Sylvia & Me
Sylvia & Me
Diana Greene Foster, Ph.D.: Author ‘The Turnaway Study, Ten Years, A Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having – or Being Denied – an Abortion’

Dr. Foster is the author of “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, A Thousand Women, And The Consequences of Having – Or Being Denied – An Abortion.” The study compares the physical health, mental health, financial circumstances and family life of these two groups of women. And that the assumption that women feel regret, is not correct. In fact, the study showed that 95% of women who receive an abortion later reported that it was the right decision for them.

The author led a ten-year study of a thousand women, comparing those who received abortions shortly before reaching a state’s gestational limit with those who did not—because they didn’t learn early enough that they were pregnant, couldn’t travel to a provider, or couldn’t afford the escalating costs of a later abortion. Drawing on her research and on first-person narratives, the book illustrates how women denied abortions were more likely to struggle financially, suffer domestic violence, and experience short-term anxiety, while women who obtained abortions tended to experience better physical and mental health. One woman, reflecting on an abortion that enabled her to focus on her teen-age daughter and find a job, says, “It’s an ordinary life, but it’s an extravagant, wonderful ordinary life.”

Diana is a professor and demographer who uses quantitative models and analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of family planning policies and the effect of unwanted pregnancy on women’s lives. She leads the Turnaway Study, a nationwide longitudinal prospective study of the health and well-being of women who seek abortion including both women who do and do not receive the abortion. She is collaborating with scientists on a Nepal Turnaway Study. Dr. Foster has worked on the evaluation of the California State family planning program, Family PACT. This work demonstrated the effectiveness of the program in reducing the incidence of unintended pregnancy and the effect of dispensing a one year supply of contraception. Dr. Foster created a new methodology for estimating pregnancies averted based on a Markov model and a microsimulation to identify the cost-effectiveness of advance provision of emergency contraception. In 2017, Dr. Foster received the Robert A. Hatcher Family Planning Mentor Award by the Society of Family Planning. Dr. Foster received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, her MA and PhD in Demography and Public Policy from Princeton University.