Online Program

I don't want to tell people I've had abortions. I'm just a person, you know?”: A qualitative study exploring how adult women talk to each other about abortion

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Stephanie Herold, MPH, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Oakland, CA
Kate Cockrill, MPH, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Background: Abortion is a very common procedure in the United States, yet it is highly stigmatized. Research has explored how women experience abortion individually, but there is no data about how women discuss abortion on a peer-to-peer level. Methods: The data for this study comes from a larger study, Reading Women's Lives from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). Women's book clubs were recruited, consented, and given the book Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, & Abortion edited by Karen Bender and Nina Gramont. The discussions were transcribed and transcripts were entered into Atlas.ti. A codebook was developed and transcripts were coded using line-by-line coding. Results: Participants had two main ways of talking about abortion: telling personal abortion stories and making political or cultural claims about abortion. Participants engaged in stigma management techniques, particularly normalizing abortion and using discretion in deciding to whom to disclose their personal experience with abortion. Participants discussed the stigma surrounding abortion and how one solution to that stigma is to have abortion become a personal issue instead of only a political issue. Conclusion: Based on an emerging scholarship around abortion stigma, this study theorizes that abortion stigma is a central element in peer-to-peer level conversations among adult women about abortion. Women need the tools to understand and process abortion stigma. They also need support in sharing their personal experiences with abortion as well as guidance on how to listen with empathy to the personal abortion experiences of others.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how adult women talk about abortion in a peer to peer setting. Explain how abortion stigma manifests in peer to peer conversations about abortion among adult women. Compare political and cultural claimsmaking about abortion among adult women in a peer to peer setting.

Keyword(s): Abortion, Reproductive Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently enrolled at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and will graduate in May 2013. This is a presentation of my capstone final project using data from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). This project is supervised by Dr. Marina Catallozzi of Columbia University and Kate Cosby Cockrill, MPH of ANSIRH.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.