Abortion Mental health Sidewalk Counseling

Study of emotional impact of sidewalk counselors

I have blogged about the increasing legal enforcement of the Free Access to Clinic Entrance Act here. There will be an interesting presentation on the emotion impact of counselors outside abortion clinics on Oct. 23 in Washington DC at the North American Forum for Family Planning (Forum), the combined annual meeting of the Society of Family Planning (SFP) and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America National Medical Committee® (NMC). This is an abstract of the presentation:


Foster D
University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Barar R, Gould H, Weitz T

Objectives: Little is known about how antiabortion protesters affect women’s experience with abortion. This study seeks to understand who experiences and is upset by protesters and how protesters affect emotional response to an abortion.

Methods: Between 2008 and 2010, 725 women who received an abortion at 25 sites across the United States were interviewed 1 week after their appointment as part of the Turnaway Study.

Results: Nearly half (49%) of women saw a protester; 29% reported being spoken to, and 17% reported that protesters tried to stop them from entering the clinic. Women under age 20, African American women and Latinas were twice as likely as other women to report protesters attempting to stop them from entering a clinic. Among those who saw a protester, nearly half reported that they were not at all upset, 25% reported being a little upset, 15% were “quite a lot” or “extremely” upset. Women who had difficulty
deciding about the abortion were more likely to report being upset by protesters. In both bivariate and multivariate models, seeing, being spoken to and being stopped by protesters are not associated with differences in regret, relief, guilt, happiness, sadness or anger 1 week after their appointment.

Conclusions: Protesters do upset some women seeking abortion services. However, the effect of exposure to protesters does not seem to have an effect on emotions toward the abortion 1 week later.

Abstracts / Contraception 84 (2011) 303

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.