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The Understanding Abortion Emotion Study investigates the emotions associated with having an abortion in the United States. Using qualitative methods, the study examines women's lived experiences of abortion emotion as well as various judicial, political, religious and scientific discourses regarding abortion emotion. The goal of this work is to contextualize and depolarize the debate about women's emotional responses to abortion while documenting the ways that individual emotional experiences shape social discourses and vice versa.
Types of investigation include the following:
We are seeking research subjects for this study throughout the United States. The majority of our interviews are conducted by phone. The project began in September 2008 and the end date is August 2010.
This research is funded by the Ford Foundation.
The Heartland Abortion Regulation Project (HARP) sought to understand how abortion patients interpret the policies that regulate their abortion experiences. State-level regulations that prohibit public funding for abortion services, mandate waiting periods prior to obtaining an abortion, require the provision of state-authored informational material, and/or compel parental involvement are considered key barriers to abortion access. Several studies have quantified the negative effects that these regulations have on women and teens. The most common findings are that regulations lead to out-of-state travel and delays in obtaining care. Despite these conclusions, public support for regulations is high and little is known about how women seeking abortion care understand and interpret abortion regulation.
Using qualitative methods, including in-depth interviewing and ethnography, we explored women's experiences with and understandings of abortion regulation. Study participants expressed a diversity of views ranging from approval and acceptance of regulation to mistrust of government intervention in abortion decision making. Women were most likely to approve of regulations that they perceived as informing their abortion decision and were most likely to disapprove of regulations that prevented them from making their own abortion decision.
We have presented our findings at several conferences including the American Public Health Association, the Population Association of America's PsychSocial Meeting, the Midwestern Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association. We are currently working on three manuscripts from our research. The first explores our basic findings about women's attitudes toward regulation, the second considers women's experiences with ultrasound in the context of their abortion, and the third describes women's experiences with their own doctors around abortion care and decision making.
This research was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The Understanding Abortion Emotion Study seeks to contextualize and depolarize the debate around women's emotional responses to abortion.
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