Moving mountains: The financial burden of accessing abortion care in the US and its associations with psychological wellbeing
Awarded 2021
Emerging Scholars in Family Planning
Ortal Wasser, MSW
New York University

Ortal is a PhD Candidate at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University and holds an MSW from the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Through both practice and research, she is committed to promoting reproductive justice and equitable access to family planning services and abortion care. As a social worker, before immigrating to the US, Ortal worked in a mental health clinic and volunteered in Planned Parenthood. Today she is an advocate in All-Options, providing counseling and support for people in their experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. In her mixed-methods research, she is particularly interested in exploring structural, social, economic, and psychological barriers to abortion services, as well as examining the impact of abortion legislation on marginalized communities and vulnerable groups. This proposed research project is part of Ortal’s dissertation. Its overarching purpose is to advance our understanding of the financial burden of accessing abortion care in the US and its associations with people’s psychological wellbeing at the time of abortion seeking. Utilizing secondary data obtained by the Burden Study, Ortal will examine the relationships between different financial barriers and pre-abortion mental health. Guided by the Reproductive Justice framework, this project will also shed light on disparities in access to abortion care across individual-level sociodemographic, economic, geographic, and pregnancy characteristics. Results will support researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and community-based advocacy organizations in their effort to reduce abortion-related financial strain and expand access to abortion services.