Research from the University of Pennsylvania found that restricted access to abortions may have increased the risk of suicide among women of reproductive age for more than four decades.
According to the data on display, though deaths by suicide are the second leading cause of death among women ages 20-24 in the United States and the third leading cause among women ages 25-34.
The recently published study found that abortion restrictions may have played a role in some suicide deaths among young women between 1974 and 2016.
According to the Turnaway Study, 96% of women denied abortion no longer wish they could have had one five years later. pic.twitter.com/i7PboTfCLS— PAAU (@PAAUNOW) December 28, 2022
During that period, 21 states enforced at least one Specific Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law, which imposes mandates on abortion providers or facilities, such as requiring facilities to be located near an abortion facility. hospital or providers are affiliated with a local hospital. From 1974 to 2016, the average annual rate of suicides among women of reproductive age in those states was nearly 6% higher than in previous years when the laws were not enforced.
The study is the first of its kind to show an association between abortion restrictions and suicide rates among younger women, said Dr. Ran Barzilay, one of the authors.
The five-year research project called The Turnaway Study found that women recently denied an abortion had elevated levels of anxiety and stress, along with lower levels of self-esteem. But the study also found no difference in suicidal thoughts between women who were denied an abortion versus those who did.
However, that investigation ended in 2016, so it's unclear how new abortion restrictions, like the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, have affected suicide rates among younger women.