Womens Health Issues. 2015 Nov 25.

Abortion patients' experience and perceptions of waiting periods: survey evidence before Arizona's two-visit 24-hour mandatory waiting period law

Karasek D, Roberts SC and Weitz TA


Background: More than one-half of U.S. states now have laws requiring women to wait at least 24 hours between receiving information about abortion and the actual abortion procedure, with a few requiring longer waits, and one-fourth requiring that women receive this information in person. Although public discussions of waiting periods focus on how they affect women, we know little about abortion patients' perceptions of these requirements.

Methods: We collected data from 379 women seeking abortion care at an abortion facility in Arizona before Arizona's 24-hour waiting period two-visit Sevrequirement went into effect. Surveys focused on patients' experiences receiving abortion care before the waiting period and perceptions about how the additional clinic visit would affect them.

Results: Most women reported one or more financial or logistical challenges in obtaining abortion care. More than two-thirds reported difficulty paying abortion appointment-related expenses. These expenses prevented or delayed almost one-half from paying other expenses, such as rent, bills, and food, with lower income women more affected. The majority expected that the additional visit would result in additional financial and logistical hardships and delay them in having an abortion, with 90% reporting that the waiting period would lead to at least one hardship. Eight percent reported that the waiting period would have a positive effect on emotional well-being, and more than one-half reported that it would have a negative effect on emotional well-being.

Conclusions: Only a small minority of women seeking abortion care view a two-visit waiting period law as benefiting them; the overwhelming majority expect a waiting period to have adverse consequences.

Comment: We see here that the mandatory 24–48 hours waiting periods before abortion may be legally performed, as exist in several countries, do not make women change their mind and could be abandoned. (HMV)