Media fauns over pro-abortion “Turnaway Study” but study does not inform women, it misleads them

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. A version of this story ran last week. However, because of an editing error–mine–portions were omitted. This is the story in its entirety.

NRL News and NRL News Today have kept very close tabs on the infamous “Turnaway” study which is slavishly touted by the media as “proving” that women “denied” abortions report higher levels of regret and anger and lower levels of “relief” and happiness than women who did abort.

Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRL Director of Education & Research, has written over a dozen articles directly and indirectly dismantling this pseudo-science. There is a story in the July issue of NRL News that explores “Five Ways to Tell if a Study is Just More Pseudoscientific Pro-Abortion Propaganda,” which includes a brilliant critique of the Turnaway study.

What I didn’t know until today, however, is that Diana Greene Foster, PhD, the head honcho of the study (which is actually a proliferation of studies), has just published a book, “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied—an Abortion.”

Fortunately, Christine Rousselle, writing for the Catholic News Agency (CNA) interviewed Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Coleman has published in many academic journals and testified as an expert on abortion and mental health at committee hearings around the world. She has also written for NRL News and has spoken at numerous NRLC conventions.

She is, in a word, an expert on the psychological impact of abortion. I interviewed her here.

Here are a few representative samples of Dr. Coleman’s debunking:

“In any other field, you wouldn’t be able to publish this stuff,” Coleman told CNA. She said the “politically correct” conclusions found by the Turnaway Study are why it has received widespread acceptance. …

According to Coleman, the composition of the sample studied is one of the biggest flaws associated with the data.

“Initially, only 37.5% of the women who were invited to participate agreed to participate,” said Coleman. “And then, across the study period, 42% dropped out. So the final results are based on 22% of eligible women.”

This last sentence is just devastating. Dr. Greene Foster and her colleagues at the University of California-San Francisco  (“America’s Abortion Academy”) have generalized their far-reaching conclusions from barely 1/4th of the women eligible to participate.

As an expert in the field, Dr. Coleman told CNA “that the conclusions drawn by the Turnaway Study do not mesh up with other academic research on the topic.”

“Most of the literature–the peer-reviewed scientific articles–indicate that a significant percentage of women are at risk for regretting their abortions,” she told CNA.

“Not every woman’s going to regret her abortion or have mental health problems, but there’s an increased risk. And so that’s something women have a right to know about prior to undergoing the procedure.” …

“There are hundreds of studies and if (women seeking abortions) are only given the results of the Turnaway Study, they’re not being informed, they’re being misled. And that’s problematic in my view.”

Coleman concluded that women “have a right to know what the broader scientific literature indicates.

“There are hundreds of studies and if (women seeking abortions) are only given the results of the Turnaway Study, they’re not being informed, they’re being misled. And that’s problematic in my view.”