Perceived Access to Abortion Among Women in the United States in 2019

Journal Article

Perceived Access to Abortion Among Women in the United States in 2019

Abstract

Objectives. To describe perceptions of access to abortion among women of reproductive age and their associations with state abortion policy contexts.

Methods. We used data from the 2018 Survey of Family Planning and Women’s Lives, a probability-based sample of 2115 adult women aged 18 to 44 years in US households.

Results. We found that 27.6% of women (95% confidence interval [CI] = 23.3%, 32.7%) believed that access to medical abortion was difficult and 30.1% of women (95% CI = 25.6%, 35.1%) believed that access to surgical abortion was difficult. Adjusted for covariates, women were significantly more likely to perceive access to both surgical and medical abortions as difficult when they lived in states with 4 or more restrictive abortion policies compared with states with fewer restrictions (surgical adjusted odds ratio [AORsurgical] = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.15, 2.21; AORmedical = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.04, 1.95). Specific restrictive abortion policies (e.g., public funding restrictions, mandatory counseling or waiting periods, and targeted regulation of abortion providers) were also associated with greater perceived difficulty accessing both surgical and medical abortions.

Conclusions. State policies restricting abortion access are associated with perceptions of reduced access to both medical and surgical abortions among women of reproductive age.

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