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How patients view mandatory waiting periods for abortion.

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      In recent years, various legislatures have enacted laws and ordinances mandating a waiting period for women seeking to obtain abortions. Legal challenges to such statutes have been successful, except in one instance (Akron, Ohio), and a federal judge in Tennessee recently struck down a waiting period statute. As part of the appeal against the Tennessee law, two surveys were made of some 400 women who experienced such a delay to probe their opinions about the benefits and drawbacks of the mandated waiting period. More than seven in 10 women were unable to name a single benefit to be derived form waiting, and six in 10 pointed to one or more problems they had experienced, including extra expense, missed work or school, experiencing some discomfort and entering the second trimester of pregnancy, among others. About +7,6000 in extra expenses were incurred by about 200 of the women (with a median of +24 per woman), adding about 48 percent to the costs for the typical low-income woman and 14 percent for the typical higher income woman. The cost of the second visit increased in direct proportion to the distance a woman lived from the family planning clinic and to the number of hours she was employed per week. The typical woman was found to hold a negative view of the statute. Women who were surveyed before and after the waiting period said that they actually realized fewer benefits and experienced more problems from the waiting period than they had anticipated.

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      Fam Plann Perspect
      Family planning perspectives
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