Turnaway Study

Investigator: Diana Foster, PhD

Location(s): South Africa; India; Nepal; Cambodia; Colombia


The Global Turnaway study is a multicenter, double-prospective cohort study of the health and socioeconomic consequences of legal abortion, illegal abortion, and unwanted childbearing to women in four to five distinct health, healthcare and cultural settings across the globe.

Worldwide, half of the nearly 90 million unintended pregnancies that occur each year end in abortion. In most countries, women do not have access to safe abortion services: abortion is legal in only 28 percent of all countries in the world and only 15 percent of countries in the developing world. More than 75 percent of abortions in developing countries are performed in unsafe or illegal conditions, compared to fewer than 6 percent in the developed world. Unsafe abortion is one of the most preventable causes of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide, yet illegal and/or unsafe abortion now accounts for more than half of the world’s 45 million induced abortions each year. Such high global incidence of unsafe abortion speaks to the need for a better understanding of the determinants and consequences of safe and unsafe abortion.