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California's public university students' needs and preferences for medication abortion: A qualitative study

Jackie Castellanos, BA, University of California, Berkeley

Approximately, 1,038 students from California's public universities access abortion off-campus every month and of those students, 519 received a medication abortion (MAB). [1] Yet no university in California offers clinical abortion care at a student health center on-campus. The limited research assessing barriers to medication abortion among California students indicates that cost, distanced traveled, and delays in scheduling appointments at an off-site facility make it difficult to access abortion care. Therefore, it is critical to determine what college students, who have ended their pregnancies, want and need to have an accessible and supportive MAB.

Using a patient-centered approach, this study will describe college students' experiences and perceptions regarding the quality of their MAB. Semi-structured interviews with students who had a MAB while attending school will be conducted. Using grounded theory, the study aims to develop an explanatory theory specific to students' experiences navigating support systems, stigma, and state policies surrounding abortion care. Results from the study will evaluate the barriers students perceived while navigating MAB off-campus. Findings will inform clinical recommendations based on students' preferences; guidelines for implementation at student health centers (SHC); and establish a need to increase access to MAB at SHCs through legislative actions.

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