Abortion decision-making and the impact of the 72-hour waiting period
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] In 2011, 45% of pregnancies were unintended (UIP), dropping from a rate of 51% in 2008. This rate is still high for a developed country such as the United States. In 2011, 42% of UIPs ended in abortion, which is slightly higher than the 40% in 2008. Abortion restrictions are increasingly being put on women and abortion providers in the United States, resulting in barriers to accessing safe abortions. In 2013, 70 antiabortion measures were enacted across 22 states in the U.S. This study examined one of these laws, the increase in the abortion waiting period in Missouri from 24 to 72 hours. The present study is a mixed methods design that consisted of the examination of retrospective data, elicitation interviews, baseline surveys, and follow-up surveys in order to understand the impact of this new restriction. The retrospective data were collected from two time periods: 1) when Missouri had a 24-hour abortion waiting period, and 2) during the first year of the 72-hour waiting period. The Integrated Behavioral Model (IBM) provided a theoretical framework for understanding a woman's intention to return for an abortion after the waiting period. Self-efficacy (p = .0042) and attitude (p = .0164) were found to be statistically significant predictors of a woman's intention to return to the clinic after the 72-hour waiting period. Findings will be useful to policy makers and women's health advocates as they try to understand and lessen the effects of abortion restrictions on women.
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