Research has shown that deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) individuals have limited health literacy. DHH women also encounter significant barriers to receiving appropriate reproductive healthcare services and health information. While there is limited data on the sexual health behaviors of DHH individuals, they are more likely than the general population to have had two or more sexual partners in the past year and to rely on withdrawal and condoms. The combination of inaccessible health resources, use of less effective methods of contraception, and multiple sexual partners puts DHH women at risk for unintended pregnancy. This risk was not quantified until earlier this year; DHH women have 67% greater odds of becoming pregnant unintentionally. There are currently no published studies on DHH women andabortion and to date little is known about their access to information regarding unintended pregnancy options or their experiences with counseling or abortion care services.
Our project focuses on DHH women’s experiences with medical abortion and unintended pregnancy outcomes. Through the use of semi-structured linguistic interviews, we investigate the language DHH women use in communicating about medical abortion. Using mixed methods analyses we will identify emergent topics related to experiences with unintended pregnancy, care seeking behaviors, and medical abortion. By analyzing recurrent themes and specific vocabulary used to convey DHH women’s knowledge of, experience with, and opinions on medical abortion, we will be able to construct culturally and linguistically appropriate educational interventions for healthcare providerswho care for DHH women, health media content developers, and DHH community members.