Mind the (widening) gap: A bilingual, qualitative study of abortion fund clients post-Dobbs
Awarded 2023
Emerging Scholars in Family Planning
Marissa Velarde, MPH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Marissa Velarde is a PhD student within Maternal and Child Health at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Marissa received her MPH from Boston University and spent 10 years working in the U.S. and Latin America on collaborative research to advance access to sexual and reproductive health and inform policy. She also has experience working on research and programs related to gender equity, adolescent health, and Latinx health. She currently works at Ibis Reproductive Health and Data for Impact and serves on the board of the Carolina Abortion Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic.
Marissa’s project will use semi-structured interviews to explore the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization decision on abortion access among clients of an abortion fund in the US South, with a focus on Spanish-speaking callers. While abortion access was limited for many before Dobbs, abortion has become even more out-of-reach due to increasing obstacles and rapid changes in the legal landscape. Because abortion funds provide direct financial assistance for abortion services and related expenses, their callers are among the most impacted by state abortion restrictions. Furthermore, Latinas/x, particularly those with limited or no English proficiency, face additional barriers to abortion care. This qualitative study will help elucidate the experiences of abortion fund callers in attaining abortion care as well as the unique barriers faced by Spanish speakers. It is part of a larger dissertation project on disparities in abortion access among Latinas/x.