Abortion on the move: Navigating the fractured reproductive healthcare landscape
Awarded 2024
Traveling to abortion care, post-Dobbs
Claire Decoteau, PhD, MA and Kim Perez Ricardo, JD
University of Illinois, Chicago

Since the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) ruling, twenty-one states have introduced abortion bans or policy restrictions. In response, nonprofit groups throughout the nation have ramped up organizational capacity and financial support to provide abortion funds to pregnant people living in states with restrictive abortion policies to help facilitate travel to clinics in states with shield laws. Given that lower-income women of color are the population most likely to experience unwanted pregnancy and seek out abortions, what barriers and pathways to care do people from racially, legally, and socioeconomically marginalized communities experience in the shifting reproductive landscape post-Dobbs? This project employs a comparative, qualitative study design to determine the multiple structural, meso-level, and embodied/emotional barriers that may impede abortion access, as well as mechanisms of support that may facilitate pathways to care. The project is comparative in two ways. It will compare the experiences of lower-income and racially marginalized pregnant people to those from more privileged backgrounds, and it will compare the experiences of people who have utilized the services of an abortion fund against those who researched abortion funds but did not employ them for abortion access. In addition to leveraging comparison to discover specific barriers and pathways to care, the qualitative nature of this project will enable precise identification of barriers that may arise at different stages of the abortion process. Results from this study will help abortion funds and health care facilities better meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations seeking abortion services.