Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health
Women's Knowledge of and Support for Abortion Restrictions in Texas: Findings from a Statewide Representative Survey
States have passed numerous laws restricting abortion, and Texas passed some of the most restrictive legislation between 2011 and 2013. Information about women's awareness of and support for the laws’ provisions could inform future debates regarding abortion legislation.
Between December 2014 and January 2015, some 779 women aged 18–49 participated in an online, statewide representative survey about recent abortion laws in Texas. Poisson regression analysis was used to assess correlates of support for a law that would make obtaining an abortion more difficult. Women's knowledge of specific abortion restrictions in Texas and reasons for supporting these laws were also assessed.
Overall, 31% of respondents would support a law making it more difficult to obtain an abortion. Foreign‐born Latinas were more likely than whites to support such a law (prevalence ratio, 1.5), and conservative Republicans were more likely than moderates and Independents to do so (2.3). Thirty‐six percent of respondents were not very aware of recent Texas laws, and 19% had never heard of them. Among women with any awareness of the laws, 19% supported the requirements; 42% of these individuals said this was because such laws would make abortion safer.
Many Texas women of reproductive age are unaware of statewide abortion restrictions, and some support these requirements because of misperceptions about the safety of abortion. Advocates and policymakers should address these knowledge gaps in efforts to protect access to legal abortion.
Abortion Stigma: A Systematic Review
Although stigma has been identified as a potential risk factor for the well‐being of women who have had abortions, little attention has been paid to the study of abortion‐related stigma.
A systematic search of the databases Medline, PsycArticles, PsycInfo, PubMed and Web of Science was conducted; the search terms were “(abortion OR pregnancy termination) AND stigma*.” Articles were eligible for inclusion if the main research question addressed experiences of individuals subjected to abortion stigma, public attitudes that stigmatize women who have had abortions or interventions aimed at managing abortion stigma. To provide a comprehensive overview of this issue, any study published by February 2015 was considered. The search was restricted to English‐ and German‐language studies.
Seven quantitative and seven qualitative studies were eligible for inclusion. All but two dated from 2009 or later; the earliest was from 1984. Studies were based mainly on U.S. samples; some included participants from Ghana, Great Britain, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Zambia. The majority of studies showed that women who have had abortions experience fear of social judgment, self‐judgment and a need for secrecy. Secrecy was associated with increased psychological distress and social isolation. Some studies found stigmatizing attitudes in the public. Stigma appeared to be salient in abortion providers’ lives. Evidence of interventions to reduce abortion stigma was scarce. Most studies had limitations regarding generalizability and validity.
More research, using validated measures, is needed to enhance understanding of abortion stigma and thereby reduce its impact on affected individuals.
Guttmacher Policy Report
Guttmacher Institute Announces Third Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship Recipient
The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Brenda Trejo is the recipient of the 2016 Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship. A Seattle University graduate, Ms.