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Legalized abortion in Catalunya, Spain:
Women's experiences with accessing care

Bayla Ostrach, Network for Reproductive Options, 2012

Project abstract

In mid-2010, Spain’s abortion laws were liberalized and expanded to include abortion coverage through the national healthcare system. Despite this legalization, women in Spain may continue to encounter obstacles to care when attempting to access abortion services through the national health system, as existing literature documents persistent inequalities in health systems, and identifies some populations’ particular perceptions of barriers to using the national health system (including immigrant women and other marginalized groups).

Using a mixed-methods approach combining anonymous quantitative survey and demographic data with open-ended, semi-structured qualitative interviews and participant observation over a year of intensive fieldwork, I will examine what women in Catalunya (Catalonia), Spain report about their experiences seeking abortion services through the national health system. This project is designed to investigate whether women in Spain perceive obstacles to abortion care, which obstacles they feel are most difficult to overcome, and how women ultimately overcome obstacles to care, in order to examine the accessibility of abortion care obtained through the national health system in this region of Spain.

I will explore how the process of seeking care is perceived by immigrant women who utilize abortion services at a higher rate than other women in the country, and who have historically been less able to access Spain’s national health system. My research will examine women’s lived experiences navigating the national health system in Catalunya, Spain in order to analyze the degree to which socioeconomic status, poverty, immigration status, and other markers of marginalization increase women's perceptions of obstacles to abortion access or contribute to delays in the process of obtaining safe, legal abortion care.

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