142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Conducting evidence-based advocacy to improve abortion access: Lessons from the field

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Amanda Dennis, DrPH, MBE , Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, MA
Fran Linkin, MPH , Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY
Bridgit Burns, MPH , Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, MA
Kelly Baden, BA , Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY
Ella Douglas-Durham, MPH , Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, MA
Angela Hooton, JD , Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY

From 2011-2013 more state-level restrictions on abortion were enacted than in the previous decade. Anti-choice stakeholders claim such restrictions are necessary to improve the lives and health of women and children. Little work has been done to examine the veracity of their claims.


We evaluated anti-choice claims-making by examining 76 state-level policies and outcomes specific to the health of women and children. Using scatter plots, we determined how those policies and outcomes align with the level of abortion restrictiveness in a state.


Overall, we found states with more abortion restrictions passed into law perform worse on indicators of women and children’s health outcomes, and have fewer evidence-based policies that support women and children. At the state-level, we identified which outcomes and policies states are performing well on and which are in need of improvement. We have begun and will continue to share the results of these state-specific analyses via national and in-state briefings with advocates, elected officials, and the media. Dissemination efforts are and will continue to be broad as we hope to identify potential new allies and form new cross-movement partnerships with stakeholders focused on improving social determinants of health and women’s and children’s well-being generally.


This straightforward analysis helps dismantle claims made by anti-choice stakeholders that they are working to improve the health or lives of women and children. It also points to needed evidence-based policies that could be advanced by policymakers with sincere interest in the health and lives of women and children.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship between abortion restrictions and women’s and children’s health outcomes and policies. Understand how research plays a role in state advocacy.

Keyword(s): Abortion, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal investigator of several studies evaluating the impact of different US policies on women and their access to abortion.
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.

Back to: 3062.0: Abortion at the state level