Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH

Full Professor In Residence
Ob/Gyn, Reproductive Sciences
+1 415 353-4626

Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH is a public health Social Scientist trained in epidemiology and demography. She is in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences and is also core faculty of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH).

Dr. Upadhyay was born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. As a person of South Asian descent, primarily raised by her mother who immigrated to the U.S. from Tanzania, she is drawn to reproductive health from a social justice perspective.

Dr. Upadhyay has expertise in abortion safety, abortion access in the U.S., medication abortion, and state-level abortion restrictions. She is Principal Investigator of the California Home Abortion by Telehealth study, which examines the safety, effectiveness, and acceptability of telehealth for abortion. She is also leading a study on interest in a late period pill.

Dr. Upadhyay is Director of Research of the UCGHI Center of Expertise in Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment. She has developed and validated the Reproductive Autonomy Scale and the Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale for Adolescents and Young Adults, both of which researchers can use to quantitatively measure people’s power in matters related to contraceptive use, pregnancy, and abortion.

She earned a BA in Public Communication and International Studies from American University, her MPH from Columbia University, and her PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.


Pricing of medication abortion in the United States, 2021-2023.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Upadhyay UD, Schroeder R, Kaller S, Stewart C, Berglas NF

Person-centered abortion care scale: Validation for medication abortion in the United States.


Sudhinaraset M, Gipson JD, Nakphong MK, Soun B, Afulani P, Upadhyay U, Patil R

Waiting to start abortion: A qualitative exploration of narratives of waiting shared in a Reddit community for abortion post-Dobbs leak in 2022.

Social science & medicine (1982)

Pleasants E, Parham L, Weidert K, Anderson E, Dolgins E, Prata N, Upadhyay UD, Marshall C

Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Validation of the Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale for Adolescents and Young Adults in Kenya.

Studies in family planning

Zia Y, Upadhyay U, Rhew I, Kimanthi S, Congo O, Onono M, Barnabas R, Mugo N, Bukusi EA, Harrington EK

Conceptualizing Contraceptive Agency: A Critical Step to Enable Human Rights-Based Family Planning Programs and Measurement.

Global health, science and practice

Holt K, Challa S, Alitubeera P, Atuyambe L, Dehlendorf C, Galavotti C, Idiodi I, Jegede A, Omoluabi E, Waiswa P, Upadhyay U

Correcting the scientific record on abortion and mental health outcomes.

BMJ (Clinical research ed.)

Littell JH, Abel KM, Biggs MA, Blum RW, Foster DG, Haddad LB, Major B, Munk-Olsen T, Polis CB, Robinson GE, Rocca CH, Russo NF, Steinberg JR, Stewart DE, Stotland NL, Upadhyay UD, van Ditzhuijzen J

The impact of abortion bans on short-term housing needs.

Public health

Sehgal NKR, Hswen Y, Cantor J, Upadhyay UD, Reis BY, Remmel C, Brownstein JS, Rader B

Effectiveness and safety of telehealth medication abortion in the USA.

Nature medicine

Upadhyay UD, Koenig LR, Meckstroth K, Ko J, Valladares ES, Biggs MA

Patient Acceptability of Telehealth Medication Abortion Care in the United States, 2021‒2022: A Cohort Study.

American journal of public health

Koenig LR, Ko J, Valladares ES, Coeytaux FM, Wells E, Lyles CR, Upadhyay UD

Potential demand for and access to medication abortion among North Carolina college students.

Journal of American college health : J of ACH

Peart MS, Cartwright AF, Tadikonda A, Upadhyay UD, Tang JH, Morse JE, Stuart GS, Bryant AG

Provision of DMPA-SC for self-administration in different practice settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: Data from providers across the United States.


Comfort AB, Alvarez A, Goodman S, Upadhyay U, Mengesha B, Karlin J, Shokat M, Blum M, Harper CC

The Role of Telehealth in Promoting Equitable Abortion Access in the United States: Spatial Analysis.

JMIR public health and surveillance

Koenig LR, Becker A, Ko J, Upadhyay UD

Adaptation of the sexual and reproductive empowerment scale for adolescents and young adults in Kenya.

PLOS global public health

Harrington EK, Congo O, Kimanthi S, Dollah A, Onono M, Mugo N, Barnabas RV, Bukusi EA, Upadhyay UD

Separating Procedure-related Fears From Future Fertility Concerns Among a Cohort Seeking Abortion Information Online.

Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

Cartwright AF, Bell SO, Upadhyay UD

Society of Family Planning Committee Statement: Abortion nomenclature.


Upadhyay UD, Coplon L, Atrio JM, with the assistance of Margaret Villalonga and on behalf of the Society of Family Planning Clinical

Awareness of medication abortion among a nationally representative U.S. sample, 2021-2022.


Kaller S, Upadhyay UD, Ralph LJ, Schroeder R, Biggs MA

Impact of Sumadhur intervention on fertility and family planning decision-making norms: a mixed methods study.

Reproductive health

Mitchell A, Puri MC, Dahal M, Cornell A, Upadhyay UD, Diamond-Smith NG

Medication abortion with misoprostol-only: A sample protocol.


Raymond EG, Mark A, Grossman D, Beasley A, Brandi K, Castle J, Creinin MD, Gerdts C, Gil L, Grant M, Lockley A, Perritt J, Shochet T, Truan D, Upadhyay UD

Mailing abortion pills does not delay care: A cohort study comparing mailed to in-person dispensing of abortion medications in the United States.


Koenig LR, Raymond EG, Gold M, Boraas CM, Kaneshiro B, Winikoff B, Coplon L, Upadhyay UD

Fear of procedure and pain in individuals considering abortion: A qualitative study.

Patient education and counseling

Nguyen M, Cartwright AF, Upadhyay UD

Commentary: The Turnaway Study: A case of self-correction in science upended by political motivation and unvetted findings.

Frontiers in psychology

Biggs A, Foster DG, Gould H, Kimport K, Ralph L, Roberts S, Rocca C, Sisson G, Upadhyay U, Woodruff K

Intimate relationships after receiving versus being denied an abortion: A 5-year prospective study in the United States.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Upadhyay UD, Foster DG, Gould H, Biggs MA

Improving our estimates: assessing misclassification of abortion accessibility in the United States.

Annals of epidemiology

Seymour JW, Milechin D, Upadhyay UD, Wise LA, Rudolph AE

Barriers Push People into Seeking Abortion Care Later in Pregnancy.

American journal of public health

Upadhyay UD

Denial of Abortion Because of Provider Gestational Age Limits in the United States.

American journal of public health

Upadhyay UD, Weitz TA, Jones RK, Barar RE, Foster DG

The future of medication abortion in a post-Roe world.

BMJ (Clinical research ed.)

Aiken AR, Upadhyay UD

Outcomes and Safety of History-Based Screening for Medication Abortion: A Retrospective Multicenter Cohort Study.

JAMA internal medicine

Upadhyay UD, Raymond EG, Koenig LR, Coplon L, Gold M, Kaneshiro B, Boraas CM, Winikoff B

Trends In Self-Pay Charges And Insurance Acceptance For Abortion In The United States, 2017-20.

Health affairs (Project Hope)

Upadhyay UD, Ahlbach C, Kaller S, Cook C, Muñoz I

Abortion service availability during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from a national census of abortion facilities in the U.S.

Contraception: X

Kaller S, Muñoz MGI, Sharma S, Tayel S, Ahlbach C, Cook C, Upadhyay UD

Association of Travel Distance to Nearest Abortion Facility With Rates of Abortion.

JAMA network open

Thompson KMJ, Sturrock HJW, Foster DG, Upadhyay UD

Abortion Waiting Periods and Decision Certainty Among People Searching Online for Abortion Care.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Jovel I, Cartwright AF, Ralph L, Upadhyay UD

Miscarriage Treatment-Related Morbidities and Adverse Events in Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, and Office-Based Settings.

Journal of patient safety

Roberts SCM, Beam N, Liu G, Upadhyay UD, Leslie DL, Ba D, Kerns JL

Prevalence of Self-Managed Abortion Among Women of Reproductive Age in the United States.

JAMA network open

Ralph L, Foster DG, Raifman S, Biggs MA, Samari G, Upadhyay U, Gerdts C, Grossman D

Development and Validation of the Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale for Adolescents and Young Adults.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Upadhyay UD, Danza PY, Neilands TB, Gipson JD, Brindis CD, Hindin MJ, Foster DG, Dworkin SL

Commentary: No-test medication abortion: A sample protocol for increasing access during a pandemic and beyond.


Raymond EG, Grossman D, Mark A, Upadhyay UD, Dean G, Creinin MD, Coplon L, Perritt J, Atrio JM, Taylor D, Gold M

Gender, justice and empowerment: creating the world we want to see.

Culture, health & sexuality

Fielding-Miller R, Hatcher AM, Wagman J, Swendeman D, Upadhyay UD

The effect of receiving versus being denied an abortion on making and achieving aspirational 5-year life plans.

BMJ sexual & reproductive health

McCarthy MA, Upadhyay U, Ralph L, Biggs MA, Foster DG

Using Google Ads to recruit and retain a cohort considering abortion in the United States.

Contraception: X

Upadhyay UD, Jovel IJ, McCuaig KD, Cartwright AF

Telemedicine for medication abortion.


Upadhyay UD, Grossman D

Side Effects and Health Benefits of Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate: A Systematic Review.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Dianat S, Fox E, Ahrens KA, Upadhyay UD, Zlidar VM, Gallo MF, Stidd RL, Moskosky S, Dehlendorf C

Coercing Women's Behavior: How a Mandatory Viewing Law Changes Patients' Preabortion Ultrasound Viewing Practices.

Journal of health politics, policy and law

Kimport K, Johns NE, Upadhyay UD

Admitting privileges and hospital-based care after presenting for abortion: A retrospective case series.

Health services research

Upadhyay UD, Cartwright AF, Goyal V, Belusa E, Roberts SCM

Intended pregnancy after receiving vs. being denied a wanted abortion.


Upadhyay UD, Aztlan-James EA, Rocca CH, Foster DG

Abortion-related emergency department visits in the United States: An analysis of a national emergency department sample.

BMC medicine

Upadhyay UD, Johns NE, Barron R, Cartwright AF, Tapé C, Mierjeski A, McGregor AJ

Access to Medication Abortion Among California's Public University Students.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Upadhyay UD, Cartwright AF, Johns NE

Identifying National Availability of Abortion Care and Distance From Major US Cities: Systematic Online Search.

Journal of medical Internet research

Cartwright AF, Karunaratne M, Barr-Walker J, Johns NE, Upadhyay UD

Hybrid Masculinity and Young Men's Circumscribed Engagement in Contraceptive Management.

Gender & society : official publication of Sociologists for Women in Society

Fefferman AM, Upadhyay UD

Subsequent Unintended Pregnancy Among US Women Who Receive or Are Denied a Wanted Abortion.

Journal of midwifery & women's health

Aztlan EA, Foster DG, Upadhyay U

Contraceptive Use over Five Years After Receipt Or Denial of Abortion Services.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Moseson H, Foster DG, Upadhyay UD, Vittinghoff E, Rocca CH

Predictors of timing of pregnancy discovery.


McCarthy M, Upadhyay U, Biggs MA, Anthony R, Holl J, Roberts SC

Women's experiences of their preabortion ultrasound image printout.


Kimport K, Johns NE, Upadhyay UD

Role of Insurance Coverage in Contraceptive Use After Abortion.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Biggs MA, Taylor D, Upadhyay UD

Women's empowerment related to pregnancy and childbirth: introduction to special issue.

BMC pregnancy and childbirth

Prata N, Tavrow P, Upadhyay U

Distance Traveled for an Abortion and Source of Care After Abortion.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Upadhyay UD, Johns NE, Meckstroth KR, Kerns JL

Evaluating the impact of a mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound viewing law: A mixed methods study.

PloS one

Upadhyay UD, Kimport K, Belusa EKO, Johns NE, Laube DW, Roberts SCM

Mental Health Outcomes After Having or Being Denied an Abortion-Reply.

JAMA psychiatry

Biggs MA, Upadhyay UD, Foster DG

Distance traveled for Medicaid-covered abortion care in California.

BMC health services research

Johns NE, Foster DG, Upadhyay UD


Journal of biosocial science

Prata N, Fraser A, Huchko MJ, Gipson JD, Withers M, Lewis S, Ciaraldi EJ, Upadhyay UD

Interventions to Prevent Unintended and Repeat Pregnancy Among Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of the Published and Gray Literature.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Hindin MJ, Kalamar AM, Thompson TA, Upadhyay UD

Utah's 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion: Experiences Among a Clinic-Based Sample of Women.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Roberts SC, Turok DK, Belusa E, Combellick S, Upadhyay UD

Effects of relationship context on contraceptive use among young women.


Upadhyay UD, Raifman S, Raine-Bennett T

The effect of abortion on having and achieving aspirational one-year plans.

BMC women's health

Upadhyay UD, Biggs MA, Foster DG

Implications of Georgia's 20-Week Abortion Ban.

American journal of public health

Roberts SC, Gould H, Upadhyay UD

Incidence of emergency department visits and complications after abortion.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Upadhyay UD, Desai S, Zlidar V, Weitz TA, Grossman D, Anderson P, Taylor D

Research informs abortion care policy change in California.

American journal of public health

Weitz TA, Taylor D, Upadhyay UD, Desai S, Battistelli M

Women's empowerment and fertility: a review of the literature.

Social science & medicine (1982)

Upadhyay UD, Gipson JD, Withers M, Lewis S, Ciaraldi EJ, Fraser A, Huchko MJ, Prata N

Does abortion reduce self-esteem and life satisfaction?

Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation

Biggs MA, Upadhyay UD, Steinberg JR, Foster DG

Development and validation of a reproductive autonomy scale.

Studies in family planning

Upadhyay UD, Dworkin SL, Weitz TA, Foster DG

Relationship between ultrasound viewing and proceeding to abortion.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Gatter M, Kimport K, Foster DG, Weitz TA, Upadhyay UD

Denial of abortion because of provider gestational age limits in the United States.

American journal of public health

Upadhyay UD, Weitz TA, Jones RK, Barar RE, Foster DG

Patient viewing of the ultrasound image prior to abortion.


Kimport K, Upadhyay UD, Foster DG, Gatter M, Weitz TA

The stigma of having an abortion: development of a scale and characteristics of women experiencing abortion stigma.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Cockrill K, Upadhyay UD, Turan J, Greene Foster D

At what cost? Payment for abortion care by U.S. women.

Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

Jones RK, Upadhyay UD, Weitz TA

Safety of aspiration abortion performed by nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants under a California legal waiver.

American journal of public health

Weitz TA, Taylor D, Desai S, Upadhyay UD, Waldman J, Battistelli MF, Drey EA

Denial of abortion care due to gestational age limits.


Foster DG, Dobkin LM, Upadhyay UD

With pills, patches, rings, and shots: who still uses condoms? A longitudinal cohort study.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Goldstein RL, Upadhyay UD, Raine TR

Women's empowerment and ideal family size: an examination of DHS empowerment measures in Sub-Saharan Africa.

International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health

Upadhyay UD, Karasek D

One-year contraceptive continuation and pregnancy in adolescent girls and women initiating hormonal contraceptives.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Raine TR, Foster-Rosales A, Upadhyay UD, Boyer CB, Brown BA, Sokoloff A, Harper CC

Prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of high LDL cholesterol in New York City, 2004.

Preventing chronic disease

Upadhyay UD, Waddell EN, Young S, Kerker BD, Berger M, Matte T, Angell SY

Elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome among Asians and south Asians: results from the 2004 New York City HANES.

Ethnicity & disease

Rajpathak SN, Gupta LS, Waddell EN, Upadhyay UD, Wildman RP, Kaplan R, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Wylie-Rosett J

Marital Status and Psychological Well-Being of Filipino Women

Philippine Population Review

Gultiano S, Hindin M, Upadhyay U.

Prevalence and control of diabetes and impaired fasting glucose in New York City.

Diabetes care

Thorpe LE, Upadhyay UD, Chamany S, Garg R, Mandel-Ricci J, Kellerman S, Berger DK, Frieden TR, Gwynn C

Do perceptions of friends' behaviors affect age at first sex? Evidence from Cebu, Philippines.

The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine

Upadhyay UD, Hindin MJ

New contraceptive choices.

Population reports. Series M, Special topics

Upadhyay UD

Informed choice in family planning. Helping people decide.

Population reports. Series J, Family planning programs

Upadhyay UD

Why family planning matters.

Population reports. Series J, Family planning programs

Upadhyay UD, Robey B

Toward a blue revolution.

Global issues (Washington, D.C.)

Hinrichsen D, Robey B, Upadhyay UD

Speeding the reproductive revolution.

People & the planet

Robey B, Upadhyay U