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Access to abortion care in the Deep South

Kari White, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2013

Project abstract

This career development award supports Dr. Kari White’s training and mentoring in advanced quantitative methods for policy analysis, mixed methods research, and the relationship between abortion clinical care and legal regulations, which she will apply to her study of abortion access in the Deep South.

Given the region’s high unintended pregnancy rates, there is a great need for abortion care, but reproductive aged women’s access is extremely limited since there are few providers and extensive regulations in Deep South states. The burdens experienced by women seeking abortion in this context are not well documented since current access indicators do not measure distances to care and research on the impact of recent abortion regulations is limited. The proposed study will address these issues by carrying out a spatial analysis of service utilization data and conducting 20 in-depth interviews with abortion clients seeking care from Alabama abortion clinics.

Specifically, this study aims to: 1) measure the distances women currently travel to reach abortion providers and assess factors associated with traveling longer distances; 2) explore care-seeking behaviors and identify barriers and facilitators to accessing abortion services for women traveling long distances; and 3) model changes in the distance Alabama resident women would need to travel for services if their nearest abortion provider closed as a result of proposed regulations.

This project will provide the foundation for future studies examining abortion access in other limited service settings and demonstrate the impact that proposed restrictions would have on further constraining access to abortion care.

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