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Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)The association between first abortion and first-time non-fatal suicide attempt: a longitudinal cohort study of Danish population registries
Background Suicidal ideation due to abortion has been used to justify restrictive US abortion policies. Much research examining abortion and mental health has relied on self-report, has had low participation rates, and did not consider confounding factors. In the present study, we used data that do not rely on self-report and are not affected by low participation rates to examine the association between abortion and non-fatal suicide attempts, adjusting for confounding factors. Methods In this longitudinal cohort study of Danish population registries, we linked data on a cohort of women born in Denmark between Jan 1, 1980, and Dec 30, 1998, who did not die or emigrate from Denmark before their 18th birthday or before study entry. Follow-up started on the woman's 18th birthday or Jan 1, 2000, whichever came last. Follow-up ended at the date of first suicide attempt, date of emigration from Denmark, date of death, or Dec 31, 2016, whichever came first. Women were between the ages of 18 and 36 years during the study period. We used a survival analysis to examine the risk of first suicide attempts or self-harm associated with a first abortion compared with no abortion, in the complete study cohort. To examine incidence rate ratios (IRRs) associated with abortion, we used Poisson regression with the logarithm of woman-years at risk as an offset. We also examined whether the risk of suicide attempts changed before and after the abortion, adjusting for age, calendar year, socioeconomic status, and history of childbirth, mental health, parental mental health, and physical health. Findings Data on 523 280 women were included in this study. Of these, 48 990 (9·4%) women had a record of at least one first-trimester abortion, and 10 216 (2·0%) had a suicide attempt during the study period. Among 48 990 women who had an abortion, 1402 (2·9%) had a first suicide attempt after the first abortion. In our fully-adjusted model which adjusted for all covariates, the risk of first-time non-fatal suicide attempts was similar in the year before an abortion (IRR 2·46 [95% CI 2·22–2·72]) and the year after an abortion (IRR 2·54 [2·29–2·81], p=0·509) compared with women who had not had an abortion, and decreased with increasing time since the abortion (1–5 years IRR 1·90 [1·75–2·06]; ≥5 years IRR 1·73 [1·53–1·96]). Interpretation We found that women who had abortions had a higher risk of non-fatal suicide attempts compared with women who did not have an abortion. However, because the increased risk was the same both the year before and after the abortion, it is not attributable to the abortion. Thus, policies based on the notion that abortion increases women's risk of suicide attempts are misinformed.
Located in MPRC People / Julia Steinberg, Ph.D. / Julia Steinberg Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Decision rightness and relief predominate over the years following an abortion
A recent analysis from the Turnaway study focused on women who were just under the gestational limit of a clinic and received an abortion and those who had first trimester abortions to examine trends in decisional rightness and negative and positive emotions over 5 years after the abortion. Specifically, Rocca et al. (in press) analyzed these data and found that women were overwhemingly sure of their decision: 95% felt their decision was the right one at each assessment after their abortion, and the predicted probability of abortion being the right decision was 99% at 5 years afterwards. Relief was the most common emotion felt by women, and negative emotions or decision regret did not emerge over time. These results and others from studies conducted globally counter assertions by abortion opponents that women are not certain of their decisions, or that women regret or have mainly negative emotions about their abortions if not in the short run then after a long period of time. This commentary addresses not only these findings but also relevant U.S. abortion policies based on these unsubstantiated claims. Policies should not be based on the notions that women are unsure of their decision, come to regret, it or have negative emotions because there is no evidence to support these claims.
Located in MPRC People / Julia Steinberg, Ph.D. / Julia Steinberg Publications
Exploring perceived coercive aspects of transactional sex in Central Uganda
Kirsten Stoebenau examines the Central Uganda Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW)'s participation in transactional sex
Located in Research / Selected Research
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Challenging Stereotypes: A Counter-Narrative of the Contraceptive Experiences of Low-Income Latinas
Purpose: Reproductive autonomy is associated with educational attainment, advanced employment, and wellbeing. While U.S. Latinas use contraception to control their own childbearing and have reported a desire to do so, they often use it inconsistently and have the lowest rates of contraceptive use of any group. Reasons previously cited for why Latinas do not use contraception compared with non-Latino white women include lack of access, lack of knowledge, language barriers, emphasis on large families, machismo, and religiosity. These reasons are often overly simplistic and can lead to widespread generalizations about Latinas. Methods: Using focus groups and semistructured interviews from November 2014 through June 2015, this study describes the family planning perspectives and experiences of 16 Latinas living in Baltimore and recruited from two federally qualified health centers. A social determinant of health framework was used to guide identification of important concepts and explain findings. Results: Results demonstrated that respondents reported contraceptive agency and claimed autonomy over their bodies; described a sense of responsibility and often expressed caution about having families too large to care for; expressed educational and career aspirations; and perceived contraception as critical for the postponement of childbearing to achieve their goals. Conclusion: The patient/provider encounter should include communication that recognizes all patient preferences and lived experiences to support vulnerable and/or marginalized Latinas in their desires to control their own childbearing and life choices.
Located in Retired Persons / Ruth Zambrana, Ph.D. / Ruth Zambrana Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Intentionally or Ambivalently Risking a Short Interpregnancy Interval: Reproductive-Readiness Factors in Women’s Postpartum Non-Use of Contraception
A focus of research on short interpregnancy intervals (IPI) has been on young disadvantaged women whose births are likely to be unintended. Later initiation of family formation in the United States and other high-income countries points to the need to also consider a woman’s attributes indicative of readiness for purposefully accelerated family formation achieved through short IPIs. We test for whether factors indicating “reproductive readiness”—including being married, being older, and having just had a first birth or a birth later than desired—predict a woman’s non-use of contraception in the postpartum months. We also test for whether this contraceptive non-use results explicitly from wanting to become pregnant again. The data come from the 2012–2015 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, representing women who recently gave birth in any of 35 U.S. states and New York City ( N  = 120,111). We find that these reproductive-readiness factors are highly predictive of women’s postpartum non-use of contraception because of a stated desire to become pregnant and are moderately predictive of contraceptive non-use without an explicit pregnancy intention. We conclude that planning for, or ambivalently risking, a short IPI is a frequent family-formation strategy for women whose family formation has been delayed. This is likely to become increasingly common as family formation in the United States is initiated later in the reproductive life course.
Located in MPRC People / Monica Caudillo, Ph.D. / Monica Caudillo Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Sexual health of adolescent girls and young women in Central Uganda: exploring perceived coercive aspects of transactional sex
Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Uganda are at risk of early sexual debut, unwanted pregnancy, violence, and disproportionally high HIV infection rates, driven in part by transactional sex. This paper examines the extent to which AGYW’s participation in transactional sex is perceived to be coerced. We conducted 19 focus group discussions and 44 in-depth interviews using semi-structured tools. Interviews were audio recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis. While AGYW did not necessarily use the language of coercion, their narratives describe a number of coercive aspects in their relationships. First, coercion by force as a result of “de-toothing” a man (whereby they received money or resources but did not wish to provide sex as “obligated” under the implicit “terms” of the relationships). Second, they described the coercive role that receiving resources played in their decision to have sex in the face of men’s verbal insistence. Finally, they discussed having sex as a result of coercive economic circumstances including poverty, and because of peer pressure to uphold modern lifestyles. Support for income-generation activities, microfinance and social protection programmes may help reduce AGYW’s vulnerability to sexual coercion in transactional sex relationships. Targeting gender norms that contribute to unequal power dynamics and social expectations that obligate AGYW to provide sex in return for resources, critically assessing the meaning of consensual sex, and normative interventions building on parents’ efforts to ascertain the source of their daughters’ resources may also reduce AGYW’s vulnerability to coercion.
Located in MPRC People / Kirsten Stoebenau, Ph.D. / Kristen Stoebenau Publications