The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—Or Being Denied—an Abortion

Scribner Jun. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781982141561. $27. SOC SCI.
In this debut, Foster (Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Univ. of California, San Francisco) writes a comprehensive overview of abortion in the United States. At the same time, the organization of chapters that simultaneously foreground a significant issue and an individual women’s story keeps the narrative as human as it is informational. Foster has compiled ten years’ worth of research on women across 40 states and all ethnicities, yet never loses sight of that each woman’s story is her own. She meets women in the waiting rooms of abortion facilities and continues to follow-up with them for up to five years after. These stories can be difficult to read, but they help to counter myths surrounding the effects of abortion on mental and physical health, while exploring how women cope with living in poverty or unsafe environments.
VERDICT Foster listens to the “turnaway women,” and lets their stories, even more than her own scholarship, disrupt the accepted moral and political narratives that regulate access to abortion.
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