. Dr. Priscilla Coleman, of Bowling Green State University and director of WECARE, has also published her own criticism which is reprinted below. The PLoS ONE study titled “Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study,” is riddled with serious design flaws that render the results meaningless. The problematic issues are described in detail below, followed by evidence that the true motivation for publishing the study is likely political. In recent years, credible science has informed policy with 26 states now requiring information regarding mental health effects be shared with women considering abortion. This study is a poor attempt to provide counter “evidence” and obscure the reality of women’s suffering, reminiscent of the highly flawed research from the 1970s and 80s. Methodological Issues 1) As reported by the authors, the consent to participate rate is only 37.5 percent. This is unacceptable, as the missing 62.5 percent who were approached and declined were likely the women who had the most adverse psychological reactions to their abortions. With sensitive topic research, securing a high initial consent rate is vitally important, and in order to approach being representative, a minimum of 70 percent should be retained. 2) The authors note that the sample was comprised of a high concentration of women from low socioeconomic backgrounds, rendering the sample not representative of US women undergoing abortion today. There is an ethical concern here as a well, since providing $350 to...