This study was done to examine whether receiving versus being denied an abortion affects aspirational life goal setting and attainment 5 years later.

This study compared women who sought and were denied an abortion because they were 3 weeks beyond the gestational limit to those who received an abortion in the first trimester; received an abortion within 2 weeks of the facility’s gestational limit; and sought an abortion, were turned away and received an abortion elsewhere or placed their baby for adoption. We used mixed-effects logistic regression analyses to estimate the odds of setting an aspirational plan and to estimate the odds of both setting and achieving an aspirational 5-year plan.

At 1 week post-abortion-seeking, 791 women reported 5-year plans, most of which were aspirational. Parenting-Turnaways had lower odds of setting an aspirational 5-year plan than Near-Limits. There were no differences by group in achieving aspirational 5-year plans among those who had them.

The findings of the study concluded that soon after abortion-seeking, women denied a wanted abortion were less optimistic about their long-term futures than women who received a wanted abortion. Abortion access can help women set positive long-term goals.