California’s public university students’ needs and preferences for medication abortion: A qualitative study
Awarded 2018
Emerging Scholars in Family Planning
Jackie Castellanos, BA
University of California, Berkeley

Approximately, 1,038 students from California’s public universities access abortion off-campus every month and of those students, 519 received a medication abortion. Yet no university in California offers clinical abortion care at a student health center on-campus. The limited research assessing barriers to medication abortion among California students indicates that cost, distanced traveled, and delays in scheduling appointments at an off-site facility make it difficult to access abortion care. Therefore, it is critical to determine what college students, who have ended their pregnancies, want and need to have an accessible and supportive medication abortion. Using a patient-centered approach, this study will describe college students’ experiences and perceptions regarding the quality of their medication abortion. Semi-structured interviews with students who had a medication abortion while attending school will be conducted. Using grounded theory, the study aims to develop an explanatory theory specific to students’ experiences navigating support systems, stigma, and state policies surrounding abortion care. Results from the study will evaluate the barriers students perceived while navigating medication abortion off-campus. Findings will inform clinical recommendations based on students’ preferences; guidelines for implementation at student health centers; and establish a need to increase access to medication abortion at student health centers through legislative actions.