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Access to reproductive health services among American Indian women: A qualitative study

Sarah Baum, MPH, Ibis Reproductive Health, 2014

Project abstract

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy and sexual violence and lower rates of contraceptive use compared to the general US population. AI/AN women primarily obtain reproductive health services through the Indian Health Service (IHS). Their access to abortion coverage through the IHS is limited to circumstances of life endangerment, rape and incest as defined by the Hyde Amendment, and very few IHS providers perform abortion procedures. There is very limited research exploring the reproductive health needs and experiences of AI/AN women.

This qualitative study proposes to investigate AI/AN women's access to reproductive health services and specifically to evaluate facilitators and barriers to care and experiences seeking contraception and abortion. We will conduct in-depth interviews with 25 native women seeking abortion and three abortion providers in two states—Arizona and North Dakota—with large AI/AN populations and limited or no state Medicaid funding for abortion. The findings will be used to inform future, larger scale research and will help to fill a gap in the literature that could be used to advocate for improved reproductive health policies and services for AI/AN women.

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