What’s new at ANSIRH

  • Katrina Kimport publishes new book, Queering Marriage
  • California bucks the trend: New law will increase abortion access
  • Carole Joffe receives SFP 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • AJPH publishes new data from ANSIRH's Turnaway Study
  • Turnaway Study featured in New York Times Magazine
  • Tracy Weitz receives Choice USA 2013 Generation 2 Generation Award
  • Kate Cockrill wins Research Presentation Award at NAF conference
  • Diana Taylor honored with first annual Clinicians for Choice Leadership Award
  • Diana Greene Foster on KCRW
  • ANSIRH and Ipas collaborate on an abortion stigma webinar series
  • APHA publishes ANSIRH’s landmark study on provision of abortion by advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants
  • Diana Greene Foster interviewed on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show
  • Katrina Kimport publishes new book, Queering Marriage

    Queering MarriageAs we celebrate Freedom to Marry Day on February 12th, we also celebrate the recently published book by ANSIRH research and faculty member Katrina Kimport, PhD.  In Queering Marriage: Challenging Family Formation in the United States, Kimport uses in-depth interviews with participants in the San Francisco weddings to argue that same-sex marriage cannot be understood as simply entrenching or contesting heterosexual privilege. Instead, she contends, these new legally sanctioned relationships can both reinforce as well as disrupt the association of marriage and heterosexuality.

    During her deeply personal conversations with same-sex spouses, Kimport learned that the majority of respondents did characterize their marriages as an opportunity to contest heterosexual privilege. Yet, in a seeming contradiction, nearly as many also cited their desire for access to the normative benefits of matrimony, including social recognition and legal rights. Kimport’s research revealed that the pattern of ascribing meaning to marriage varied by parenthood status and, in turn, by gender. Lesbian parents were more likely to embrace normative meanings for their unions; those who are not parents were more likely to define their relationships as attempts to contest dominant understandings of marriage.

    By posing the question – can queers “queer” marriage? – Kimport provides a nuanced, accessible, and theoretically grounded framework for understanding the powerful effect of heterosexual expectations on both sexual and social categories.

    California bucks the trend: New law—based on ANSIRH research—will increase abortion access

    California State Capitol

    Today Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 154 (AB154). AB154 removes barriers to abortion provision for nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants, allowing them to perform to the fullest extent of their education and competency and provide more comprehensive reproductive health care for women throughout California.

    The bill is based on ANSIRH’s six-year study, Health Workforce Pilot Project #171, which showed that these skilled health professionals can safely and competently provide early abortion care and that women appreciated receiving care in their own communities from providers they know and trust. ANSIRH is proud that our research played a part in an important law change in California that will remove barriers to abortion provision for advance practice nurses and physician assistants and help to increase access to needed services throughout the state.

    Carole Joffe receives SFP 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

    Carole Joffe, PhD, is a professor at ANSIRH and a professor of sociology emerita at the University of California, Davis.

    ANSIRH research and faculty member Carole Joffe, PhD, has been awarded the Society of Family Planning’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was established in 2005 to honor outstanding individuals whose cumulative research has reached the highest level of importance in the field. It is one of only three awards that SFP grants yearly. Awardees are chosen for scholarship over the majority of a career that advances clinical or social science within family planning—especially work that creates a foundation for others to achieve academic success or provides clinical information and resources that help women with reproductive issues specific to family planning.

    The award was presented at the SFP awards luncheon on October 7, part of the 2013 North American Forum on Family Planning. Read a transcript of the terrific talk Dr. Joffe gave after receiving the reward: “The Social Status of Abortion Providers: ‘Doctors of Conscience’ Revisited.”

    Dr. Joffe is the author of four books: Friendly Intruders: Childcare Professionals and Family Life (1977); The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family Planning Workers (1986); Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v Wade (1996); and Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients and the Rest of Us (December, 2009). She is also the author of numerous articles on various aspects of reproductive health services and politics. Besides writing for an academic audience, Joffe has throughout her career written for the general public as well, publishing op-eds and letters in leading newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, among others) and websites such as RHRealitycheck.org, Huffington Post, Salon, and Slate.

    Congratulations, Carole!

    New Turnaway Study data published in AJPH identifies barriers resulting in thousands of US women being denied abortions each year

    ANSIRH's Turnaway Study results published in American Journal of Public HealthResults of key data from the Turnaway Study show that the main reason women delay seeking abortions is having to raise money for travel and procedure costs. That delay means every year at least 4,000 US women are turned away from facilities due to gestational age limits and must carry their unwanted pregnancies to term. The analysis of the data is published in a peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health entitled “Denial of Abortion Due to Gestational Age Limits in the United States.”

    Delays in seeking abortions are primarily due to costs, with young and poor women being the most affected. Nearly half of the women who sought a second trimester abortion didn’t even know they were pregnant until they were in the second trimester, and about 10% didn’t know until after 20 weeks. Once women are late in discovering they are pregnant, everything else is more difficult—there are fewer providers who offer later abortions; they have to travel farther and pay more to get the procedure, which leads to more delays. With new state laws imposing lower gestational age limits for abortion care, more and more women will face these barriers and will have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

    Conclusions from the study:

    • Women seeking later abortions tend to be younger and recognize their pregnancies later.
    • Women in need of second-trimester abortions are particularly vulnerable insofar as there are fewer providers that offer these services, and when they are available, procedures typically cost several hundred, or even thousands, dollars more than a first-trimester procedure.
    • As more states approve laws that impose lower and lower gestational limits, more women will face these burdens, leading to even more unintended births.

    See the full article on the study, ANSIRH’s press release, and the Guttmacher Institute press release on the study results.

    Turnaway Study featured in New York Times Magazine

    ANSIRH's Turnaway Study featured in June 16, 2013 New York Times Magazine, in article by Joshua Lang

    On June 12, 2013, the New York Times website ran a lengthy article featuring the Turnaway Study, ANSIRH’s ground-breaking study on what happens to women who seek abortions but are turned away because they are over the gestational limits of the clinic to which they’ve gone. The article, written by U.C. Berkeley-U.C.S.F. Joint Medical Program student Joshua Lang and appearing in the June 16 print version of the New York Times Magazine, draws on an extensive interview with Diana Greene Foster, PhD, ANSIRH’s Director of Research and Principal Investigator of the Turnaway Study. It discusses the antecedents, rationale, and development of the study, its context within the scientific literature, and the results that Dr. Foster and her team found.

    For additional publications on the Turnaway study, see our publications page. Research connected with the Turnaway Study has already been published by Contraception, Women’s Health Issues, and Alcohol and Alcoholism; new publications are in press at Women’s Health Issues,Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and American Journal of Public Health. The study was also the subject of a segment of theMelissa Harris-Perry Show broadcast on November 25, 2012.

    Tracy Weitz receives Choice USA 2013 Generation 2 Generation Award

    weitz2ANSIRH Director Tracy Weitz is the recipient of the 2013 Steinem-Waters Legacy Award, one ofChoice USA’s annual Generation 2 Generation Awards. Now in its fourth year, the Steinem-Waters Legacy Award is given to a “movement leader over 30 who has exhibited a consistent investment in developing young people in the field of reproductive justice.” The award will be presented on July 19, 2013 at theGeneration 2 Generation Celebration & Awards in Washington, DC, billed as the event to attend if you want to be inspired by young reproductive justice advocates and their mentors.

    Kate Cockrill wins 2013 Best Social Science Research Presentation Award at National Abortion Federation conference

    Kate Cockrill research presentation receives award at NAF ConferenceWe are thrilled to announce that Kate Cockrill, MPH—Research Analyst and Project Manager of ANSIRH’s Social and Emotional Aspects of Abortion (SEAA) Program—won the 2013 Best Social Science Research Presentation at this year’s National Abortion Federation conference. Her presentation on “Reading Women’s Lives: Book Club Study Outcomes” reviewed her recent work applying contact theory to an analysis of abortion stigma; developing a scale for measuring abortion stigma; and recruiting pre-existing book clubs to participate in a study exploring how women talk about pregnancy and abortion in the context of a book club, and how that experience affects their attitudes toward abortion.

    Other aspects of Ms. Cockrill’s research on abortion stigma are detailed in an article about to be published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. “The Stigma of Having an Abortion: Development of a Scale and Characteristics of Women Experiencing Abortion Stigma,” co-authored with Ushma D. Upadhyay, Janet Turan, and Diana Greene Foster, introduces the scale that the authors developed and validated to measure individual-level abortion stigma. The article will appear in the June issue of the journal.

    Diana Taylor honored with first annual Clinicians for Choice Leadership Award

    Diana Taylor receives Clinicians for Choice Leadership AwardDiana Taylor, PhD, RN, NP has been awarded NAF’s first annual Clinicians for Choice Leadership Award. Spanning more than four decades, Dr. Taylor has made significant contributions to women’s health research, practice, and education and has been a leader in policy-shaping activities for multiple professional and scientific groups on local, national and international levels. In presenting the award, NAF Director Vicky Sapporta cited Dr. Taylor’s most recent project in particular—the Health Workforce Pilot Project (HWPP), which represents the most extensive study of its kind ever undertaken and is the basis for proposed legislation to allow NPs, CNMs, and PAs to continue to provide aspiration abortions in California.

    The Clinicians for Choice board added, “Dr. Taylor’s greatest contribution to removing abortion practice barriers, however, is in her encouragement and mentorship of others. She recognizes the importance of including the next generation of providers and advocates in the important work of ensuring access to reproductive health for women, and goes out of her way to ensure that others who share her passion are supported in their career development.”

    In accepting the award, Dr. Taylor commented, “Receiving this award is a wonderful honor for me; it bookends my work as a nurse, a women’s health researcher, and a health professional educator. From my involvement in reproductive health activism in the 1960s (teaching and doing menstrual extractions pre-Roe v. Wade) to my present work in policy research and change to normalize early abortion care within primary care and public health, I am grateful to be working alongside such passionate and dedicated activists, clinicians and scholars.”

    In accepting the award, Dr. Taylor commented, “Receiving this award is a wonderful honor for me; it bookends my work as a nurse, a women’s health researcher, and a health professional educator. From my involvement in reproductive health activism in the 1960s (teaching and doing menstrual extractions pre-Roe v. Wade) to my present work in policy research and change to normalize early abortion care within primary care and public health, I am grateful to be working alongside such passionate and dedicated activists, clinicians and scholars.”

    Diana Greene Foster on KCRW

    KCRW To The Point show, April 10, 2013On April 10, Dr. Diana Greene Foster, ANSIRH’s Director of Research, participated in a panel on KCRW-FM discussing all the new restrictive abortion legislation over the last several years. The program was Warren Olney’s showTo the Point. Other panelists included Elizabeth Nash, State Issues Manage in the Guttmacher Institute’s Washington DC office; Paul Benjamin Linton, Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society; and Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science professor at Emory University.

    Listen to the show.

    ANSIRH and Ipas collaborate on an abortion stigma webinar series

    ClickWebinar iconThe stigma surrounding abortion plays a critical role in the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion care around the world. Stigma shames and silences women seeking abortions and providers, and is a major contributor to unsafe and often lethal conditions for women. Though stigma is pervasive and threatens women, it is only just beginning to be well understood. Our speakers will provide frameworks for understanding stigma, a variety of tools for measuring stigma, and innovative ideas for reducing stigma worldwide.

    On the second Tuesday from February-June, please join ANSIRH, Ipas, and colleagues in a discussion of abortion and stigma. Each month we will host a free, one-hour webinar conducted by global and domestic experts on HIV stigma, sexual stigma and abortion stigma. Please join us by registering here. Contact Rebecca Michelson for more information.

    ANSIRH releases results of landmark study on provision of abortion by trained advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants

    map showing state policies on abortion provision by trained non-physicians

    Increased access to early abortion is a pressing public health need. By 2005, the number of abortion care facilities in the United States had decreased 38% from its peak in 1982 and, since then, the proportion of US counties with no facility remains high at 87%; more than one third of women aged 15 to 44 years live in these counties. Many women thus face difficulties finding a facility, resulting in delayed care. Increasing access is critical because abortions at later gestations are associated with a higher risk of complications and higher costs.

    One potential solution to improve access is to increase the number and types of health care professionals who offer early abortion care. To date, however, there was limited clinical evidence available to guide policymakers in assessing this solution. Launched in 2005, ANSIRH’s Health Workforce Policy Project study answers the question “What would be the impact on patient safety if nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) were permitted to provide aspiration abortions in California?”

    In our prospective, observational study, we evaluated the outcomes of abortions completed by 5,812 physicians and those competed by 5,675 newly trained NPs, CNMs, and PAs. We found that abortion complications were clinically equivalent between the two groups, supporting the adoption of policies to allow trained health care professionals other than physicians to provide early aspirations to expand access to abortion care.

    Our results have just been published in the American Journal of Public Health. Read the full AJPH article online.

    Diana Greene Foster interviewed on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show


    On November 25, Dr. Diana Greene Foster was interviewed on Melissa Harris-Perry about the Turnaway Study, ANSIRH’s ground-breaking study on what happens to women who seek abortions but are turned away because they are over the gestational limits of the clinic to which they’ve gone. Dr. Harris-Perry brought Dr. Greene Foster onto the show to participate in a panel on abortion policy that also includedRebecca Traister and Irin Carmon of Salon.comHeather McGhee, Demos Vice President for Policy and Outreach; and attorney Anita Hill, Professor at Brandeis University.

    The first segment of the show focused on the Turnaway Study results regarding abortion and women’s economic situation. The study found that, compared to women who received abortions because they were just below the clinic’s gestational limit, women denied abortion were more likely both to be receiving public assistance (76% vs. 44%) and to have household income below the poverty level (67% vs. 56%).

    The second segment of the show brought in the other panelists to discuss abortion more generally, particularly in light of the Turnaway Study results and the effort by the lame duck legislature in Ohio to ban funding for Planned Parenthood, despite the election results indicating majority support in Ohio for abortion and Planned Parenthood and without regard for the additional economic impact such a ban would have on women.

    The show was prompted by widespread attention given to the Turnaway Study after presentation of initial results at the American Public Health Association annual conference in October, comparing women who received or were denied an abortion on long-term emotional responsesmental and physical healthsocioeconomic status, and incidence of drug use and domestic violence. The series of sessions also included an overview of the Turnaway Study and a look at abortion stigma and its emotional effect on women.