Women with more reproductive autonomy experience less abortion stigma

Abortion is a common medical procedure in the United States; one in four women will have an abortion in their reproductive years. However, the polarized political debate divides Americans and many hold negative stereotypes and judgments about women who have abortions. As a result, women who have abortions can face discrimination or other forms of stigma. There is little research looking at what factors help women cope with and manage that stigma.

New research from ANSIRH explores the relationship between abortion stigma and women’s levels of reproductive autonomy. As the researchers hypothesized, higher levels of reproductive autonomy were linked with lower levels of abortion stigma. These findings suggest the power a woman has combined with her ability to communicate within an intimate relationship are linked to how she may perceive stigma following an abortion.

This research could lay the groundwork for interventions to increase women’s autonomy and have long-lasting positive impacts for women in future pregnancy decisions.