Assessing reproductive equity in Kentucky after Dobbs
Awarded 2022
Inequities in abortion access
Erin Smith, MA
Kentucky Health Justice Network

The Kentucky Health Justice Network (KHJN) and local researchers will explore the experiences and pregnancy outcomes of Kentucky abortion fund clients who experience significant economic barriers to abortion. Kentucky is among the most abortion-hostile states, with many existing restrictions on care and just two abortion facilities; Kentucky also has multiple abortion bans, any of which could be activated by this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Drawing on analyses of historical KHJN abortion fund data and qualitative interviews with abortion seekers in post-Dobbs Kentucky, this mixed-methods study will provide a timely investigation of the unmet need for abortion funding and its consequences for reproductive equity, especially by race/ethnicity and region. Specifically, we will interview 20 KHJN clients who obtained funding and care and 20 KHJN clients who obtained funding but did not utilize their funding; this approach will allow us to assess potential barriers that affect abortion seekers even after they have secured at least some financial and logistic support to access care. Our robust multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary advocate-academic partnership is well-positioned to assess the impact of any of Kentucky’s multiple abortion bans that go into effect in 2022 and to better understand how abortion funds can best serve those seeking care in this new context. Team members also bring considerable expertise in innovative and impactful dissemination practices, strong networks with other abortion funds, and deep roots in the Ohio River Valley region.