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Women with higher levels of reproductive autonomy appear to experience lower levels of abortion stigma

We investigated the relationship between reproductive autonomy and abortion stigma. We used data from a validated reproductive autonomy scale and validated abortion stigma scale to assess this association. We also recorded information about women’s previous reproductive decisions and socioeconomic factors.

Using data collected from Planned Parenthood centers across the United States, we created a multivariable model to assess the association between reproductive autonomy and abortion stigma. We also investigated the relationship between components of the reproductive autonomy scale and subscales of abortion stigma.  

As we hypothesized, reproductive autonomy and abortion stigma were inversely related. Further investigation revealed that two components of the reproductive autonomy scale, decision-making and communication, were independently negatively associated with abortion stigma as well. These findings suggest the power a woman has combined with her ability to communicate within an intimate relationship are linked to how she may perceive stigma following an abortion.

We hope our research will impact the design and goals of future interventions aimed at reducing stigma following an abortion.

Learn more about the study, “The Association between Reproductive Autonomy and Abortion Stigma among Women who have had Abortions in the United States,” here.

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